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CherylMM

CherylMM

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Gunmetal Magic
Ilona Andrews
I Am Pilgrim
Terry Hayes
Four Summoner's Tales
Christopher Golden, Jonathan Maberry, Kelley Armstrong, David Liss
Churchill Versus Hitler: War of Words
Peter John
Pinked
J.C. Mells
Fury's Kiss
Karen Chance
Untitled Downside Ghosts
Stacia Kane
Before Dark
Jonathan Lake
The Lies of Locke Lamora (The Gentleman Bastard, #1)
Scott Lynch
Mom of the Year
Denise Pischinger
A Clockwork Heart - Liesel Schwarz Apparently being the Oracle and Pythia does not make you exempt from marrying a chauvinistic and sexist whiny male, who thinks his wife should stay at home and obey him.I am not feeling the love for Hugh and can't say I am displeased by the outcome of this book.He knew she would be flying airships and attending to matters of the steampunk supernatural variety.Did he think she was going to do all that from home barefront and pregnant, whilst commanding the servants on his behalf.Not enough steam or punk is this steampunk fantasy. It had more of creepy villain feel to it rather than the expected mixture of futuristic technology vs era.Aside from the occasional blip of creepy it was very dull. The dialogue was flat and unrealistic. Some of the sub-plots were random and didn't connect well to the main story.I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.
Winds of Salem - Melissa  de la Cruz I thought this book was a hot mess. I actually went back and read it twice because I thought it must have been my imagination. It just seemed so completely disjointed at times.When I compare it to her Blue Bloods series it just seems like an entirely different person wrote it or perhaps Cruz lost her groove somewhere along the line.If you haven't been following this series then the storyline might appear confusing, despite Cruz trying to fit in explanations of who the characters are or were in past and present.There was a lack of character development, possibly due to multiple timelines and settings.It was a shame because the time-skipping element was quite interesting in combination with the immortal Gods.Being forced to live out various lifetimes in different characters and somehow always cursed to act out the same dramatic twisted relationships over and over again.Sounds great in theory, not so spectacular in this book.Overall I think it could have done with a little more attention to detail and flow.It isn't quite what I expected from this author.I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.
The Companions - Robert Anthony Salvatore If you have read a Salvatore before you will know the old and polished characters. The most prominent of those being Drizzt. He is mentioned a few times and the whole quest is about him, however he doesn't star in this story. The Companions of the Hall, the friends and family of Drizzt are the centerpiece, with the main focus being on Catte-brie, Regis and Breunor.They just happen to be a wee bit dead. Luckily for the them and the storyline they have been given a second chance at life. Unfortunately they have to start at the very beginning again. Breunor somehow manages to get lost on the way to dwarf Valhalla and also ends up reborn.I thought this was the interesting part of the concept.Giving someone the ability to do over but with all previous memories, emotions and characteristics in place. Thereby having the chance to perhaps change some element of your life or self that was previously a worry or burden.Regis takes the opportunity for reflection and uses his insight to become something more than he was before. Catte-brie finally confronts and admits the fact that the lack of connection to her birth parents in a previous life has been a silent torment.What can I say about Bruenor?Once a grumpy old dwarf always a grumpy old dwarf.The part that didn't gel well for me was the Pwent. The race or type of character he has now become seemed a bit like someone inserting a contemporary type in the midst of a Middle Earth type saga.The lives of the three enfold slowly with all of them facing various dangers and life challenges. The plot builds up to the meeting of the three at the end, which I thought was a bit flat after all that building.Overall it was a very intricate fantasy read and a series I shall be be keeping an eye on.I received a copy of this book via Netgalley.
The Boy Who Could See Demons - Carolyn Jess-Cooke Incredibly well thought out concept.In her own way the author has shone the light on an issue, which I personally believe doesn't get the attention it deserves.The mental health medical care situation in N.Ireland is lacking and antiquated, much like their views on abortion. The time of The Troubles, as they are called, have left a huge impact on their society. Globally everyone will be aware of the actual events, but how many of us realise that the trauma of those events have left their imprint on younger generations. The children and family members of those targetted by violence. The country has seen a high rise in mental health issues related to post traumatic reactions.I do not under any circumstance want to appear as if I have forgotten the flip side of the coin, ergo any non NI persons who were involved and whose families are just as traumatised by the violence. This book features in NI so I will stick to that.The main character is a young boy, who is either suffering from schizophrenia or just happens to be able to see demons. That question or rather the answer to it is handled like an excursion on a tightrope. The belief in the demon or devil draws you in only to be dispersed by common sense and medical knowledge. The psychiatrist treating him has personal demons of her own and saving the young boy has her crossing the boundaries both personally and professionally.That story on its own was intriguing and I found myself taking an interest in his well-being.Then the plot takes a gigantic swivel and literally implodes.I thoroughly enjoyed it.It was clever, sad, disturbing and emotional all at the same time.It also wasn't anything like I expected it to be.I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.
No Man's Nightingale: An Inspector Wexford Novel - Ruth Rendell At first I wasn't sure whether the social commentary was a conscious effort to make readers aware of such blatant racism, sneering upon the lower classes and an almost misogynistic attitude towards women.Unfortunately it just seems to be the subconsciously ingrained and antiquitated views of the author streaming through into the plot.The word racist was bandied around a lot and people of a certain class or race were identified via their colour rather than any other aspect of their character or life. Thinking and referring to certain things as racist, when perhaps most wouldn't associate it with the subject matter, often make the person referring to it seem to be racist.Case in point. Wexford sees a Congolese woman of low social status turn up at the funeral and is surprised to see her there. He immediately reproves himself for that rascist thought.Say what?Scenes like those made me wonder if Rendell was trying to appear more sensitive to issues that have arisen due to her writin. Her books are written as if society were in a continuous 1950's time loop.It is a sad turn of events when a high ranking policeman believes there can be no other logical conclusion other than the scenario that some person would decide to murder a vicar on a whim, from one day to the next, because she happens to be non-white.I was also disappointed by the fat and ugly women comments. Apparently only the pretty and thin are worthy of certain men and attention.Within all that often appalling social commentary were the remnants of a murder story with a main character who is treated by Burden like a troublesome child.I think it is time Wexford retired for good.I received a copy of this book via Netgalley.
The Last Kiss Goodbye - Karen Robards The serial killer aspect of the story was good and the connection of the main character to the paranormal gave it an interesting twist. Even the possibility of a hard to maintain relationship between Michael and Charlie was both viable and entertaining.However what really made the story less powerful than it could have been was the back and forth between the couple. Their interactions were right out of a romance novel, including flounces and heavy breathing.It really seemed as if the author was indecisive about whether this was a book about crime or about two adults wanting to get it on like Donkey Kong. Either would have been great but together it made the story seem imbalanced. Just a little bit too much emphasis on their personal physical tug of war.Aside from that Robards has managed to create a serial killer setting with an intriguing link to scientific research on the matter. Are we born with a genetic link that makes us more likely to kill, can such an urge (if it exists) be awakened or does it depend on circumstance and surroundings even if there is such a link? I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.
Crusader: The Sanctuary Series, Volume Four - Robert J. Crane I think this is the deepest journey into both Cyrus's past and soul that the author has taken so far. We get to see a glimpse of what and who made the man we know as Cyrus Davidon and it isn't pretty at all. In fact it is disheartening and might have left a slight scorch on my heart.Perhaps even enough of a mark to forgive him for the utter and total emotional mayhem he gets himself into in this book.Wait, I haven't finishing moaning yet.Apparently Cyrus woke up since the last book and discovered that he has a combination of Brad Pitt and George Clooney animalistic attraction going on, which must have been hiding in some nearby bushes, and the women are drawn to him like bees to honey.Cyrus being the honey of course.Go figure.It is that surprising that even his Sanctuary companions have a good chuckle about it at every given opportunity.Aside from that tiny issue this was a story of literally epic proportions and worth every minute of it. The Sanctuary faces its biggest threat during a time in which the companions are divided by land, sea and warfare. One group is confronted with the evil remnants of the ghost of their Xmas past and the other group begins to doubt that the Sanctuary is indestructible.Meanwhile Cyrus realises that each choice he has made comes with some kind of repercussion. One in the form of vengeance and the other in the shape of destruction.For readers who are new to the series I would suggest Defender: The Sanctuary Series, Volume One and for fans of the series this book will be an eye opener. It just keeps getting better, deeper and darker with each volume.Talking darker, the author takes us back to the Society of Arms where Cyrus spend his childhood years. Those revelations are worthy of their own book.Needless to say you can tell how much I enjoyed this read. Crane writes a wicked story, which some might say isn't so uncommon, but he also manages to create characters that you want to read about.By the way, Vara deserves better than the strumpet Cyrus has become.I received a copy of this book courtesy of the author.
Under A Spell - Hannah Jayne If this your first Underworld D. Agency book I would suggest reading a previous one(Under Wraps: Underworld Detection Agency Series, Book 1). This can be read as a standalone book but some of the relationships are written in a way that presumes previous knowledge. Case in point would be Vlad and Kale. Their squabbling and interaction is described here and there with a few fractions of info, which doesn't really give any clear indication of why, when or what who did what to whom. So the reader has to fill in the gaps. The same goes for the attraction triangle a la Will-Sophie-Alex. Once again the reader doesn't really know why Alex is acting all huffy or why he insists on making annoyingly vague statements and flouncing off at every opportunity. In fact his flounces take priority over finding a missing teenager.The story started out slow and was a little disjointed here and there, but it picked up and was quite enjoyable.I think the author was trying a little too hard to keep it in the YA ball-park because the tone and behaviour of the characters swung like a pendulum. They switched from teen-tone to witty adult quips to squee moments and back again to sensible adults.Although I have to admit there were quite a few one-liners in there that made me chuckle.Overall I think the author needs to develop the main character more and have her actually take a few steps forward instead of treading the same path over and over again. Let her grow into the strong adult individual she can be instead of being the often obtuse and impulsive teen she acts like.I received a copy of this book via Netgalley.
The Weight of Souls - Bryony Pearce I liked the concept. The combination of teenage angst, high school drama and the connection to an ancient family curse was quite interesting.It ticks all the YA boxes and has a side note of pending horror.The author also tackles the issue of bullying and being isolated in school. The emphasis was on one of these 'popular people' teen groups that forces kids to take part in dangerous stunts or face a life of hell in school. This type of peer pressure, in the guise of fun, seems to be an alarming trend in our day and age. It is a type of group hazing, which often ends with disastrous results.I have to say I was a tad disappointed that Pearce decided to end it with a pseudo Partridge family ending. Where is the mystery in that? Why not let them leave things on a sour note instead of packing nearly all the loose ends into one neat box. How about leaving some of the conflict for the sequel?Taylor's Dad needs to see a shrink, Hannah needs to grow a pair and Pete deserves a clip round the earhole.There, I fixed that for you.Despite that it was a good read and both the character and concept have a lot of potential, so I am hoping Taylor Oh comes back with a bit more bite and lot more darkness.I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley.
Hotshot - Julie Garwood Hmm I didn't think this book was up to par. Garwood usually delivers a tighter plot with decent character development and fairly good sense of humour.This lacked all of the above.I wonder if the fact that this book tries to bring the topic of sexual harassment in the workplace to the forefront, played a role in those factors or the lack thereof. Perhaps Garwood was trying to give it a more serious tone. That might have worked if some of the scenarios hadn't seemed implausible. Things like a someone managing to find the heroine on a highway in a snowstorm despite her leaving at least a few hours ahead of him or the glaringly obvious 'mysterious' vandal. I won't even go into the tripe Peyton swallows about not being allowed to file a complaint about the harassment.Overall it was the inkling of a serious topic packed into the folds of a fluffy marshmallow read.I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.
Canyon - Brenda Jackson This is the second in a trilogy that features three of the Westmoreland clan.I understand that this is one of many in a long series, but there are multiple scenes and pages just explaining who is related to whom and why. Not to mention the children of the aforementioned and the siblings of wives or husbands. Completely unnecessary. Fans of the series will know who everyone is and new readers aren't left with anything to discover about the previous books because everything is squished into this little story. Sometimes less is more.Whilst I can understand the cute name your character after a mountain, shrubbery, bush or body of water theme, I think naming Canyon's apparatus after a huge fissure in the Colorado Plateau is a bit much.It is a quick breezy romantic read, suitable for a quick bout of relaxation or if you need a dose of male superiority to sweep you off your little ol' feet.I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.
Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson - Jeff Guinn First of all I would like to say a few words about the last few paragraphs in this book.For me Guinn manages to pinpoint Manson exactly right in those last few sentences. I actually nodded in agreement as I read them.The fact that the author managed to get Manson's family members, sorry his genetic family, to talk to him gives this book some extra insight. It is filled with factual info that makes a lot of things less mystical, and let's be honest the media likes to paint Manson that way, and with a great deal more realism than is usually shown in regards to this true story.Manson is a sociopath.There is nothing special about him and he doesn't possess an awe-inspiring charisma. Manson obviously learnt to manipulate at an early age and use his adapted Dale Carnegie skills. He was/is a controlling, abusive, misogynistic criminal with a tendency towards violence. If he and his cult members hadn't been caught they would have gone on to murder many more.They didn't though and unfortunately the vile acts they committed has given Manson and his tribe the attention and notoriety that Manson craved. Even now, after many decades his name still commands and instills a sense of evil and foreboding in people of which he is not and never was deserving.His fellow comrades in murder seem to get a lot of leniency from many corners. Drugs, mass-thought, fear and control can only explain a part of their involvement.Fact is they are the ones who used the weapons. Nobody forced Susan Atkins to stab Sharon Tate, no person held Tex's hand while he stabbed, shot and caved the victim's head in. They are just as responsible as the person who sent them there. They went without concise orders so ultimately they decided to choose to commit murder and how to do it.I have no pity and am not swayed by arguments that place the sole blame on Manson.Guinn doesn't do that. He doesn't play up to the media hype or make excuses for the poor brainwashed vulnerable females/males. He sees Manson for the role-playing manipulator he is. Even after all these years Manson still sits in prison and thrives on the attention of murder junkies, Manson fans and the media.Despite the fact that the flow of information could have been a little smoother this was a good book. It contains a lot of insight from sources close to Manson and people who were part of his life on a daily basis.I especially liked the fact that the author gives the reader all the info about Manson's rocky childhood, adolescence and early adulthood in juvenile detention or prison. that way the reader can absorb that information and decide whether it is enough of a factor to feel sympathy or understanding for Manson. The author allows us to have that opening, a door of sorts, and then right at the end he opens another door.The door marked 'Manson would have done this anyway, it just would have been another time and different victims' and I for one will gladly walk through that door.I received a free copy of this book via Edelweiss.
Samantha Moon Rising - J.R. Rain Vampire Dawn bk 5Moon's life as a vampire takes quite an unexpected turn in this fifth book. She is no longer limited by all the aspects of her condition. Moon starts to understand that she is part of a bigger picture. One that will eventually threaten to literally consume her.Vampire Games bk 6When did Fang go from being a mysterious presumably hot confidante to strange obsessive stalker? He no longer gives the reader the sense he is playing on Sam's side of the team anymore.Rain has taken this character and given him a totally different direction. Safe haven becomes possible threat when Fang decides to fulfill his hidden desire at any cost. Even if that cost includes Moon.Moon Island bk 7This one reminded me of the film The Fallen. The entities we encounter in Vampire Games come out to play in this one. Moon finally discovers what they want and how they intend to get it. Unfortunately for her it could mean the difference between live and death for herself or someone she loves.The character Allison was a tad annoying. I found her over the top teenagey instead of funny and perky, which is what I assume Rain was going for.Teeth (short story)This was really good and also incredibly disturbing. It is the story of Fang before he meets Samantha Moon. I think Fang would do quite well on his own as a character in a book. A little serial killer creepy persona meets friendly guy next door.Rain can write an excellent story a prime example is his Knighthorse: Books One and Two series, which is dark and witty. Sometimes Rain is guilty of not giving all of his books/stories the attention they deserve. The Moon series started out strong then sagged in the middle and now the last few books have picked up alittle.On a side note I would still like to see the ex-husband get what is coming to him after being such a (insert word of choice here) in the first books. He needs to suffer a lot more.Both Kingsley and Fang seem to be otherwise engaged so perhaps it is time for a new love interest for Moon. Just thought I would put that out there.I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley.
Everett Smiles - Neil John Buchanan I have to openly admit to the fact I was having a spot of lunch whilst listening to this audiobook. Let's just say I decided to postpone my sandwich.The scene where the main character debates the possibility of snacking on the floater. Ick, that vivid imagery will stick with me for quite a while. It is a mixture of post-apocalyptic horror and the decline of the human mind due to the trauma of being completely alone amidst the remains and horrors of the apocalyptic world. It is a continuous conversation between the survivor, her hallucinations, her make-shift friends and of course the cause of the total destruction.It is interesting how the main character starts to delve into her guilt and regrets in regards to her son. That seems to be the drive keeping her alive. That ironclad will to find him and set things right.The narration and sound effects were good. I would like to read the story though, to set my own pace and create my own minds image of what the characters should look like.I received a copy of this audiobook courtesy of the author.
Dancing with the Devil  - Keri Arthur This is a perfect example of how an author should and can evolve as a scribe.This one of Keri Arthur's early works. It doesn't do justice to her talent and excellent way of spinning a paranormal tale. Her Riley Jenson Guardian series is superb for example.In this one the author is just cutting her teeth.A lot of the scenes are a little predictable and tedious. There is no real connection to the characters, perhaps because they lack the depth to create empathy. The main character has the annoying habit of running into situations, despite being warned and constantly plays the helpless female. So if you like your heroines strong and independent this one might be a tad disappointing. I can only repeat that her later books are quite exceptional, so I would recommend not giving up entirely on this author if this book isn't quite up your alley.I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.

Home to Whiskey Creek

Home to Whiskey Creek - Brenda Novak When you choose hard-hitting themes like rape, gang rape, homosexuality and the reactions of society to those topics, then perhaps you should ask yourself if you chose them to take a stance on the issue or just to make your story fluffier.It is a very thin line between keeping the happy-end-hunting reader satisfied and keeping the storyline with those topics realistic enough that they don't become a fictional travesty.Of course it is nye on impossible to not let those topics be tainted by personal opinion when writing about them.Noah's reactions to Baxter were quite frankly often very homophobic and his taking that penultimate choice out of Baxter's hands wasn't selfless. The way Noah dealt with Baxter and his family was selfish, it was not his decision to make.As for the gang rape I think it is fairly realistic to think that in a small town (and in society in general) most people will tend to blame the victim rather than the perpetrator.Unfortunately this is still a major fallacy in our society.In regards to that, the ending didn't really gel well for me. I don't really want to reveal any details. Needless to say life is not a snow globe with snow that settles smoothly on the ground without leaving a trace of any prior disturbance.It just isn't.I can see why readers enjoy Novak but I think the author has tried to write a controversial story within the framework of her usual style and for me it didn't work well at all.I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.