Posts Tagged ‘paranormal’

This is the second book in the Sarah Milton Chronicles. For my review of the first book go to: https://samaustinwriter.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/book-review-wednesday-reading-the-dead-5-stars/

What I like most about these books is that they’re funny. Not just ‘small smile’ funny, there were definitely a few ‘laugh out loud’ funny moments to be had. Most of the humor comes from Anna who does what every ghost should do when they’re stuck on the sidelines watch people’s lives. Make sarcastic comments and pull the occasional prank.

To be fair, she does try to help out her best friend and detective Sarah Milton as well. With each book there’s a big mystery that Sarah and her team have to solve that ends up veering into the supernatural. And since Sarah and her ghost friend are the only ones who believe in the supernatural, they end up doing most of the heavy lifting.

There’s a real buffy humor vibe to these books, so if you liked that show then you should end up enjoying these books. The characters are awesome. Some do seem a bit stereotypical, but if they’re stereotypes, then they’re nice ones.

Here’s the blurb:

The second volume of the Reading The Dead – The Sarah Milton Chronicles series.

A frantic phone call from the wife of her former partner plunges LAPD police detective Sarah Milton and her teenage poltergeist sidekick, Anna Nigma, into a deadly mystery involving one of their most dangerous foes, the convicted “Fancy Dress Killer,” Harry Sands. The Violent Crimes Unit is in the hotseat to find the copycat serial killer responsible for a recent string of murders plaguing the city, leaving Sarah scrambling to understand the bizarre, otherworldly aspects to this latest murder spree.

Enemies from her past conspire with a new, even deadlier foe, in a thrilling adventure that threatens not only her life, but also the fate of those she holds dear, culminating in a supernatural showdown against an evil entity that ultimately tests the limits of her faith and courage.

I didn’t enjoy the plot as much as the first book. In the first book we saw a bit from Sarah’s childhood, then the rest was set in the present. This book hops back and forth between two timelines. One shows the fancy dress killer when he first went on his rampage (something that happened before the first book), and the other is set after the first book when similar killings start showing up.

Now don’t get me wrong, the plot was still enjoyable. We get more questions answered than the first book which is awesome. We find out more about our characters. I won’t give too much away, but by the end of the second book there’s a definite feeling that we’re heading toward some answers about the major questions like how come Anna is so powerful, and what’s the link between her and Sarah.

And action. Lots of action. So it was good, I just felt the moving back and forth took away from some of the tension. That’s what made this four stars rather than five stars for me.

If you liked the first book (and if you haven’t read that one, go read it because it’s a really fun read), then you should like this one. I’m definitely still hooked enough to be looking forward to the next book. And in case you want more opinions on this book to make up your mind, follow the link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20693205-reading-the-dead

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I didn’t like this book as much as the first in the series: https://samaustinwriter.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/book-review-wednesday-dresden-files-storm-front-5-stars/ but it still kept me entertained.

Our favorite wizard detective consultant meets werewolves in this book. I really like the thought put into the werewolves. There are several different types, a nod to varying lore of werewolf like creatures around the world. Of course the original lore can be flimsy and variable, so the author Jim Butcher has thought carefully about how to fit together the pieces into his own lore. It works well.

The wolves range from scary to downright terrifying (you’ll know that one when you come across it). We meet a few different types of wolves in this book. Every one of them seemed to be there for a reason, so it didn’t feel too crowded, and the interactions and comparisons between the types was interesting.

As usual the plot revolved around solving a mystery. People are getting killed around town, and Dresden and kickass detective Murphy are the only ones who seem to have any kind of clue who or what is doing the killings. Only problem is Murphy is in hot water with internal affairs due to the events of the last book, so she, and thus Dresden aren’t supposed to get involved.

Overall I loved the book. The plot felt a little off rhythm at times, but I think overall it worked out. Reading it, I was worried as there were some very cool high action scenes that built for a while and were just wonderful. I worried the finale might pale in comparison, but the ending was satisfying.

The characters were great. Murphy is definitely one of my favs. Their relationship goes through some development in this book, leading on from events in the last book. I like that the author isn’t afraid to play with his characters, to explore and change them.

The only thing that stopped this from being five stars for me is that Dresden’s magic seemed overly convenient. Now, I don’t mind him being powerful if it sticks to the limitations the author made clear in the first book. Most importantly, if he uses his power, he can tap himself out and need to recharge.

Most of the time the author seemed to follow that rule. Dresden did get weaker after using his power a lot, but there was at least one scene where he was struggling and going ‘I’m tapped out,’ and then boom, he was Mr impressive and powerful again. Maybe I missed an explanation, but that part knocked me out of the story with a raised eyebrow.

Summary: Good book. If you liked the first one then check it out. If you haven’t read the first one, then read it! That one was a definite five stars.

If you want to read more reviews on his book, follow the link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/91477.Fool_Moon

 

Here’s the blurb:

While investigating the brutal murders committed by a mysterious serial killer known only as “Raithe,” bookish LAPD Detective Sarah Milton is unprepared to have her entire world turned upside down. Innate powers to see the dead, lying dormant since her mother’s murder, have reawakened in her after a near-fatal shooting. Along for the ride is Sarah’s irrepressible thirteen-year-old childhood “imaginary friend,” Anna Nigma, a most atypical poltergeist. Amid fears for her sanity, Sarah must come to grips with the realization that her reality is now a mix of the natural and supernatural, where powerful, ancient mystic symbols can grant amazing powers over life and death, and paranormal influence extends even into her current murder investigation. Forced to hide her abilities from everyone, Sarah, aided by her spectral friend, has no choice but to bring Raithe to justice on her own, before the sinister forces behind his murder spree claim yet another victim.

Wow is what I thought. I was given a copy to read and review, so since I didn’t go out and get this from a best seller list I was open to the possibility that I might not like this book.

Wrong. I loved it. About the only complaint I had was a minor thing about possibly too much telling rather than showing at the start, and the motivation for the murders seeming obvious to me, but I think those are my quirks. I’m the sort that can tell a twist is coming a mile away, and that in no way stopped me from enjoying it. I’m also an author in the middle of taking an editing class, so I see holes in everything.

Saying that, this book had very few holes. I loved the relationship between Sarah and Anna, and was on the edge of my seat when I knew Anna was about to make her appearance. It was a nice mystery story-line, decent amount of twists, nice action, good thread of romance that didn’t take away from the main plot, and most of all great humor. I definitely saw the influence of Joss Wheldon in play, but again the humor was played right, not taking away from tension when it needed to be tense.

The descriptions were very vivid. I found myself halfway through thinking this would make a great movie because I could see it so clearly in my head. Not sure if that will happen since movies out lately seem to pick the most angst ridden books, but we can hope. Maybe a tv series. It has that sort of vibe.

Anyway. The major problem I had with this book I noticed a third of the way through (but I’m sure I just didn’t notice it earlier), I couldn’t put it down. I had work to do. I had sleep to do, but no, I wanted to see what happened next. What funny thing would Anna do next? Would Sarah’s coworkers find out? What trouble is Sarah going to land herself into next time?

Then it was over, gone, but unlike other books I wasn’t overwhelmed with sadness because the author was nice enough to give a satisfying conclusion. That said, I do want to read the next one and I will be looking out for what the author writes next.

Seriously, check this one out. It’s by an indie author and only has 36 ratings on goodreads. That’s a tragedy for such an great thriller / humor novel. More people need to read this book and spread the word! It’s just so funny and awesome, and everything I could wish a book to be.

Here’s the link to other reviews on this book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17450007-reading-the-dead

If I were to describe this book in one word, I’d say ‘funny.’ The humor is dark in places, but it’s also got geek references and song lyrics. And it made me laugh. That’s important.

Now, the summary:

Sam leads a pretty normal life. He may not have the most exciting job in the world, but he’s doing all right—until a fast food prank brings him to the attention of Douglas, a creepy guy with an intense violent streak.

Turns out Douglas is a necromancer who raises the dead for cash and sees potential in Sam. Then Sam discovers he’s a necromancer too, but with strangely latent powers. And his worst nightmare wants to join forces . . . or else. 

With only a week to figure things out, Sam needs all the help he can get. Luckily he lives in Seattle, which has nearly as many paranormal types as it does coffee places. But even with newfound friends, will Sam be able to save his skin?

Sam was a great character. For one thing he’s got an awesome name.  He’s a good guy who loves his family and friends. We like a good guy. He’s also flawed, being the kind of guy who hates confrontation, is no good at sports, and has a tendency to put his foot in his mouth. Subtlety, he admits is not his strong suit.

He also has some great inner dialogue. Here’s a couple examples that made me laugh:

“There were no windows in my bedroom, so I had to sit up and read my clock to figure out how angry I should be at my visitor. Eight A.M. I hated whoever woke me up. Had they come an hour earlier, I would have also hated their families and any household pets.”

“She whistled when she noticed my back. I assume because of my injuries. I mean, my ass just isn’t that spectacular.”

“Next time a talking head ended up in my easy chair, I would have all sorts of points of reference, but at that moment, I was completely at sea.”

The humor reminded me a little of Buffy the vampire slayer at times. Lots of geek humor. I like geek humor.

As for why I didn’t give it five stars, there were flaws. The plot was a little slow and clunky at times. There were also some plot holes. Sam finds something about his past, but decides not to ask his mother about it until a good way through the book. This didn’t make sense to me. Sure he didn’t want to bother her, but it was life or death kind of stuff. It felt forced.

Next, there was a bit of insta-love. I hate insta-love. But it only took up a very small part of the book, so wasn’t that bad. It didn’t stop me from enjoying the story, just annoyed me. If you really hate insta-love don’t worry too much about it. It’s only on a couple of pages.

Overall though, I loved it. One of my favorite reads this year. I’d say if you’re a fan of geek humor then definitely give it a spin. Happy reading.

And as always here’s the link to more reviews if you’re still pondering: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8041873-hold-me-closer-necromancer

Here’s one that surprised me. I really didn’t like Clare’s earlier book ‘City of Bones,’ but I decided to try out this book anyway. Clockwork angel is set in the same universe, but at a different time to the ‘mortal instruments’ series. I started reading the book with apprehension, sure I wouldn’t like it. Now, it has its flaws, but in my opinion Clockwork Angel is a much better book than City of Bones. The author has improved so much.

City of Bones had a lot of technical problems that, as an author made me cringe. I really liked the idea, so wanted to love it, but it was a three star book for me at best. Clockwork Angel is a much smoother read. While the characters are very similar to the types of characters used before, they seemed deeper, more real. The technical writing difficulties (such as a boatload of convoluted similes) are less, and the storyline is more structured. Reading City of Bones was an odd experience as the storyline seemed to hop around for little reason. Clockwork Angel was more tied together. I didn’t get the idea that she’d chucked a scene in for the heck of it, instead every scene seemed to have some purpose to the overall story.

I think she did a good job of capturing Victorian London. Some might argue that they were strangely modern thinking in terms of women, but I think she managed that quite well by making her main character surprised that the Shadowhunters involved women so much. And even then, the Shadowhunters weren’t at our standards of treating women as equals.

There were things that I didn’t like about it. The writing itself still felt a little off, some of the things the characters said felt stilted, and it still had a little of the ‘everyone has a tragic back story’ vibe that drowned City of Bones. But all in all I enjoyed this one. It had a couple big twists that were pretty good, and it was an easy read.

As always, if you still aren’t sure whether to read it, check out more reviews here:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7171637-clockwork-angel