Skip It: The Club Dumas – Arturo Perez-Reverte

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Summary:

Lucas Corso is a book detective, a middle-aged mercenary hired to hunt down rare editions for wealthy and unscrupulous clients. When a well-known bibliophile is found dead, leaving behind part of the original manuscript of Alexandre Dumas’s The Three Musketeers, Corso is brought in to authenticate the fragment. He is soon drawn into a swirling plot involving devil worship, occult practices, and swashbuckling derring-do among a cast of characters bearing a suspicious resemblance to those of Dumas’s masterpiece. Aided by a mysterious beauty named for a Conan Doyle heroine, Corso travels from Madrid to Toledo to Paris on the killer’s trail in this twisty intellectual romp through the book world.

Review:

So the other day I was browsing Amazon Prime and I noticed that The Ninth Gate was now available to stream. I remembered it being a bit slow and kind of confusing. Still, the movie came out in 2000 and I wanted to watch it with older eyes, to see if might not have a better appreciation of it with age. Deciding to do a search on the ending (which I remembered being the most confusing aspect of it) the advice I basically got was: don’t. Read the book instead because it actually makes sense. I figured this wasn’t a bad approach to take and here we are.

Good news: the book does make sense. It won’t necessarily help you with the movie which not only excises a major subplot of the book but changes the ending entirely, but it makes sense.

There’s also some good stuff in here about the history of books, and of book forgery, all of which comes in and plays nicely at the end.

The bad news: the book is, in many ways, just as unfulfilling as the movie. That entire subplot that Polanski dropped? The one for which the book was ultimately named? It wasn’t without cause. The book itself admits that the two strands are completely separate of one another; it’s only through Corso’s eyes that there is any kind of connection at all. It seems to be included because the author wanted to talk Dumas, pad the length of the book, or both. It not a little frustrating to see that story come to an end and realize just how anti-climatic it all was.

Adding to this disappointment is that the girl figure (both in book and film) is very much a living, breathing deus-ex-machina figure. Polanski certainly believes her to be either a servant of (if not the Devil himself) and the book makes her out to be some kind of guardian/sage too: protecting him and pointing the way so speak. It doesn’t add much to the narration when everything keeps happening (or not happening) because she happens to be at every right place at every right time. If something were to come of it it might be acceptable, but the book too just overall comes to an end and it doesn’t feel like there was a reason for the pair to have ever come together.

Really, the most interesting bits of the book were the discussion of Dumas, of occult books (most of which were created by the author for the story) and the discussions of book forgery. I almost wonder if a non-fiction piece might have been more satisfying.

As it stands, the book might be worth a pick up to read it for those reasons, but the rest is such a let down that it’s hard to recommend except for one scenario: you’re planning to watch the film. The film focuses on the quest to authenticate this one copy of the book. Between the conversations that Corso has, and the notes that Corso takes, you the reader are very easily able to wrap your head around that mystery of what is going on well before the ending which ratchets up the tension at the end because you know something isn’t right. Polanski, on the other hand, changes the nature of a key conversation and doesn’t have Corso make the connection and ultimately has has to tell the audience what was going. By then though, the climax is over and the tension is hurt leaving the audience wondering what was going on. Though the two pieces are quite different, knowledge of the the book immeasurably helps enjoyment of the film.

Verdict: Skip it. Its almost a borrow it because there were some parts I genuinely enjoyed, but I can’t in good consciousness endorse only portions of a book.

Available: Now

 

 

Succubus Blues (Georgina Kincaid #1)

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Summary:

When it comes to jobs in hell, being a succubus seems pretty glamorous. A girl can be anything she wants, the wardrobe is killer, and mortal men will do anything just for a touch. Granted, they often pay with their souls, but why get technical?

But Seattle succubus Georgina Kincaid’s life is far less exotic. At least there’s her day job at a local bookstore–free books; all the white chocolate mochas she can drink; and easy access to bestselling, sexy writer, Seth Mortensen, aka He Whom She Would Give Anything to Touch but Can’t.

But dreaming about Seth will have to wait. Something wicked is at work in Seattle’s demon underground. And for once, all of her hot charms and drop-dead one-liners won’t help because Georgina’s about to discover there are some creatures out there that both heaven and hell want to deny.

After Vampire Academy left me cold (sorry, Rose/Dimitri still kinda wigs me out) and after the major problems I had with Age of  X (and especially The Immortal Crown), I was a bit weary of picking this one up. Luckily, and perhaps because it is one of her older series, I didn’t have any of the issues I had with the other books.

Georgina is a very likable. She’s just the right amount of jaded that it doesn’t feel like it’s trendy or edgy, just naturally world-weary and the backstory of how she became a succubus has just the right note of tragedy. Her reasons for not dating seem genuine, and I think most bookworms can easily relate to the way that she’s in absolute love with Seth Mortensen’s books. I also like that she’s got no connection to police work, detective work or bartending which is always a bonus (okay, I’ll admit book store form of retail is almost a trope in of itself, but it doesn’t bother me as much here).

Really, all told this is quite a fun, basic, urban fantasy novel. My only real gripe is I picked out the bad guy from the moment they met. I was questioning whether you were supposed to, but considering a review for the last book in the series mentioned clue-by-fours, I’m going to go ahead and say that yes, yes you were. Thankfully, it didn’t ruin the fun by having it spoiled, and yet I don’t know that it was strictly necessary either.

As an aside: though there are one or two sex scenes, this book is pretty bloodless as far as violence goes. If you want a cleaner series, this is a good place to look.

All told, I’m not upset I broke my no additional UF series rule. I’ll give the next one a look and see where it goes from there.

Plus, as of 3/23, the book is on sale for $1.99 for Kindle. Hard to beat it at that price!

Verdict: Buy it  if still on sale or if you’re a big UF fan. Otherwise, borrow it. It may be a bit too traditional for some to hold your interest.

Available: Now.

 

Review: Angelus (The Books of Raziel #3) – Sabrina Benulis

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Summary:

The heart-pounding conclusion to the Books of Raziel trilogy, a gothic supernatural tale about a girl who discovers that she holds the keys to both Heaven and Hell—and that angels, demons, and all the creatures in between will stop at nothing to possess her and control the power she holds

“These angels can be vindictive and cruel, more human than you might expect and oozing supernatural abilities. . . . If you think you have the guts . . . pick it up.”—Boulder Examiner on Archon

The war begun by three powerful angel siblings—Raziel, Lucifel, and Israfel—has divided the kingdoms of both Heaven and Hell, and the destruction is spilling over into the human world.

The last hope for a crumbling world is the Archon—the human Angela Mathers who has the power to control the supernatural universe. Angela alone can successfully oppose Lucifel and open Raziel’s Book, to use its power for good. But to do so would mean murdering her best friend, a sacrifice Angela refuses to contemplate.

Angela sits on the throne of Hell, fulfilling a prophecy of ruin. But ruin does not always mean destruction—sometimes it means revolution. Time is running out for both Angela and the universe, and former enemies are eager to see her fail . . .

Review:

Before I get into the review proper, I’m going to do something I don’t normally do and gush about the book cover. I was fortunate enough to receive a finished copy from the publisher, and man, the photograph doesn’t really do it justice. The cover itself is almost completely matte, the grays are nice and saturated so the blood-red color of her hair and the hourglass all really stands out. The lettering also has the barest hint of a shine to it too that helps makes it stand out. All told, it’s quite eye-popping and probably one of my favorite covers in quite some time.

Of course, while a catchy cover can catch your eye, it doesn’t mean that the heart of the book itself can slack, and I don’t think it has. As before, Angelus picks up not too long after we left off and the End is basically here with Angela running out of time to open the Book of Raziel and save all mankind. She is still trapped in Hell at the beginning and the book is largely her journey to not only escape, but to see if there any way she can open the Book without Sophia, while of course trying to avoid being killed by Lucifel or the humans on earth who have been convinced that she is the new devil.

Again, as always the series places its emphasis on action more than anything else. We do get story dolled out, but it’s as Angela and her friends/allies dart from place to place. I still personally wish that there was more character development and I still feel like this would make an amazing television series where you could really bring all the great visuals to life.

The story does get wrapped up satisfactorily, and there’s a great (and grisly) end for one of our primary antagonists that did make me cheer, and I think fans of the series should be quite pleased with this ending.

Verdict: Borrow It

Available: February 9

 

Stacking the Shelves #13

Now that I’ve done my Best Of list, it seems to make sense to do a final Stacking the Shelves for the year. I have to say, there seems to be something about the month of December where I get book crazy. It’s been a little less than a month since my last post, and yet I’ve managed to acquire some twenty books in that time frame! And that doesn’t count one that will arrive in January and that I think I still have 3-4 ARCs out for request on NetGalley and Edelweiss that I’m hoping to get my hands on. Yikes. Maybe I should be sliiiightly more choosy for a while? My TBR pile would thank me 🙂

For the last time in 2015, let’s do this.

ARC

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My first unsolicited ARC. I feel all grown up :* It’s pure sci-fi, which I’m looking forward to. I played in the YA end of the pool in 2015, so looking to dip my toes more in the adult end in 2016.

DRC

There’s definitely a broad assortment of books in this group. In the YA camp we have The Prophecy of Shadows (Greek mythology-inspired), Daughter of Blood (epic fantasy), Seven Black Diamonds (faery) Burning Glass (romance/fantasy), Beyond the Red (sci-fi) and Flawed (dystopian).  On the adult side we have Submissive Seductions (erotica) A Girl’s Guide to Landing a Greek God (Greek mythology based) and Masks and Shadows (historical).  It’s a fun mix. The books here are posted in order of publication date; though it’ll take me a while to get to Daughter of Blood. It’s the the third in a trilogy and I managed to pick up the first two for $1.99 each on Kindle and will be reviewing those first. The others are all stand-alones/first in series, so there is that :*

physical books traded for by me

I picked these up in a blog sale. These are all young adult except for The Forbidden Library which is more middle grade, but Django Wexler was an enticing thought. Becoming Jinn got a lot of love when it came out and others sounded like fun (angels! steampunk!). Given the size of my TBR pile though, these are definitely going to be lower on the totem pole for when I’m looking for something different to mix it up.

eBooks bought by me

Another hodgepodge of adult and young adult. The Strange Maid is the sequel to the just-reviewed The Lost Sun. Hidden is the next Alex Verus novel. The Heir of Night/The Gathering of the Lost are the first two in the Wall of Night books. These Broken Stars is a sci-fi/romance The Rook is a fantastical thriller and Tooth and Claw is a novel of manners…with dragons.

Twenty-one books. Twenty-one. I think I need to slow down just a wee bit. LOL. So. Have you gone as crazy as I have? What have you added to your shelves?

Marked (Soulseer Chronicles #1) – Sue Tingey

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Summary:

With no family and very few friends, Lucky’s psychic ability has always made her an outcast. The only person she can rely on is Kayla, the ghost girl who has been with her since she was born.

But Kayla is not all that she appears.

And when Lucky is visited by a demonic assassin with a message for her friend, she finds herself dragged into the Underlands – and the political fight for the daemon king’s throne.

Lucky, trapped in the daemon world, is determined to find her way home… until she finds herself caught between the charms of the Guardian Jamie, the charismatic Daemon of Death Jinx – and the lure of finding out who she really is.

Review:

Marked is a bit of fun paranormal fantasy (I hesitate to call it paranormal romance as it never quite gets there, though I’m certain later volumes will get closer) that is being marked as young adult. And while the main character seems to teeter on that edge, the story definitely fits squarely into the young adult niche: if you’ve read enough fantasy, you can eventually figure out who Lucky is…or at the very least if you’re like me, kick yourself for not figuring it out as you’ve ultimately seen this before.

In some ways, this story reminds me of Angelbound about a girl who gets dragged into politics of the underworld and (of course) ultimately has an ability that makes her special. I do think this is a slightly better version of that tale. The opening is stronger and the demons definitely feel more menacing. The Underlands have an old school vibe to them, though the excuse for the lack of technology (what good has technology really done anyway?) is preachy and given how it doesn’t actually contribute to the story as a whole could have been better off tossed.

The companions in this book are probably the best part. There are demon body guards named Mr. Kerfuffle and Mr. Shenanigans, a pet draken which I totally want one for myself, and of course Jinx and and Jamie. The latter two are very much your more typical good guy/bad guy tropes, but again, they all work. I do wish we saw more of the political maneuvering – it basically happens off stage, and I do wish there could have been some actual romance here as only at the very end does our heroine realize that hey these guys are hot, but the quibbles are minor.

This is a fun little book that fans of the genre should enjoy. If you like the genre and you like the description, I think you’ll be pleased.

Verdict:

A strong borrow it.

Available: Now

Miserere: An Autumn Tale

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Summary:

Exiled exorcist Lucian Negru deserted his lover in Hell in exchange for saving his sister Catarina’s soul, but Catarina doesn’t want salvation. She wants Lucian to help her fulfill her dark covenant with the Fallen Angels by using his power to open the Hell Gates. Catarina intends to lead the Fallen’s hordes out of Hell and into the parallel dimension of Woerld, Heaven’s frontline of defense between Earth and Hell. When Lucian refuses to help his sister, she imprisons and cripples him, but Lucian learns that Rachael, the lover he betrayed and abandoned in Hell, is dying from a demonic possession. Determined to rescue Rachael from the demon he unleashed on her soul, Lucian flees his sister, but Catarina’s wrath isn’t so easy to escape!

Review:

Show, don’t tell. It’s one of the first rules of writing that your English teacher tries to drill into you when practicing creative writing of any sort.

And yet, all Frohock does is tell, tell, tell.

We know Lucian loved Catarina, because the story tells us it was so. We know that Lucian loved Rachel and that he did what he did, because the story tells us it was so.  As it was, all we get are glimpses of a backstory that could have been amazing, but instead just teases us with what might have been. It’s a problem too, because your investment in the story hinges on you buying that Lucian has remorse, and that Lucian loves Rachel. But here’s the thing: we never see Lucian actually loving Catarina. By the time we meet them, his feelings are mainly a mixture of hatred and fear. There’s some regret to be sure, but love? You don’t see it. Throw in the fact that Catarina is almost over the top villain – she lacks all subtly as a woman who wants power and will do anything and everything to get it. You literally can’t see why he would do what he did. Rachel says that she’s gone crazy. I do not doubt it, but why couldn’t we have seen it?

If there were ever a story begging for length, it is this. At 280 pages, I wish, wish wish that the book had doubled the length so we could have seen more of this tantalizing past, because I fully believe that the world created and characters that populate it are rich enough that they could have supported it. It’s so frustrating because I feel like there was so much more to see, but sadly she had chosen to tell instead.

At time of writing, the e-book was on sale, if you can get it on sale, I say pick it up. There’s just not quite enough here for me to give it my full recommendation.

Verdict: Borrow It

Available Now

The Veil – Chloe Neill

Hey everyone! Hope you all had a nice (hopefully long) holiday! Work and life got a bit stressful so I didn’t exactly get a ton of reading done last week, unless you count me DNFing Masque of the Red Death as actual progress. Things are settling down, so I’m hoping to get back into the groove of things. That said, my former 3-reviews a week just seems like it’s just not going to happen until I have some time to build a cushion back up and that won’t be possible until at least around Labor Day when I have my next vacation. In the mean time, I’m going to try aiming for twice a week, on some combination of Monday/Wednesday/Friday.

That out of the way, let’s get to it.

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Summary:

Seven years ago, the Veil that separates humanity from what lies beyond was torn apart, and New Orleans was engulfed in a supernatural war. Now, those with paranormal powers have been confined in a walled community that humans call the District. Those who live there call it Devil’s Isle.

Claire Connolly is a good girl with a dangerous secret: she’s a Sensitive, a human endowed with magic that seeped through the Veil. Claire knows that revealing her skills would mean being confined to Devil’s Isle. Unfortunately, hiding her power has left her untrained and unfocused.

Liam Quinn knows from experience that magic makes monsters of the weak, and he has no time for a Sensitive with no control of her own strength. But when he sees Claire using her powers to save a human under attack—in full view of the French Quarter—Liam decides to bring her to Devil’s Isle and the teacher she needs, even though getting her out of his way isn’t the same as keeping her out of his head.

But when the Veil threatens to shatter completely, Claire and Liam must work together to stop it, or else New Orleans will burn…

Review:

Having to write reviews like this are one of the most frustrating things I ever do. My desire to like this book wound up being stronger than my actual liking of this book, and worst still, I can’t quite put my finger on why exactly that is.

The plot is solid enough, and a nice little twist on the usual Urban Fantasy. Beings with magic tried to kill us, we tried to kill them, and when that all failed the government said eff it and just more or less abandoned New Orleans and most of the surrounding country side. New Orleans is now a husk of its former self and the inhabitants are just trying to cope. It’s different enough to be a bit of fresh air in the genre, so no fault there. I will say though that as much as she incorporated New Orleans into the story, it didn’t feel like a deep seated need to be there. It didn’t add a lot of flavor to the story is all I’m saying.

The magic is okay, I guess, though maybe a bit underdeveloped. The idea of Sensitives and Paras and Wraiths do make sense, but the actual usage of said magic just seems to be a thing that you just accept because. How else do you explain Claire, someone who has deliberately used her magic like three or four times in her whole life, being able to save the day at the very end? It kind of works, but also kind of leaves you looking side-eye at the book.

The characters are okay. I like Claire enough, despite the ending, it’s not like she’s some genius practitioner who gets it all right on the first attempt (which makes her ability to work under such extreme pressure a bit hard to swallow), she has a solid friend circle, and Liam seems okay. I’m not sold on a certain betrayal in the book. I’m not sure what the character who did that actually got in exchange, since her end goal was still the same the main bad guy. Just a general bitch? Extra plot to help round out the story? I didn’t really feel the chemistry between Claire and Liam either. I don’t think they’d be bad together, but I’m not emotionally invested in them either.

Ultimately, I had enough fun while reading the book that I didn’t have any particular urge to set the book down. I also didn’t have the urge to binge-read it either. It was just kind of there for me. Those who love urban fantasy might still want to give this a look because it is just that much different as to feel a bit fresh, but those who just dabble can safely move along.

Finally, how does it hold up to her Chicagoland books? I honestly can’t say. It’s a series that I’ve been mildly curious to try, but never actually have. After this publishes, I’d love to hear from people who have read both and find out if you think it’s worth giving her other series a chance!

Verdict: Borrow It

Available: August 4th

Death’s Hand (Descent #1) – SM Reine

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Summary:

Policing relations between Heaven, Hell, and Earth is messy and violent, but Elise Kavanagh and James Faulkner excelled at it– until coming across a job so brutal that even they couldn’t stand to see one more dead body.

Now they’ve been pretending to be normal for five years, leaving their horrific history a dark secret. Elise works in an office. James owns a business. None of their friends realize they used to be one of the world’s best killing teams.

After years of hiding, something stirs. Bodies are vanishing. Demons scurry in the shadows of the night. A child has been possessed.

Some enemies aren’t willing to let the secrets of the past stay dead…

Review:

Note: The cover and the version I’m looking at represents a free collection of the first three books. This review is only for the first book in the collection/series

You know, after not reading urban fantasy for such a long period, I feel like I’ve been practically binging it recently. Between Flex, Kindling the Moon, this and Curse Servant (which will post on Friday) I’ve read four urban titles in as many weeks. It has to be a new record for me! Sitting on my Kindle since July 2014, I just kept forgetting about it until I was browsing Net Galley. The author’s name caught my eye and when I figured out why I thought it sounded familiar, I finally decided to give this a look.

And how did it go?

Eh.

Descent is a series of urban fantasy/borderline horror novels about an exorcist named Elise and her witch partner James. Having “retired” from the business five years prior after preventing the Apocalypse, they’ve settled into mundane lives. He owns a dance studio and is the head of a local coven. She is perennially broke because she decided to become an accountant and serve only demons, who seemingly don’t care to pay the bills. It’s never explained why she doesn’t just focus on human clients and take on a gig for demons on the side. Or why she would want to do their accounting at all given how many have tried to kill her. Or why demons would even need accountants. There’s apparently a whole thriving sub-culture, but aside from a few scenes early on in a demon-owned casino we see none of that. Why not?

Well, because this book is really nothing more than a string of set-pieces. There are two stories that run through this book: a modern day story of the pair getting dragged back into the old line of work and the story of five years ago. The story of five years ago is almost pure action. The story set today is mostly action, with enough down time to get information needed to move the plot along.

That’s not to say the action doesn’t work, towards the end of the book there’s a great sequence in a cemetery where she’s trying to exorcise many demons at once using a Jerry-rigged loud speaker on a Jeep that was particularly enjoyable, and there are a few scenes that seem genuinely horrifying in their sacrifice. It’s just the action alone isn’t enough to compensate for everything else you look for in a book. Elise and James are underwritten and you don’t care about them. The world has potential that is absolutely wasted because we’re never shown it. There is nothing really new in terms of the exorcisms or the demons or any of it.

About the only thing I can say in favor of it, is that this collection seems to be permanently available free of charge. For that price, die-hard fans of the genre might want to give it ago. It’s not badly done, it’s just not that exciting or deep. There’s not enough here to keep me going, but it might hit the spot for you.

Verdict: Skip it

Available Now

Kindling the Moon (Arcadia Bell #1) – Jenn Bennett

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Meet Arcadia Bell: bartender, renegade magician, fugitive from the law. . . .

Being the spawn of two infamous occultists (and alleged murderers) isn’t easy, but freewheeling magician Arcadia “Cady” Bell knows how to make the best of a crummy situation. After hiding out for seven years, she’s carved an incognito niche for herself slinging drinks at the demon-friendly Tambuku Tiki Lounge.

But she receives an ultimatum when unexpected surveillance footage of her notorious parents surfaces: either prove their innocence or surrender herself. Unfortunately, the only witness to the crimes was an elusive Æthyric demon, and Cady has no idea how to find it. She teams up with Lon Butler, an enigmatic demonologist with a special talent for sexual spells and an arcane library of priceless stolen grimoires. Their research soon escalates into a storm of conflict involving missing police evidence, the decadent Hellfire Club, a ruthless bounty hunter, and a powerful occult society that operates way outside the law. If Cady can’t clear her family name soon, she’ll be forced to sacrifice her own life . . . and no amount of running will save her this time.

Review:

Ah, Paranormal Romance, my old friend. I’ve come to talk with you again. It has been a while, hasn’t it? And really, it’s not you, it’s me. You see, you’re kind of trope-y and more importantly, you have this annoying tendency to favor open-ended series. Not only do I still regret following Anita Blake as long as I did, I just read too much to want to make that kind of commitment anymore. And yet, I still picked you up. For one, Cady doesn’t have any ties to the the police or private investigation. Definite plus. The other big plus? Your kink is demons, and right now, mine is too! I love vampires as much as anyone, but it’s nice to mix it up once in a while.

I have to say, I’m glad I picked you up. One, there’s no beating around the bush here. No will she go with suitor A or suitor B or will it take five or ten books to actually get there. Nope! Cady gets herself a man right in the first book, and they consummate the relationship in the first book and it is hot. Oh, and another plus? Lon is a father! Someone with an actual kid! And when his son gets injured as a result of decisions Cady made, he actually gets mad! I mean, they do patch it up (and it’s not unreasonable that they did) but still, holy crap, and honest reaction to that kind of situation! I also dig that Cady actually spends some time with the son for all of its awkwardness. It feels real and grounded in a part of the genre that is often anything but. It’s refreshing!

I also like the world she’s started to build here. It’s well thought out, and the concept of the Earthbound – essentially weak demons stuck in human form – is a neat one and we actually get to see how her magic works in a way that doesn’t feel wedged in just to show it off. It has nice balance. It even has a nice tie-in to the main plot! Solid all around.

Also, and I just discovered this in my research for this review: this is a closed ended series. Four books, people. Four. Only four. Huzzah! Look, my dislike of open-ended series goes beyond simple time commitment: series with no definitive ends in sight tend to drift and lose their focus. At best, the series only drifts. At worst, you start seeing signs of author burnout and that just never ends well.

This is one of those genres that you either like or you dislike: it’s a genre that practically demands you don’t reinvent the wheel. And for the differences in this book, it’s still the same genre: you still have the spunky heroine. You still have the simmering tension and longing looks. You still have the danger that she gets herself into, and sometimes gets herself out of and sometimes she gets rescued out of. It’s a very fresh coat of paint, but the basics are all there. If you don’t like the genre, you may not like it. But if you’re like me and have been side-eying the genre for a while, then this is an excellent way to get back in to it.

P.S. Don’t let the cover art turn you off. It’s cheap looking, the kind that gets foisted off on untested authors, and the book is definitely better than its cover.

Verdict: Buy It

Available: Now

Born Human – A.J. Salem

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Summary:

After nearly unleashing hell on Earth, Gemma Pope is focused on one thing only – living a normal teenage life. But when a troop of tanks roll into Harrisport and a group of white coats start tinkering with a second chamber with intentions of prying it open, Gemma is forced to decide if she wants back in the game. Can Gemma let sleeping dogs lie and brush off more than one past betrayal?

Born Human is the thrilling sequel to Almost Demon and the second book in The Sigil Cycle series

Review:

Son, I am disappoint.

The first book was a fun little paranormal YA romp. This book had some promise, but two problems common to indie titles completely derailed this book.

First, the book is just too short. The estimated page length for this book was all of 173 pages. The first book was 310. You really do miss those extra 140 pages. Those pages let the story breathe, gave her place to develop characters. This book it goes from event to event to event, and that’s it. Don’t both reading this if you didn’t already <i>Almost Demon</i> because you’ll be completely lost. It seems the plan is for seven books, but I’m not entirely sure there’s enough plot to sustain a series of that length. Not every series needs to be that long, and I much rather a series be a really well developed trilogy than a stretched out septet.

The other major problem? This book is not properly edited. There were formatting markers left in. She used italics for telepathic conversations and I found at least one instance where she forgot to italicize. Conversations didn’t properly introduce characters, so it was difficult to tell who Gemma was talking to, and in bits of dialogue the pronoun for the person speaking would inevitably be capitalized. It was odd and incredibly distracting. I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point: this book was not ready to be published. I’m forgiving of a few minor copy errors here and there, but it’s just too much here.

As for the story, it’s fine. Gemma finds out that no matter how much she might wish ignoring the problems would make them go away, they don’t, and soon enough it’s back to summoning demons, this time to try and prevent the start of the apocalypse. There’s a twist at the end that isn’t really a twist if you’ve read enough books in the genre.

I enjoy the first one and was looking forward to this one. I don’t think I’ll be proceeding from this point. Technical issues aside, I really didn’t like how breakneck this book was, and I suspect that won’t be changing going forward.

I’m really am bummed that this had to be this way. I really do love finding and sharing great indie titles and this just isn’t one.

Verdict: Skip It

Available: Now