Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

Book Review

 


Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1)Book Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

Book Series: Kate Daniels #1

Released: 4/1/2007 by Ace

Pages: 260  Price: $7.99 Paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed the audiobook from my library.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for the magic…

When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose, leaving all kinds of paranormal problems in its wake.

Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up these magical problems. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta’s magic circles.

The Masters of the Dead, necromancers who can control vampires, and the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shapechangers, blame each other for a series of bizarre killings—and the death of Kate’s guardian may be part of the same mystery. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she’s way out of her league—but she wouldn’t have it any other way…

My Review:

No, just no.  This book was not for me.  I like my supernatural/paranormal creatures to be the ‘good guys’, not monsters and especially not creepy monsters.  I am also not into this whole zombie or necromancer theme.  This book reminded me a lot of the Anita Blake series and while I stuck that one out for like five books this is where I leave this world.  I know it will not work for me no matter how long I stick it out.

I know that this is a popular series with many of you so please no hate mail but I just don’t get the appeal.  I don’t mind gritty but this was disturbing in places near the end.  I actually ended up DNFing the book but am counting it since I listened to all but an hour of it.  I just didn’t care and the plot kept getting increasingly more twisted and dark.  So I decided to tap out.

The main character also rubbed me the wrong way.  I just couldn’t get behind her in the plot.  She was too self-deprecating at times which I find super annoying.  One of my bookish turn offs is characters that don’t like themselves. She also felt like she had a chip on her shoulder much of the time.   I will tolerate it for a few books usually but throw in the creepy factor on top and I’m done.

If you are a fan of the Anita Blake series than this one will probably be right up your alley.  For me there just isn’t anything I enjoyed enough to finish the first book or bring me back for another.

My Rating:1 Star

The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi

Book Review

 


The Collapsing Empire (The Interdependency #1)Book Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera, Political

Book Series: The interdependency #1

Released: 3/21/17

Pages:336  Price: $25.99 hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this book from my library

 

 

Book Synopsis:

The first novel of a new space-opera sequence set in an all-new universe by the Hugo Award-winning, New York Times-bestselling author of Redshirts and Old Man’s War.

Our universe is ruled by physics and faster than light travel is not possible — until the discovery of The Flow, an extra-dimensional field we can access at certain points in space-time that transport us to other worlds, around other stars.

Humanity flows away from Earth, into space, and in time forgets our home world and creates a new empire, the Interdependency, whose ethos requires that no one human outpost can survive without the others. It’s a hedge against interstellar war — and a system of control for the rulers of the empire.

The Flow is eternal — but it is not static. Just as a river changes course, The Flow changes as well, cutting off worlds from the rest of humanity. When it’s discovered that The Flow is moving, possibly cutting off all human worlds from faster than light travel forever, three individuals — a scientist, a starship captain and the Empress of the Interdependency — are in a race against time to discover what, if anything, can be salvaged from an interstellar empire on the brink of collapse.

My Review:

I can’t believe I’m actually doing this but I’m DNF a Scalzi book.  I am on page 178, for future reference if I decide to try again, and am just struggling to get into this story.  I made it halfway through the book and just don’t care.  I don’t want to read another page and it is dragging down my reading groove so this is where I part ways with this book.  Not the author because I still think he is brilliant but this book is simply not what I’m looking for.  I know that many of you love it so please don’t send hate mail/comment, let’s keep the pitchforks to ourselves, shall we.

The book started off slow with not enough background information to help you figure out what was going on.  Like another reviewer stated it was if you were picking up a story already in progress and nobody was going to catch you up.  Also, way too political for me right now.  A government controlled by corporations IS our reality!  I read to escape and this was no escape.  Of what I read it was about the haves lording over the have-nots and I just don’t want to read that right now.

I’m sure Scalzi is making some great parallels to our society which is what great fiction does but I don’t have the patience to wait for the come-up-ins.  I also struggled to identify with any of the characters or even find one to root for.  They felt flat or wishy-washy.  I wanted someone to grab me and give me a reason to keep reading.  None of the characters managed that.  Quite frankly I don’t care what happens to any of them.  I would be curious to learn how humans ended up in this multi-planet system but it was never explained thoroughly and it didn’t feel like Scalzi was going to bring us back to why we left Earth in the first place.

Kind of disappointed but oh well.  I wish I had figured out sooner that it wasn’t a good fit and given up a week ago.  I’m not giving up on Scalzi, however.  There are still books of his I want to read but this series… I think I’ll pass.  Thanks.

My Rating:DNF

Awakened by Elisabeth Naughton

Book Review


Awakened (Eternal Guardians, #8)Book Genre:
Romance, Paranormal, Fantasy, Greek Mythology

Book Series: Eternal Guardians Series #8

Released: 4/12/16 by Author

Pages: 252  Price: $4.99

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I received this book from the publisher through Net Galley for an honest review

 

Book Synopsis:

DAMON – For twenty-five years he’s served as a plaything for the gods. With no memory of his past, he has no way of knowing if this is his ultimate fate, but he senses there has to be more to life.

Damon’s hope for more comes in the form of the Sirens’ newest recruit. Elysia is unlike any trainee he’s ever met. Not only can she remember where she came from—an ability the Sirens block—but she has an instant connection to Damon, one he’s never felt and doesn’t understand. Soon Damon is willing to do anything to have Elysia. Even risk the wrath of the gods to break her out of Olympus so he can keep her for himself.

But Damon’s past isn’t a mystery to everyone. Evil forces are at work beneath the surface, and before long, Damon realizes that the connection he shares with Elysia isn’t a random coincidence. His fate—and the darkness it brings—was cemented long ago. And when it is finally revealed, no one will be safe.

My Review:

I am going to do something I don’t normally do.  I am going to review a book I’m DNF. My reasoning is that I had made a valiant effort to finish this book…kinda, and have stuck with this series for seven stories thus far.  I’m afraid this is where I part from this world as I believe I am done with is series.

Don’t get me wrong it isn’t that they are bad books or that I haven’t enjoyed them so far, but I believe I have simply lost interest.  It happens.  This is a case of it’s not you it’s definitely me.  I did enjoy this world but was never terribly excited about it. I started this series when I was consuming books at a faster pace and I had plenty of reading time to spare for this series.  Now that I’m busier and seem to be struggling to even read the books I am over the moon for I feel it is time to let this series go.

As to what I thought of the 13o some odd pages of this story.  I enjoyed the beginning quite a bit.  I thought it a fun twist on a Hunger Games like theme with the female lead having to survive a series of tests she didn’t choose to participate in.  Being this was an adult novel though there was plenty of “adult” games to spice up the mix.  I think where the story lost me a bit though was with the time jump. Not that it was too confusing but too much of a break and too many new characters to become vested in.  I was totally into this story until they reached the seduction training part and it suddenly became too much.  Too much sex (if that is even a thing…)  I felt like I was fighting to stay in the story so I decided to walk away this time.  Now I did have a problem with my personal life getting in the way and I started this book weeks ago, perhaps it is a case of too much time had passed and I really needed to start over again to stay focused on the story.  Or. I have simply grown apart from this world and it is time to move on.

So thank you for the enjoyable series that entertained me for some time, but this is where I part.  Perhaps I will revisit this world or try one of this author’s other series as she does know how to write a good story.

My Rating:DNF

Change Your Brain Change Your Life by Daniel G. Amen

Change your brain

Stand Alone: Released 11/3/15: 480 Pages

I received a copy of this book through the blogging for books program for an honest review

More Info & Author Bio

Book Synopsis:

In this completely revised and updated edition of the breakthrough bestseller, you’ll see scientific evidence that your anxiety, depression, anger, obsessiveness, or impulsiveness could be related to how specific structures in your brain work. You’re not stuck with the brain you’re born with. Renowned neuropsychiatrist Dr. Daniel Amen includes cutting-edge reseach and the latest surprising, effective “brain prescriptions” that can help heal your brain and change your life:  To quell anxiety and panic:
Use simple breathing techniques to immediately calm inner turmoil
To fight depression:
Learn how to kill ANTs (automatic negative thoughts)
To curb anger:
Follow the Amen anti-anger diet and learn the nutrients that calm rage
To conquer impulsiveness and learn to focus:
Develop total focus with the One-Page Miracle
To stop obsessive worrying:
Follow the “get unstuck” writing exercise and learn other problem-solving exercises

My review:

I’m afraid this book is not for me.  I requested it on a whim thinking it might help me with my issues with worry, anxiety and depression.  While it still might, I’m afraid it is a much more technical book than what I was looking for.  This is more of the type of book that my husband would be interested in, so guess who is getting a late Christmas gift…  I’m sure this book is chock full of all kinds of helpful information, but being a reader of mainly fiction it is far to dry for my taste and I’m not going to slog through it to dig out the little nuggets that pertain to my situation.  I guess I’m looking for more of a CliffNotes version instead of something that reminded me of a 9th grade biology class.  Granted it is far more advanced, but it felt too much like homework to me.  I’m still going to skim through the sections pertaining to my own personal struggles and hopefully I’ll be able to find some helpful information, but I’m not holding my breath.  I need to find an author on this topic that has a more conversational tone and doesn’t talk over my head.  So for me this is a DNF.

 

My Rating: DNF

Fool Moon by Jim Butcher – DNF

Fool Moon (The Dresden Files, #2)

The Dresden Files series #2: Release date January 2001: 136/342 pages read

I owned a copy of this book

Author’s Site

Book Sysnopsis:

Harry Dresden–Wizard
Lost Items Found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment.

Business has been slow. Okay, business has been dead. And not even of the undead variety. You would think Chicago would have a little more action for the only professional wizard in the phone book. But lately, Harry Dresden hasn’t been able to dredge up any kind of work–magical ormundane.

But just when it looks like he can’t afford his next meal, a murder comes along that requires his particular brand of supernatural expertise.

A brutally mutilated corpse. Strange-looking paw prints. A full moon. Take three guesses–and the first two don’t count…

My review:

That’s it.  I give up.  I just can not continue… I am obviously not a Dresden fan.  When I rather figure out what is smelling in my kitchen than sit down and read a book it is time to wake up and give up on that series.  I’m sorry to all the fans, but I just don’t like this series and I am not going to continue on.  I made it 136 pages in and took a look at how many more there was to go and I couldn’t read another page.  I gave this series a shot, a whole book and a quarter but this is where I leave it before it ruins the fantasy genre for me.

So why didn’t this one work for me.  I am not a fan of how women are written in this series and I simply don’t like Harry.   It is like being inside the head of a twelve-year-old boy and I am not interested in exploring what is up there. Now as far as paranormal characters go witches are my least favorite, there are exceptions of course, but this is not one of them and I consider wizards to be another form of witches.  This story also couldn’t capture or keep my attention, at 130 some pages I wasn’t excited about what was going on in the plot or the characters involved.  I even set this one down for some required work reading last week and didn’t want to pick it back up again.  Life is too short to read what you don’t like and I was giving this book far more opportunity to impress me than most.  This afternoon I woke up and said to myself I would have put other books down by now, so now I do this one as well.  I was holding out because of the love this series garnishes from its fans, but I just couldn’t see what all the fuss was about.

I tried, but it is time to move on…

My Rating: 1 Star

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

The Rook (The Checquy Files, #1)

Click on cover to visit book’s Goodread’s page.

 

Book one in the Checquy File series: Published 1/11/12

I borrowed this book from my library for the #ReadingMyLibrary Challege and save $16.00.

Author’s Site

Book Synopsis:

“The body you are wearing used to be mine.” So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and track down the agents who want to destroy her.

She soon learns that she is a Rook, a high-ranking member of a secret organization called the Chequy that battles the many supernatural forces at work in Britain. She also discovers that she possesses a rare, potentially deadly supernatural ability of her own.

In her quest to uncover which member of the Chequy betrayed her and why, Myfanwy encounters a person with four bodies, an aristocratic woman who can enter her dreams, a secret training facility where children are transformed into deadly fighters, and a conspiracy more vast than she ever could have imagined.

Filled with characters both fascinating and fantastical, THE ROOK is a richly inventive, suspenseful, and often wry thriller that marks an ambitious debut from a promising young writer.

My Review:

I was so excited when this book came in at the library.  I have heard so many good things about it and glossed over all the glowing reviews (by many respectable readers I follow) and read an online article recommending this book for grown-up fans of Harry Potter.  I even read the first chapter at a local book store before recommending it for purchase for my library.

Then I started it and it all went to crap.  The first chapter and premise did grab me, hell even the second chapter still had my attention but by page 50 I could tell I was in trouble.  The book was not living up to expectations.  Still I had recommended it for a reading group I belong to (thank God they didn’t pick it!) and was determined to wait it out, surely it would get better. After a week of struggling and suffering all the way to page 250, almost half way, I am out.  I’m DNFing this puppy and moving on to something that doesn’t bore me so much I start looking for things to clean or surf over to Netflix.  I tried,  well past I would with most books, but I have to face facts this series and author are just not for me.

Alright, since I wasted so much time and read so much of this I am going to do something I rarely do, I’m going negative and sharing what didn’t work for me in this DNF read.  First off this is no Harry Potter for adult fans of the series.  Not even close.  I would say that this book is a mix of The Avengers or X-Men set in a James Bond like government agency.  The premise is promising, but the execution just didn’t work for me.   The only character that is even memorable is the lead and half the story is told past-tense in the form of these huge info-dumping letters that she uses to catch her amnesiac self up to speed.  In the beginning it works, but by the fourth chapter it has become a crutch for the author to tell us information and has become tiresome.

Another problem I had is that I kinda liked the new version of the character with an unfortunately difficult name, but we spent so much time in the head of her former whiny self that I started to dislike both of them.  I think she could have been really kick-ass and fun to read about but the author got in the way.  I felt like the character and he were battling and the end result was this strange mix of a person that I just didn’t want to read about.

I also had issue with the plot did not follow the one that was sold to me, of this lead character’s search to discover who she is and who is out to get her.  Instead she slips into her former life and we follow her as she has meetings…  The second plot of this invasion could have been interesting too, but it just never developed. Then another and another plot threads are piled on all the while being interrupted by letters to self that sometimes add valuable information, but most of the time not and it just got really, really boring.  I kept waiting for something to happen and by page 250 I felt that nothing worth continuing had.  A few of the other characters were interesting, but we never spent any time with them, so they stayed pretty one-dimensional.  We would get the info-dump of their relevance in another letter and then she would have a meeting with them and move on.

I so wanted to like this book, and I have a hard time believing so many people did. Was I even reading the same story as them, because I feel like I wasn’t.  There were parts I did like, and I even laughed out loud from time to time, but the humor wasn’t what I was lead to believe it would be either.  I just didn’t find it clever, though I could tell it was meant to be.  I also didn’t appreciate the derogatory terms that were being used either.  For those that loved it, I’m happy for you.  I did not and will not be trying anything else by this author in the future.  Life is too short to read books you don’t like. Sorry.

My Rating: 1 Star

Vampires of Manhattan by Melissa De La Cruz

Vampires of Manhattan

Book #1 in The New Blue Bloods coven

Published 9/9/14

I borrowed this book from my library for #ReadingMyLibrary Challenge saving me $26.00

Author’s Site

Book Synopsis:

The Vampires of Manhattan is “hipster horror”–the memorable characters from her Blue Bloods series are older and cooler than before, trying to build “Millennial” lives in the bustle of Manhattan while battling forces of evil and, of course, each other.

Hero of this sexy, paranormal action tale is Oliver Hazard-Perry, former human conduit, and Manhattan’s only human-turned-vampire, now the head of the Blue Bloods Coven. When his all-too-human lover is found murdered on the eve of the coven’s annual Four Hundred Ball–a celebration meant to usher in a new era in vampire society, and to mark the re-unification of the Coven after decades of unrest and decay–Oliver is devastated.

Now, not only is he trying to create a new world order for the immortal elite, he’s the prime suspect and is stalked by the newly installed head of the vampire secret police. Because according to the new rules, vampires who take human life can now be executed. Burned.

How can an immortal sentenced to die fight back? He has to find the killer–and the answers lie deep in vampire lore.

My Review:

DNF.  I gave this title my 50 page try and decided I’m fine being finished with this world.  I really enjoyed the first series, but this one just didn’t catch me.  I guess I just don’t care anymore, but really it felt like something was missing.

This book is supposed to be for an adult, or new adult, audience, but it just didn’t feel like it.  I think she should have keep the world in the YA level reading.  Just because the characters are older doesn’t mean the story has matured.  Vampires of Manhattan, like the original series, is told from rotating points of view that give the reader different perspectives of what is going on.  Two of them, in this book, are from characters brought over from the other series.  Not that I liked them much in those books in the first place…  I guess with out Jack and Schuyler the world just doesn’t hold much interest to me.  I also did not care for the new main character of Ara Scott, but perhaps I just didn’t give the story long enough to get to know her.

Another problem I had is that I felt like I was missing out on a lot of back information.  There were other spin-off series in this world that I did not read, maybe that would have helped, maybe not.  I just didn’t want to slog through half a book being caught up, I wanted to hit the ground running.  I think it might have been better to just start fresh with all new faces instead and just having cameos of past favorites.

I tried, but for now I’m setting this one aside to read something that isn’t such a struggle to get into.  Maybe I will check it out again sometime, but I really think I’m ready to let these characters and world go to move on to new places to explore.

My Rating: DNF

 

City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett – DNF

City of Stairs

 

Cover art thanks to Goodread, click on it to visit book’s page there.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Blogging for Books for an honest review.

Twitter Link

More Info

Author Bio

Book Synopsis:

A densely atmospheric and intrigue-filled fantasy novel of living spies, dead gods, buried histories, and a mysterious, ever-changing city-from one of America’s most acclaimed young SF writers.

Years ago, the city of Bulikov wielded the powers of the Gods to conquer the world. But after its divine protectors were mysteriously killed, the conqueror has become the conquered; the city’s proud history has been erased and censored, progress has left it behind, and it is just another colonial outpost of the world’s new geopolitical power. Into this musty, backward city steps Shara Divani. Officially, the quiet mousy woman is just another lowly diplomat sent by Bulikov’s oppressors. Unofficially, Shara is one of her country’s most accomplished spymasters-dispatched to investigate the brutal murder of a seemingly harmless historian. As Shara pursues the mystery through the ever-shifting physical and political geography of the city, she begins to suspect that the beings who once protected Bulikov may not be as dead as they seem-and that her own abilities might be touched by the divine as well.

My Review:

I could not even make it 100 pages into this book.  Tons of great reviews, wanted to like it, but it is simply boring and too confusing.  To me it seems as if the author is to concerned with world building and writing a story of literary genius that all his clever, beautifully written, over descriptive, paragraphs and sentences gets in the way of simply telling a good story.  Reading this is simply too much work and I struggled to pay attention.  I read for fun and don’t want to read anything that is a chore to get through.  Other reviews and the synopsis made this book appeal to me, hence my requesting it, but the story is just to slow to start off and so confusing with the myriad of characters and strange names that I give up.  To all that loved it: great, happy for you, but I will not be continuing.  The world seemed like an interesting mix of dystopian and fantasy, but it just got too bogged down for me. In the amount of pages that I managed to work through there was no one that I could identify with, no one that I cared about, and no one I could remember several pages after I left them.  The excerpts from fictional text at the beginning of each chapter also disrupted my reading flow as well.  Important information within, but perhaps what the reader needed to know about the history of this world could have been conveyed in a different manner, one that didn’t take the reader out of the momentum of the story or action.  As much as I wanted to get into this story I think this is simply a case of the author’s writing style and my reading taste not being compatible.

Shadow Hunter by Kait Ballenger – DNF

Shadow HunterCover art thanks to Goodreads, click on it to visit book’s page there

Book .5 in the Execution Underground Series

I received this book from the publisher through Net Galley for an honest review

Book Synopsis:

See where it all began in this exciting prequel to The Execution Underground, Kait Ballenger’s sexy paranormal series about the men who hunt evil and the women who love them.

Vampire hunter Damon Brock’s first assignment with the Execution Underground is Rochester, New York. But he isn’t the only hunter in town gunning for vamp blood. Tiffany Solow is ruthless when it comes to slaying the monsters that destroyed her family—and she works solo. But when she meets the mysterious hunter who wants more than just her turf, the line between good and evil blurs as they must decide between their lifelong beliefs…and their newfound desires.

My Review:

This book is not for me.  I read to page 46 and had had enough and decided to DNF and give no star rating.  I’m disappointed that it didn’t work out, but glad I didn’t invest in the next book which was already on my to-read list.  This is going to be a series I will skip.

So what didn’t work for me.  Well my biggest pet peeve was present and not in a tolerable way, as in another recent read of late.  The main character didn’t like himself.  I had to slog through to much self-criticism and self-loathing, it didn’t allow me to bond with Damon.  I also didn’t care for Tiffany, while she had a more empowering self image and attitude, she was still too dark and negative.  The entire world was too dark and negative really, and while that may work for some, it just wasn’t what I wanted to read.

I also tend to prefer my paranormal characters to be the good guys or at least not viscous people-killing monsters.  All the supernaturals were being set up to be the bad guys in this world that needed to be eliminated.  It also got a little too graphic,  I like action but don’t need graphic details of the blood, guts and gore.

So like I said this one just wasn’t for me.  I stuck it out to, almost, to my 50 page limit and had to set this one aside.  I hope it does well for the author an I’m sure it will find a market, it looks like my review is going to be one of the few that go against the norm, but I just didn’t like it.

 

Monday Morning Question: What makes you DNF a book?

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Good Monday morning afternoon…  Running a little late today.  Today I thought I would ask you all:  What makes you DNF (did not finish) a book?  Whether you agreed to review it,  a recommendation from a friend, or just something you came across and decided to try.

I seem to go through phases where I will hit reading spells that it feels as if every other book, or more, are DNF’s.  Sometimes this happens when I finish a book I am really into, the following ones just don’t measure up or keep my attention long enough to stick it out.  There are some triggers though that increase the likelihood that I will DNF a title. Here they are:

  • Being in the head of a character that doesn’t like themselves.  I can not stand this.  They don’t have to necessarily love themselves and I don’t want cocky, but the constant inner monologue that is negative or down on themselves gets tiring real fast and will often lead to me putting down a book.  If they don’t care for themselves why should I?
  • Over describing everything.  I’m talking about counting the leaves on a tree over descriptions here.  Often time when the author takes so long to set the scene the action is moving way too slow to keep my attention.
  • Overuse of strange slang.  I don’t want to have to take the time to decode each and every sentence that I read.  Some is alright, but don’t go overboard.
  • Being in a character’s head who is rude and insulting to everyone she meets.  Sometimes this is just an author’s failed attempt to use sarcasm or wit but failed and it comes out condescending or turns the lead into a bully.
  • Inappropriate sex.  I’m not talking about setting down 50 Shades or books like that, but if there is an adult having sex with a minor or a overly detailed masturbation scene I’ll DNF a title, and have in those two very examples.

I know sometimes readers get turned off by poor grammar, but it has to be pretty bad for me to even notice, so that usually isn’t a deal-breaker for me.  Neither is insta-love which happens quite often in paranormal/romance books.  Sometimes though it is just a feeling I get when reading a story that makes me DNF.  I’m just not enjoying it or I keep checking how far I’ve gotten and how much is left, then I know that book just isn’t for me.  I usually make up my mind pretty quick though, if I’m not into it by page 50 I’ll put it done, page 100 if I’m really trying.  How about you?  What makes you DNF a book?