sensitivemuse

sensitivemuse

Book blogger, chef, gamer, avid reader, hockey fanatic. Potential book hoarder and cat lady.

Review
4 Stars
Great follow up to the first one
Moon Over Soho - Ben Aaronovitch

***Spoilers ahead you’ve been warned***

 

It is advisable to read the first one before you get into Moon Over Soho. You’re pretty much carrying on right after the events in the first book so it’s always better to get the background information before carrying on :)

 

I was pleased with this one, complete with rather macabre scenes that will stick with me for a while. I still enjoy the way it’s being narrated by Peter Grant. He tells it pretty bluntly and explains well for some of us who don’t live in London which helps understand the setting more. The setting is dark and gritty, just right to complement the mystery that is prevalent to the case. The mix with the supernatural blends quite well with real life London, I believe it’s probably even more enjoyable to read for those that are quite familiar to the city.

 

Supporting characters and some new ones are featured in the book. It’s nice to see Leslie again despite what happened to her (ahh but the ending though!). Peter takes a lot of beating (both verbal and physical) during the book which is to be expected. He does have a thing with Simone that covers a good latter part of the book which is ok, although I thought it provided a lot of filler and it slowed the pace down considerably. You almost wanted to ask; “Peter, don’t you have a case to work on?”

 

It proved to be a quick read with a good open cliffhanger ending with the mystery of The ‘Faceless One’ which makes the series even more intriguing at this point. I’ll be definitely be picking up the third one. A great series to read so far!

Review
4 Stars
Much better than the third one
Valentine's Rising - E.E. Knight

I was pleasantly surprised with this book after the drivel that was number three. I’m not sure if it was because Valentine decide to finally grow up and get a pair or circumstances in the novel made him this way (likely the latter) but it made for very good reading. There were some very important choices Valentine had to  make for himself and his crew; some of them extremely difficult and the way he dealt with the aftermath was good. It was nice to finally see him being part of a team instead of a one man army and doing everything himself.

 

Again the supporting characters are what made this book going for me (still on the anti-Valentine train for now) they had their distinct personalities and they weren’t flat or meant to just be part of the plot. They each had their part to play whether small or big and it made the plot better and rounded out. I have a soft spot for Ahn-Kha and Styachowski I like them both for their strengths and although they were ‘quiet’ they played substantially in the plot. (More so Styachowski than Ahn-Kha).

 

The plot was good albeit it slowed down to a crawl at the end. It was getting to be too much and by that time, I was already wanting to close the book. There’s plenty of action so that does not disappoint. There were some parts where I came close to closing it because of Valentine’s idiotic behavior, but otherwise, this was much better than the third.

 

This one was enough to redeem itself so I will carry on and read the next. I hope it continues this way.

Review
4 Stars
Keep you guessing until the last pages
The Last Time I Lied - Riley Sager

What I enjoyed about this one is the twists and turns happening all throughout the novel. You think it’s one thing, but it’s leading to another, yet out comes another possible solution to the mystery however it ends up being another red herring and so on. The guessing games keep the book on your toes.

 

The plot flows through smoothly, alternating between past and present so you get a feel for the background story on the events leading up as to why Emma is back. There were times where you had to question her sanity  because her behavior was erratic and unstable. As mentioned before, the guessing games throughout the novel kept the plot going and exciting to read. Expect mean girl behavior and shenanigans, and Emma’s character overall isn’t too likable but tolerable at the most. Vivian isn’t any better but the role she takes upon herself as a ‘big sister’ is endearing and gets instant idolization from Emma.

 

What I loved the most about this book is I wasn’t expecting such a great ending. I was thinking it was going to be a lackluster one at the most with a simple explanation as to what was behind the girls disappearances. It’s not until literally, the last pages of the novel where you get hit with a mega surprise and it was instant mind blow. I was left shocked for a fair amount of time as it was expertly done.

 

I heard more good things about Sager’s other works so I’ll definitely be picking them up. Hope they’re just as good as this one!

Review
3 Stars
Slow plot, good character development, but disappointing
Radical - E.M. Kokie

This one was off to a slow start, and it was pretty much slow throughout. What compelled me to finish this book to the end was wondering whether this Clearview group was legit or if there was something more to them.

 

You also follow through Bex and her life at home, which doesn’t seem very pleasant to start with. Her mom tries to change her despite her orientation, there’s financial issues at the home, and her brother is, quite frankly, an ahole. You quickly figure out Bex is into guns, and survival training. There’s extensive description on how she takes care of the guns, how she loads them, fires them, and we can go on. It gets tedious and lets the plot slow to a crawl. If you want intrigue and surprises, this isn’t going to happen until much later. Much much later.

 

There’s also focus on Bex and Lucy. They both seem to compliment each other and there is slight chemistry between the two of them but it’s not a romantic type of love story that you get if that’s what you’re looking for. They’re polar opposites and compliment one another but you also get that feeling it’s nice while it lasts.

 

There isn’t much to the plot until the last third of the novel, which is disappointing. However it’s jarring to see how much of the concept of survivalism is drilled into Bex and pushes her to the edge to the point of becoming paranoid over every minute detail. It’s sad to see what her parents attempt to make her do, when it comes to the subject of her brother. It’s also disappointing to see hardly any mention of Clearview except for smidgens here and there and although it plays a part in the plot, it’s not what you think and you wish there was more to it. It would have made the book much more interesting.

 

It wasn’t the best, but not the worst either. I’d suggest to take this out from the library instead of a purchase.

Review
4 Stars
Not for everyone, but I enjoyed it
The Blessed - Tonya Hurley

What I liked about this book is it was able to draw you in slowly to the plot and it unfolds gradually by introducing you to the main characters and their backgrounds. You can’t help but keep reading to see what will happen next. Your curiosity is piqued and it’s worth reading through. There is a chapter here and there that lets you think ‘Gee what the heck am I reading here’ but it makes up for it wholeheartedly towards the ending of the book.

 

The plot and the pace is slow but steady. You’re taken through each girl’s perspective and when they finally come together, if you can bypass the pettiness and mean girl attitude (some parts were quite fun to read, the comebacks are something to be filed away for future use should need arise) they actually do make a solid team. Each girl has their own story and their own pain to deal with. Of the three, I’d taken a liking to Cecilia. She’s a tough one and although all three have gone through a substantial amount of pain, Cecilia seems to be the most likable and the most independent (plus she’s a Rocker girl. Who doesn’t think Rocker Girls are cool?)

 

As the story unfolds, it gets chaotic towards the last third of the novel. Pretty good action - brutal at times so might not be for the faint of heart, and of course it leaves room for more things to come (two books follow after this one). Understandably this book might not be for everyone. Gratuitous swearing, references to Catholicism which may be offensive to some, some serious what the F chapters that make you wonder what kind of shrooms they’re on, and references to rape are mentioned in the book.

 

So while it may not be for everyone, I was surprised that I enjoyed reading this one so much. Although it took awhile for the book to gain momentum and this thing with Sebastian being a somewhat Charles Manson wannabe without the murders is a bit tedious, it was actually pretty good. However it comes across as a book that either you’ll really like, or you’ll really hate. So, when in doubt, just take it out of the library and save your money for other things.

Review
4 Stars
A Must Read and good one to discuss..
The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After - Clemantine Wamariya

It’s not an easy subject to write and review about. What can you really say about it when it’s filled with tragedy, mass displacement, and human suffering. It’s definitely an eye opener and if you’re wanting a book to read and discuss this would be an ideal one.

 

What is prevalent all throughout the novel is Clemantine’s feeling of displacement and how she’s not really entire ‘whole’ or she’s never really had a place to call ‘home’ considering all she’s been through. She’s gone through various countries through Africa only to be displaced time after time. It’s emotionally jarring and to even think that Clemantine was only a child during this period would be traumatizing to any child exposed to this world.

 

I find the book interesting and shows how her behavior is like once she moves to the US. Clemantine constantly seeks new opportunities but it feels as if she’s doing so to learn more about herself or to constantly fill herself so she can feel wholesome. Every time she accomplishes something, she goes out to do more. It’s never ending. It’s an admirable trait if you look from another perspective but if you don’t know her real background, you would assume she’s a normal, overachieving teenager.

 

Claire’s strength is admirable throughout the story. Despite all the chaos going around her, she is constantly trying to improve so she can get out with Clemantine. The sad part is, because of what was happening around them, they didn’t really have the chance to be actual sisters. Claire looked out for everyone, Clemantine stayed home and held the fort.

 

No matter how hard you try you can’t really put yourself in their perspective. You can’t really know how it is until you’re actually there experiencing it too (and no one wants that obviously) you can only wish Clemantine and her family will continue to lead on successful and fulfilling lives like they rightly deserve just like everyone else.

Review
2 Stars
Worst one of the series
The English Breakfast Murder - Laura Childs

***Spoilers ahead you’ve been warned***

 

This would have to be the worst book in the series so far. I read this through because I just wanted to get to the end of it in the hopes of having somewhat of a satisfying ending but even that was denied.

 

The plot wasn’t that interesting. It tried to have intrigue and mystery but it was severely lacking. What you read more was more tea parties than anything else. Yes, she owns a tea shop and has two large events that somehow took over nearly half of the book. The mystery takes a back seat in this book and it’s disappointing. The pace of the book was slow and although it tried to make it a little engaging with two issues going on at once it wasn’t enough to really capture my attention.

 

I wasn’t even that interested in the suspects. Nothing stood out and even when it was revealed it was so lackluster. There wasn’t much of an action scene and it completely did a nose dive. The suspect was nabbed. Done. No explanation, no way to tie the loose ends. Everything was just left open and unfinished. I have no idea what in the world happened in this book with the mystery aspect of it. Then there was the issue with Nadine being a complete kleptomaniac. Okay, she stole stuff….so...what ever happened to the items she stole? Nothing was said. Was it ever recovered? And Delaine, lordy. She got the point where she became annoying everytime she appeared in a scene.

 

I read this book just because it was following the series. I think the next one will determine if I continue on with it or not. It’s too bad. I actually enjoyed these and thought they were quaint little mysteries to get into after heavy reads. Not so with this one. You could probably skip this one and go to the following. You’re not missing anything.

Review
3 Stars
Not what I expected but it's ok
The Anomaly - Michael Rutger

What was enjoyable about this book was it could be a movie. Imagery in the book was pictured clearly and the plot was good enough to make you think ‘This should be a movie’

 

The plot was all right. It’s enjoyable and makes for quick reading. It’s not overly complicated and the action scenes provide a good thrill here and there. It flowed and kept things interesting, however around the midway mark of the book things slow down and not much happens. Things do pick up quickly in the latter half. I didn’t expect the outcome to turn out as it is. I was looking forward to more of a plot like the movie “The Descent” with more thrills and horror. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case.

 

The characters on the other hand, don’t have much to them. They’re pretty much flat and are just there to keep the story going. Although I admit I rather liked Ken throughout the book. He was brash and hotheaded. Everything was either a complaint or an insult which made him stand out from the others. Although Nolan was the ‘leader’ in this group there really wasn’t much to him. There was a small background story to Nolan to give him more substance but it really isn’t much.

 

There’s a lot of intrigue and some bits of thrilling scenes to enjoy, some mystery in the end but overall I can’t really say it’s something I would gush about. Perhaps because I was expecting this to be more of a horror than anything else. Which is too bad, it had potential to be better but it fell short. I’d say take it or leave it. There’s no regrets reading it but don’t expect it to be gripping and exciting. It’s...meh.

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
4 Stars
Makes for a great start
Unholy Ghosts - Stacia Kane

***Possible spoilers you’ve been warned***

 

I really enjoyed the world building in this book and wished there was a little more explanation about it. You do get snippets here and there on what happened with the world and why the Church came on top and in charge of the city. The setting is wonderful though. It’s dark, it’s gritty, it’s survival. It’s what you might see from a cyberpunk novel without the futuristic theme.

 

The plot itself is interesting thanks to the setting. It’s a nice blend of old and new. I say old because of the way the characters talk. It’s meant to be a form of street slang, but it also sounds a mixture of old english and modern. It’s interesting and fun to read (if you have a crush on Lex you’d like it). There is an element of mystery and I like the magic used. It’s a nice blend of using tattoos and actual spell components.

 

Chess is likable as a character. She’s hard working and is good at what she does, despite her faults and vices. The vices do play a big part on her behavior and takes a hold of her life. She still manages to soldier through her tasks and proves to be a fighter.

 

There is an aspect of a love triangle in the book although I’m not sure if it could be called that. I don’t see Terrible as a love interest at all, I see him more as a loyal friend and the muscle of the duo. Lex on the other hand - so swoon worthy if you’re into the bad boys. He’s self serving and most likely not a good thing for Chess but they both got this spark. Maybe it’s because of their backgrounds and they’re similar but they get along so well and Lex has this subtle charm about him (let’s not even compare him to Doyle)

 

This is a must read for urban fantasy fans. It’s got a bit of everything and Chess is such a great character to follow through the journey. Will definitely go onto the second book of the series.



Review
4 Stars
Same Bleak Atmosphere and excellent writing and storytelling
Silence of the Grave - Arnaldur IndriĆ°ason, Bernard Scudder

***Spoilers you have been warned***

 

I loved Jar City because of the dark bleak mood setting that’s described in Erlandur’s world. This one proves to be just the same. Coupled with a well written mystery that goes back into the past, this one lived up to the previous.

 

The book goes back and forth in time. It features on the past of a woman and her family and the horrendous abuse she endures. It leads up to the mystery surrounding the body found in the present. It’s good background storytelling and put in the missing pieces gradually as you progress in the book. Then as it goes forward to present day, you have Erlandur and his crew attempting to figure out the mystery but it also focuses on Erlandur’s past, and his attempt at patching things up with Eva Lind as she’s in a coma at the hospital.

 

Don’t expect twists and turns or any special revelations in this novel. It’s a subtle mystery but so well written that it’s a quick read and you’re so immersed into the book that the pages do fly by. It’s the writing style that makes it so good. The mood and setting is again, dark as usual. It’s more bleak than the previous one due to the subject matter and with what Erlandur experiences.

 

Admittedly, this isn’t for everyone. The physical, mental, emotional abuse featured in this book is hard to read. You sympathize with the mother and her children and Grimur is just one awful piece of garbage. Erlandur’s ghosts from the past is also revealed in this book and he’s got quite a lot of baggage on his shoulders (not including his ex wife and Eva Lind) but it gives his character more substance and he’s not just a presence in the novel. You also learn more about his colleagues (although I’d like to learn more about Elinborg) as they have their lives as well. I like this aspect of the novel as it shows what they do out of duty and gives them a more realistic human feel to the book.

 

Not much of a mystery but makes for really good reading, not only do the characters flesh out more but the writing is so well done. Recommended and I’ll be moving onto the next book after this one.

Review
4 Stars
Couldn't Put this one down!
Lies: The Gripping Psychological Thriller That Will Take Your Breath Away - T.M. Logan

This one was a complete page turner for me! I enjoyed every bit of it and the large twist at the end was superb.

 

It already starts off with you questioning with what’s going on in the very first few chapters. Things don’t start to add up but you try to find the gaps and holes to try and figure it out like Joe was trying to do. You’re rooting for him all throughout the novel and you feel for him because what he goes through is enough to make someone snap.

 

The plot is full of guesswork and twists here and there. You think Joe is close to finding out only to realize he’s close but he’s missing things that don’t quite fit the picture. It’s a fast moving plot with Joe snowballing into worse possible scenarios you could think of. Just when you think you had it figured out, and who it was behind everything, the twist at the end puts a different spin on things and you’re left wide eyed. It was very well done!

 

Joe is definitely someone you cheer for in the story, he’s likable albeit some of his choices are a bit on the foolish side (perhaps impulsive might be the more appropriate term here) but without his drive to find answers the book definitely wouldn’t have its’ readability. Sometimes when you have nothing to lose, you just go for it regardless of the consequences.

 

Definitely would recommend to thriller readers. It’s a very fast read with an intriguing plot. It will keep you guessing and just when you have the answer it’s not what you think. It’s a beautifully done surprise.

Review
3 Stars
Anti heroes and more...
The Grim Company - Luke Scull

***Spoilers ahead you’ve been warned***

 

It’s been a while since a good fantasy has come by my way and with anti heroes! It’s different and nice to see even though the world building and plot is typical fantasy but it’s written so well that it’s enjoyable and with some occasional funny parts you’re left with a memorable book and want to keep going in the series.

 

The world building is well done. Mages are dictators of their own cities and have the general populace under their thumb. Magic is pretty much only done by Magelords (not including the band of sorceresses that are mentioned). Dorminia is protected by Augmentors (elite units that have enhanced magical items) which is a fine idea. The mindhawks (birds that can read your mind to see if you’re thinking thoughts to overthrow the Magelord) is also a really neat concept that I liked.

 

The plot itself is intricate and it takes time to get fully immersed in it. Once you’re familiar with the world and setting it’s well worth the time invested and although it may be a bit hard to keep track of everyone at first, the action scenes are well written, the dialogue is real albeit vulgar at times (but it keeps it real), and the battle at the end is epic. Everything is somewhat interconnected and once the pieces all come together it makes for one great story.

 

The characters are a mixed bag and you have a variety to choose as a favorite. Cole seems to be the butt of many jokes despite his main role in the story. I found myself bursting out laughing at some moments that featured him - although I have to add, he’s not a very likable character. He’s naive, arrogant, and a bit of a dolt. But that’s what makes his role more interesting. Even I had to agree with Jerek when he said: “The boy’s a hero after all.”

 

My favorite would be Brodar and Jerek. Their background stories are interesting and they compliment each other. Brodar is the cool headed fighter who’s going on past his prime, whereas Jerek is the hot headed one that has a constant chip on his shoulder. They make a great duo and even while fighting together it makes for an exciting battle scene to read.

 

I sympathize with Barandas even though he was for the ‘bad guys’. He was loyal to a fault and was your model soldier. But he had a nice likable personality and although he was loyal to the Magelord you had to admire that in him. He’s good at his job and he was also trying to set things right. It made me sad on his demise. It was worth reading his one on one fight with Brodar.

 

There are so many questions to be answered! Lots of things were left hanging and I am looking forward to reading book two of this series. If you like a good fantasy with anti heroes with various flaws, some bits of dark humor,  hefty battle scenes and blood coming from all over this is definitely for you.

Review
3 Stars
Slow suspense building to a superb ending
The Perfect Mother - Aimee Molloy

Don’t be overwhelmed by the substantial amount of characters in this book. Some are just stand by, you’ll want to focus on: Francie, Colette, Nell, and Winnie. (Maybe Token on the side but he’s more a supportive role) it may seem haphazard and all over the place which is why it’s best to just focus on these four moms.

 

The chapters switch from different points of view and there’s that one lone chapter that’s presented in first person. It’s a mystery as to who that is until much later, but it certainly does keep you guessing on who that person could be. It may seem obvious at first and during the reading you feel so sure you know who that is and what’s behind the entire story but the blind side moment comes fast in the last few chapters and you’re left with a shock.

 

The plot slowly builds to a good mystery and suspense. The thrilling bits get you at the end. It’s a satisfying read, the characters grate on you (Francie and Nell are the ones I disliked the most), but it’s the suspense and the ‘keeping you guessing’ bits that get the reading going.

 

So although it may seem like it’s all over the place, give the book a chance and read. It’s well worth it with the superb ending.

Review
4 Stars
Keeps Getting Better
Empire of Ruins - Arthur Slade

***Possible spoilers you’ve been warned***

 

This series is so consistent and does not disappoint. So we covered the city, we covered the sea in the second book. Now it’s time to go into the deep jungles and go on an exciting adventure that involves natives, flying ships, an Egyptian temple placed in Australia (I know right?), which results in an Indiana Jones type of adventure but involves secret agents, spies, and horrible clockwork falcons that can kill.

 

You can’t get more exciting than this. It starts off at a good pace and it’s steady. I enjoyed how during the ‘down times’ there is focus on Modo and Octavia’s character development. Modo still has some childish characteristics in him but as the novel progresses he slowly gets over that and the change stands out. You really do feel for him as his appearance starts to affect him, especially with his relationship with Octavia. His encounter with the natives help him to be comfortable in his own skin and I think because of this he starts acting more headstrong and does the talk back to Mr Socrates (which was a great scene to read. Wowwweee Modo, you do that clap back because Mr Socrates sure can’t take it haha)

 

I felt for Modo when he reveals his true likeness to Octavia. I get where she’s coming from though. She had this mental picture of Modo and it was nothing like the real thing so of course she wouldn’t know how to react. It hurt to read though. I couldn’t even imagine how crush Modo would have felt considering how much he feels for Octavia.

 

The plot in itself was super good and filled with action during the last half of the novel. The bad guys run with their tail between their legs in this one (enjoyable to read no doubt) but they come back with a vengeance towards the end. I rather expected the temple to be a little more of a challenge to go through (more traps please) but then perhaps that would prolong the adventure just a little too much.

 

I’m wanting to know what’s going to happen between Modo and Mr Socrates considering they had a falling out in the novel. This is going to get good and I hope the fourth and final novel will close this on a good note. Greatly recommend this series so far, pick it up and enjoy! It’s a great adventure!

 

Review
3 Stars
I was expecting a more darker tone
Beastly Bones: A Jackaby Novel - William Ritter

So it may help to read the first one in order to grasp a bit of understanding of the character relationships and the overall plot (there’s a main one underneath the layers here)

 

***Possible spoilers here you’ve been warned***

 

I loved the first one, really liked the characters and Jackaby’s quirkiness. With this one though, it’s a different type of case, albeit still with a supernatural/fantastical element but it felt like you were reading an Indiana Jones type of adventure. Which is all right and it made things different and interesting but I was looking forward to something a little more darker and spookier.

 

However, the adventure aspect with the missing bones was still well written and enjoyable to read. It took more of a comedic tone and I enjoyed the fighting between Lamb and Horner over the bones while poor Charlie seems to be always stuck in the middle of each argument. Abigail really shined in this one with her passion of dinosaur bones, she was in her element and showed how much she loved doing the job despite the obstacles she had because of her father and society. She really stepped up and developed a lot in this book.

 

And yes! She breaks the tension with Charlie!!! Finally! It was all throughout the novel until she finally took matters into her own hands. I like them both together. They seem to complement each other well enough even though it seems she has a much more determined and strong minded temperament whereas Charlie is more mellow and laid back. Well maybe Abigail will slowly bring him out of his shell?

 

What I enjoyed the most about this plot is there’s an even deeper and darker story underneath and this was just a diversion. That pale man is creepy and I hope it gets explored more in the next book as it features Jenny’s story too. This was a fun read but I’ll be happier going onto much darker things in the story.

Review
4 Stars
Beware of Pammie
The Other Woman - Sandie Jones

Holy. Mother. (yup I said it)

 

The moment I get into the first third of the book I had to keep going. I had to finish this book and see what will happen next. It was one thing after another and you were just waiting for who was going to snap first.

 

There’s a lot of tension and the mood is high strung. It’s like as if you’re near someone sensitive and you’re walking on eggshells. It’s that tense. The plot is quick and fast as you watch Emily put up with Pammie and her behavior. You feel angry towards Adam who seems to be a spineless dolt and just bows to Pammie’s whims little do you know there’s a bomb ready to drop at the very end and you just weren’t ready when it happens. It’s extremely well written and the revelation at the end is also well done. When it is revealed, you start to realize everything falls into place. It’s certainly an eye opener.

 

Character wise, I found it hard to like any of them. Pammie, well she’s not your favorite mother in law now is she? Adam isn’t any better. Emily would be 50/50 as there were times when I was rooting for her when she finally stuck up for herself. Then the cheering would be short lived because she’s reverts back to her needy whiny persona and she let’s Pammie and Adam walk all over her. She snaps but then cowers back later. It’s frustrating. I can’t stand James because of his behavior and what he tried to do. Okay, granted it was meant as a warning, but it’s a really strange messed up way of doing so. Emily behaves like this lovesick mooncalf around him it gets annoying. If you really wanted to be with him, you can always dump Adam. Stop mooning over James like he’s Adonis when you don’t have the galls to drop Adam like a hat. (He deserves it too, by the way)

 

Despite the character though, the book is still an enjoyable read as the plot gets better and better with each chapter read. What you think is obvious, isn’t and there’s a reason why everything was done. Now granted, it’s a very messed up way of doing so. But it still makes for great reading.

 

Greatly recommended. Certainly going to be one of my favorite reads of 2018.

 

PS: Every woman needs friends like Seb and Pippa.