Friday, 31 July 2015

Book Review: Night Broken by Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson #8)


An unexpected phone call heralds a new challenge for Mercy. Her mate Adam's ex-wife is in trouble, on the run from her new boyfriend. Adam won't turn away a person in need, but with Christy holed up in Adam's house, Mercy can't shake the feeling that something isn't right.

Soon, Mercy learns that Christy has the farthest thing from good intentions. She wants Adam back and will anything to get him, including turning Adam's pack against Mercy.

On top of this, there's an even more dangerous threat circling. Christy's ex is more than a bad man - in fact, he may not be human at all. As the bodies pile up, Mercy must put her personal troubles aside to face a creature with the power to tear her world apart.


My Review:
Mercy has to grit her teeth when Adam's ex wife Christy begs him for help in dealing with a psycho stalker, watching Christy move in to the house and start taking over. To make matters worse, most of the Pack take Christy's side against Mercy, and the stalker turns out to be a dangerous supernatural creature instead of a jealous ex.

OK, firstly Christy. She needs to be bitch slapped NOW. I hate the bloody bitch! Yes I know we are supposed to hate her but she made my blood boil. Taking over the kitchen, calling Adam by pet names, remembering the good times they had together, manipulating the pack to turn against Mercy and her determination to get Adam back. She really is a piece of work and the information about her stalker that she keeps to herself puts everyone in danger. What the heck did Adam see in this brainless, vain, self obsessed bimbo from hell???

Adam was a weak assed so called leader in this book and he was getting on my nerves. He just let Christy do what she wanted without bothering to lay down any house rules about her behaviour. Even worse, he just sat there and let the Pack disrespect Mercy. What is it with the Pack? What exactly does Mercy have to do to prove herself worthy of them? She spends most of her time looking after them and trying to save them when they get into trouble yet they take the side of the woman who abandoned her husband, daughter AND the Pack??? Ungrateful bunch of sods. Next time I hope she leaves their asses hanging in the breeze!

The action in this book was very good. Christy's ex turns out to be Teide from Tenerife the Volcano God, and he wants his woman back from Adam, who he thinks stole her. There are several great scenes ie the garage fight, which was inventive and exciting. Poor Mercy is put through the wringer physically and emotionally in this book and I enjoyed her suffering in a twisted reader kind of way! I also found myself liking Honey more and more as a character, and the introduction of Gary was fun as well. Coyote annoys me something bad but he does have his uses I guess!

Favourite part of the book? Christy goes Smurf! *snigger* This was just brilliant and I loved seeing her get a bit of her own medicine. So this overall was an enjoyable book and now comes the agony of waiting for the next one... 
star rating photo: Four Star Rating 4stars.png

Book Review: Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson #7)


Mercy Thompson's life has undergone a seismic change. Becoming the mate of Adam Hauptman - the charismatic Alpha of the local werewolf pack - has made her a stepmother to his daughter Jesse, a relationship that brings moments of blissful normalcy to Mercy's life. But on the edges of humanity, a minor mishap on an ordinary day can turn into so much more. After an accident in bumper-to-bumper traffic, Mercy and Jesse can't reach Adam - or anyone else in the pack for that matter. They've all been abducted. Through their mating bond, all Mercy knows is that Adam is angry and in pain. Outclassed and on her own, Mercy may be forced to seek assistance from the most unlikely of allies: the vampire seethe.

My Review:
The series is back to top form with a bang in this book which I think is my favourite book so far. All of our favourites are back and in mortal danger, there is a ton of action and drama, and I loved it!

Mercy has been dragged out for Black Friday shopping, and becomes worried when she can't reach any Pack member to collect them. Using her bond to Adam, she can feel his pain and anger. Ben is the only Pack member to escape the house when the rest of the Pack were taken by rogue government officials who want Adam to kill an anti-werewolf senator. Now it is up to Mercy, Ben, Stefan and Gabriel to keep Jesse safe and rescue the Pack.

The story moves on at pace with every chapter full of exciting action. Mercy's first task is to rescue Warren and Kyle from their house, so that they have a better chance of finding the rest of the Pack. Mercy can feel the anguish of the Pack as the hostage crisis goes badly wrong, and as well as rogue agents, she has to deal with powerful Fey coming after her. It is shaping up to be a very bad few days for our heroes!

There was a lot to like in this book. Mercy tries to reunite Gabriel with his mother. Warren, Kyle and Stefan get starring roles in the drama, which is great because I love their characters. Mercy gets the chance to show the Pack what she is made of and is determined to save them at all costs. The story is split into two threads-in one we follow Mercy as she tries to find Kyle and Warren, and get Jesse and Gabriel to safety. In the second we follow Adam and the Pack as they try to find a way to escape from their captors. It gave the plot an extra dimension and added to the tension.

I'm not a fan of romance in my urban fantasy books but from the minute I started this series, I was rooting for Adam and Mercy to start dating. That says a lot for the writing skill of the author. Even though they are apart in this book, you can feel their bond, sharing their fear for the other. There are quite a few emotional scenes in this book which develop the characters even more. I'm finding myself getting more attached to the Pack members with each book!

This was a wonderful book and I can't praise it highly enough. It has everything that I enjoy in urban fantasy and I'm looking forward to more great adventures to come!
 
star rating photo: 5 Star Rating 5stars.jpg

Book Review: River Marked by Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson #6)


Mercy Thompson is a shapeshifter, a talent she inherited from her long-gone father. And she's never known any others of her kind. Until now. As Mercy comes to terms with this new information, an evil is stirring in the depths of the Columbia River. Something deadly is coming, facts are thin on the ground and Mercy feels ill at ease.

My Review:
This book ventures away from the normal formula of the books in the series and I found it a little disappointing.

Mercy and Adam have been married and are off on a quiet honeymoon out in the wilds, away from Pack problems and stress. At least that was the plan until they get involved in a fight against psycho otter shifters and a sea monster that is killing anyone who ventures into the water. The idea of this plot is fine but I found the execution of it lacking in places.

Surely Adam knew better than to accept help from Uncle Mike when planning his honeymoon? Uncle Mike never does favours for people without an ulterior motive, so it's no surprise that he puts Mercy and Adam into the middle of an evil shifter investigation! It didn't feel the same not having the Pack, Stefan and the others around for the whole story. While Adam and Mercy are strong enough characters to carry a book, the plot they were in was too weak for it to work. The new shifter characters that they are working with are not very interesting compared to those we know and love back home, and I struggled to show much interest in them.

The story delves into a lot of Native American legends in the area, and deals with Mercy's own heritage. While I found it interesting, I felt there were was too much of it, which slowed down the pacing of the book more than I would like. There seems to be a lot of talk and not a great deal of action for most of the book.

When we got to the big fight scene with the sea monster, I was a bit disappointed in it. The odds were stacked so heavily against Mercy and her friends that you never really believed that they could win, so when it is all over, I was left less than satisfied with it. It was ok but it wasn't the great action scene that we have come to expect in the series.

So what was good about the book? I liked the start, where the wedding is stressing Mercy out and their friends have big plans for their send off. I liked seeing Adam away from the Pack, where you could see him as a man and not just Pack Leader. It was nice to see how happy he and Mercy are in their relationship. Some of the Native American stuff was interesting and it does fill in the blanks about Mercy's heritage.

The book does suffer from a lack of action and a lack of humour and emotion that we usually get from Mercy's friends and Adam's Pack. It is certainly the weakest book in the series.


star rating photo: Three Star Rating 3stars.png

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Book Review: H.I.V.E by Mark Walden (H.I.V.E #1)


H.I.V.E. (Higher Institute of Villainous Education) is a top-secret school of applied villainy where children with a precocious gift for wrongdoing are sent to develop their talents into criminal mastermind. After all, 'villains have the best lines and wear the best costumes'. One small catch is that the children cannot leave until training is complete, six years later. With villainy comes a certain freedom of thought, and every year one student in particular will show exceptional talent - after all, it takes the best to produce the worst. This year there are two students: Otto Malpense and his new friend Wing Fanchu are both exceptionally bad, and they are definitely not keen on being held against their will for six long years . . .

My Review:
Otto is less than happy to be removed from his life, and taken to enrol in a school for evil genius children. With his friends Wing, Laura and Shelby, they decide that escape is the only option but the staff are determined that nobody leaves the island. Can Otto and his friends outwit the school and get away?

I really enjoyed this book. Otto was selected for the school after he was able to force the Prime Mininster to insult the people of Britain in a speech and moon at startled journalists! He is smarter than Artemis Fowl but similar in his plotting, though Otto has no plans to be evil. His friend Wing is a martial arts expert, Laura is skilled with computers and Shelby was an international jewel thief, along with Nigel, son of a famous recently murdered villain who likes dangerous plants and Franz, the fat boy with a food obsession. Franz is very funny and his difficulties with English slang are amusing-I just wish we had seen a bit more of him! As Nigel searches for a way to cope with his dad's fame, Franz searches for vending machines...

The school itself is fascinating as they learn stealth, evasion, code breaking, grappling and everything a bad guy needs to know. Their teachers include Ms Leon, stuck in the body of a cat, the absentminded Professor Pike, the mind controlling Contessa, the lethal assassin Raven as well as headmaster Dr Nero. Although everyone is 'bad' you just can't help liking all the characters-pupils and staff. One of my favourites is H.I.V.E Mind, the AI who runs the school complex-he's just so nice and everyone keeps threatening to destroy the poor guy!

The whole idea of the escape is very clever and I like the way Otto plans and excutes everything. The action scenes in the book are excellent, especially the battle of Frankenflower! That was really good.

This is not a book for young kids-it's action packed YA with lots of exciting fights and incidents, well developed and entertaining characters, and a mixture of drama and humour that will also appeal to adult readers. I'm looking forward to reading the next books in the series to see what Otto and his friends get up to!
star rating photo: Four Star Rating 4stars.png

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award


I was nominated for this award by the lovely Amy at http://www.anovelstart.com/  and thought it might be fun to take part in this kind of thing for once!

Here are the rules:
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site.
  • Put the award logo on your blog.
  • Answer the ten questions sent to you.
  • Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer.
  • Nominate ten blogs.
So here are the ten questions that Amy asked me:

1. What’s your favourite book and why?
My all time favourite book is 'IT' by Stephen King. The killer clown can change into werewolf, mummy, leper, giant bird, anything that the kids are afraid of. It kills kids in a town where everyone looks the other way and the surviving kids decide to kill IT. Years later as adults, they are forced to re-live their childhood fears and tackle the monster again. I loved the switch between past and present, Pennywise the Clown was pure evil and the subplot with psycho bully Henry Bowers was great! Best book ever!
 
2. Who’s your favourite author?
This is a difficult one as I love so many books and authors. However it is difficult to look past JK Rowling as she created my favourite book series ever! I'm so addicted to Harry Potter!

3. When and why did you start book blogging?
I started this blog on July 15th 2013 when I got interested in reading, reviewing and promoting Indie authors and needed somewhere to do it! I still read a mixture of Indie and mainstream books though I've had to take a break from the piles of review books I used to read to tackle my own tbr pile!
 
4. If you could see any book turned into a movie or TV series, which book/series would it be?
Oh without doubt it would have to be ZA Recht's Morningstar Strain trilogy, the best zombie series ever! These books were exciting, great characters, tension filled scenes, zombie attacks...what more could a reader want? There was so much I loved about the books that I really want to see it as a TV series! For a good film, I'd love to see VM Zito's 'The Return Man', another brilliant zombie book!

5. Name one book that makes you really nostalgic and why.
I think it would be Lord of the Rings. When I was a kid, my dad used to read me these books as bedtime stories. When others were getting books about puppies, I was enthralled by orcs and elves! The irony of that is that I don't read fantasy novels now! When I think back to this, I'm reminded of happy childhood days...  
 
6. Name three books everyone simply must read.
I don't really believe in telling other people what to read as reading is such a personal choice. Instead I'll go with three Indie series that I highly recommend. 
- David Estes: Dwellers series
-RL Naquin: Monster Haven series
-Kendra C Highley: Matt Archer Monster Hunter
 
7. Name three books/series you really wish you could be a part of.
-JK Rowling's Harry Potter. Hogwarts. I'm still waiting for my darn letter!
-Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park! I'm a dinosaur fanatic and the thought of actually getting to go to a theme park to see them for real blows my mind! How amazing did Jurassic World look? Before the dinosaurs started eating people of course...

8. Name three book BFFs.
-Maurice the Closet Monster from RL Naquin's Monster Haven books! He cooks, he cleans, he arranges home security, he advises on your love life and will defend you with his life! He is my ideal guy!
-Hermione Granger from Harry Potter. She's smart, brave and a talented witch.

9. What do you love the most about reading? 
When you're having a bad day you can just lose yourself in an exciting book world and have adventures with other people! Reading isn't just entertainment it's an escape from the dull reality of your own life!  

10. What’s your top bookish pet peeve?
I have too many to choose one! I hate love triangles, instaluv, romances in zombie novels, whiny or ditzy female MCs, bullying rapists as romantic heroes, and cliche plots ie are there really so many nasty bullies in American schools??? 

My Questions for you!
1-What are your favourite book genres?
2-Which genres do you rarely or never read and why?
3-What are your favourite books/series?
4-Which hyped books were you most disappointed by?
5-Which books were better than you imagined they could be?
6-What do you hate to see in book plots?
7-Which lesser known books/series would you recommend?
8-Do you prefer to read the book before you see the film?
9-Do you ever read more than one book at a time?
10-Which posts interest you most on other people's blogs? 

OK now the tough bit, nominating blogs! I don't follow many and most people I know already took part in this one which made it kinda tough! OK I've done my best and hopefully a few of you might be interested in taking part!

Geek Girl on the Page http://geekgirlotp.blogspot.co.uk/
Katie's Corner http://crasyabout.blogspot.co.uk/  
Diane's Book Blog http://dianes-book.blogspot.co.uk/
A Flurry of Ponderings http://www.aflurryofponderings.com/  
Always lost in stories http://alwayslostinstories.blogspot.co.uk/ 
Backchatting Books http://www.backchattingbooks.com/
Bloggin' bout Books http://www.blogginboutbooks.com/  
Bookfever http://bookfever11.blogspot.co.uk/
Hit or Miss Books https://hitormissbooks.wordpress.com/about/
Good Friends, Good Books and a Sleepy Conscience http://www.lilmissvixreads.blogspot.co.uk/

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Chuckles Corrie Mania #6


Welcome to Chuckles Corrie Mania! I watched Coronation Street all through the late 70's, 80's and early 90's but lost touch with it by 1999 due to work. So discovering that kind Corrie viewers have uploaded a ton of classic episodes on YouTube was great! I've spent two years gathering as many as I can, ready to get watching, and as I work my way through them, I'll be reviewing what I watch and sharing my thoughts. Would love to hear the thoughts on these episodes from other fans.

Thank you to Auntie Corrie(1976-1994), Mr Magister(1961,1995-2000), Classicsoap(2001+), CLKfanvideos(2006,2010,2011), corriestuff(various), OZZY45100(1960's, 1970's), FullEps(2009), XCorrieClassicsX(2006-2009), albiondean(2012-present), Sevin Alsoylar(2006,2011), Soap Fan 2013(various), JonathanOpenshaw(various) and everyone else who has supplied episodes online.

The next three episodes appeared on the Network 1960's DVD box set for 1961 and the fourth is from a Coronation Street 1961 VHS tape.

March 13th 1961
Jack is never about making a speech at daughter Joan's wedding while Annie gloats about her daughter's husband and prospects. The women turn out on the street to get a glimpse of the bride leaving, giving Ena and Elsie the chance for another fight. The local football team are interested in signing up David (right). The Walkers are tired of putting up with Gordon's obnoxious uncle all day and then discover he is not actually a relation.

Annie is at her smugest in this episode and it is no surprise that none of the neighbours get a wedding invite!

April 17th 1961
Ena hopes that her damaged ankle might save her from eviction but she is finally forced to move in with Martha while Minnie (left) confesses to Annie that she refused to take Ena. Martha soon gets tired of Ena bossing her around. Jack deals with a customer that is harrassing Concepta. Ken has begun a relationship with an older woman, Marian, the university librarian. A reluctant Emily has to take on Ena's duties and Christine tells Esther that she doesn't want to get engaged to Joe but can't bring herself to tell him. Albert tries to get Ena her job back.

You have to feel sorry for Martha and Minnie, putting up with the bossy bullying from Ena! 

September 11th 1961
Nancy receives word that the council have found an OAP bungalow for her. Frank is concerned when Ida is late home and send Ken to Beattie's house to see if she is there. Dennis gets an interview with an agent who wants to hire him as a talent scout.  When the police receive a report of a missing woman from Frank, they realise that Ida is the woman who was killed by a bus earlier that day.  Alf  (right) takes the police to the Rovers to tell Frank and Ken the bad news. 

This was quite a dramatic episode, following the Barlows as they become concerned about Ida, and also following the police as they try to identify the mystery woman who was killed by a bus. It was sad because I liked Ida. It seems that the actress who played her, Noel Dyson, was alarmed at the fans intrusion into her private life when the show became so popular and couldn't deal with this kind of fame. Such a shame!

September 13th 1961
Frank and Ken struggle to cope with their grief as the saddened neighbours prepare their floral tributes to Ida. An upset Jack tells Annie that he can't bear the thought of losing her like that. Harry angrily defends the bus driver involved in the accident. Jed Stone (left) asks Dennis for a job so he can go straight. There is no sign of David at the funeral which gets everyone talking but he tells Ken on the phone that he was there.  

The scene where Jack gets upset at the thought of losing Annie was so touching that it brought a lump to my throat! Poor Frank looks totally lost as he faces the future with only Ken for support. It was nice to get this VHS episode to follow on from the death of Ida.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Chuckles TV Catch Up #4

This is my new feature for the summer! I have sooo many great sounding TV shows that I want to watch but because of all my reading, I haven't had time to catch up with any of them! So this summer I'm doing a Chuckles TV catch up where I hope to get a look at some TV, decide what I like and don't like and tell you all my thoughts on everything. Now, my TV watching is very much mood related so I can't predict what I'll want to watch...

This week: Hannibal starring Mads Mikkelsen, Laurence Fishburne, Hugh Dancy, Caroline Dhavernas. 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2243973/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1 
Filmography links and data courtesy of IMDb.

I was convinced for some reason that I wasn't going to like this series before I even got to episode one, thinking it was going to be too slow for me. I was pleased to be proven wrong and watched eight episodes in one night. I'm now the proud owner of the dvd box sets for season one and two which I hope to catch up with soon. 

So what did I like about it? Mads Mikkelsen is excellent as Hannibal. Yes he is the bad guy but at times you can't help rooting for him. He is elegant, cultured and intriguing but don't ever accept a dinner invitation from him! I found his 'friendship' with Jack Crawford interesting, showing the different sides to the two characters that I remember so well from Silence of the Lambs. Laurence Fishburne for me is a very underrated actor. Hugh Dancy is excellent as the tortured and slightly insane Will Graham. Having supporting cast like Gina Torres and Eddie Izzard was also good.

This is not a series for the fainthearted. It is gory, brutal and violent-and I like it! It is a clever show as one minute you want Hannibal to get caught, and the next you want him to get away with it. I like the way Will gets into the head of the killers to solve the crimes, making it a bit different from other crime dramas. The plots are good and the killers are certainly inventive and creative!

My one niggle is the dreams that Will has about that damn stag. I get a bit tired of seeing variations of that dream in every episode. However it doesn't spoil the show and I very much enjoyed what I have watched so far. Recommended!  

Sunday, 26 July 2015

The TBR 100 Book Countdown Challenge (530-522)


My tbr has managed to sneak up over 600 books again and action must be taken!!! So I am setting myself a pretty tough challenge-to get that tbr from 612 as it stands today, down to 500 books by December 31st. Yes it is an impossible sounding task but not everything on the tbr is full length reading-there are short stories, novellas and novels to be devoured! Even if I don't get to the target, I'll be pleased if I get close. It would be the first time in 5 years that my tbr was 500 or less! My updates on my progress won't be weekly, just whenever I have something to report! Anyone who wants to try and reduce their tbr is welcome to post on my update posts about their progress!

FYI: A few people have asked why the number of books I've reduced the pile by in the post title does not match the number of books I mention in the actual blog post. Simple really, I'm still adding new books to the tbr each week, and a few are rereads.

So I spent most of this week catching up with some Tv but the last couple of nights I've got back into the tbr pile and made a bit more progress. I only finished one of the books I read as the others just didn't grab me and overall were a bit of a let down. Still, every book I open is progress towards my goal. Here are my books from 530 down to 522!

FINISHED:
Alex South-Swarm
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22670640-swarm 


ABANDONED:

Kristen Painter-House of the Rising Sun
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18453118-house-of-the-rising-sun

Nick Cutter-The Troop
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18002456-the-troop

Ray Gorham-77 Days in September
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11802105-77-days-in-september

Elliott James-Charming
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17333338-charming

Scott Smith-The Ruins
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21726.The_Ruins

Michaelbrent Collings-Darkbound
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17313971-darkbound

Jose Prendes-Sharcano
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18660061-sharcano

Joseph Souza-The Reawakening
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16301437-the-reawakening

Scott Nicholson-After: The Shock
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16281043-after


Saturday, 25 July 2015

Book Review: A Devil in the Details by KA Stewart (Jesse James Dawson #1)


When it comes to demons, always read the fine print.

Jesse James Dawson was an ordinary guy (well, an ordinary guy with a black belt in karate) until one day he learned his brother had made a bargain with a demon, Jesse discovered there was only one way to save his brother: put up his own soul as collateral, and fight the demon to the death.

Jesse lived to free his brother-and became part of a loose organization of Champions who put their own souls on the line to help those who get in over their heads with demons. But now experienced Champions are losing battles at a much higher rate than usual. Someone has changed the game. And if Jesse can't figure out the new rules, his next battle may be his last...


My Review:
This book had the potential to be something really great and I was a little frustrated that it didn't fully deliver on it's promise. It was still a decent and well written read though.

Jesse is one of a dwindling group of warriors that can be hired to fight demons to save the soul of the client from being taken. So if you do a deal with a demon and change your mind, Jesse can fight the demon in your place and hopefully win your soul back. Jesse is a good hero because he is flawed, funny, and for a pleasant change, is married with a kid. It makes him seem more like a normal guy with a strange job, and it was nice to see something a little different. He has a good personality and that is important for me in an MC.

The book starts with a bang as Jesse endures a brutal fight with a demon, and this was very well written and entertaining. I also liked the big fight at the end of the book which was clever and well thought out. The world building was solid, the writing was good and the author had a clear idea of where they were going and what they wanted to deliver. There was plenty to like about this book.

Where it fell a bit for me was spending way too much time with Jesse as a family man, with an annoying and very hyper child that got on my nerves. I hate children at the best of times so this was pretty irritating. It caused the book to become pretty slow after that initial fight scene. It took to page 128 to negotiate his next fight, which then doesn't take place until page 267. There needed to be something other than his family life to fill in between the fights to keep the reader engaged.

So while I liked the character, the plot and the writing, I don't see me continuing with the series, based on how slow this book went in the middle-unless I get the chance to borrow it from a friend. 
star rating photo: Three Star Rating 3stars.png
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Book Review: Phoenix Island by John Dixon


The judge told Carl that one day he'd have to decide exactly what kind of person he would become. But on Phoenix Island, the choice will be made for him.

A champion boxer with a sharp hook and a short temper, sixteen-year-old Carl Freeman has been shuffled from foster home to foster home. He can't seem to stay out of trouble, using his fists to defend weaker classmates from bullies. His latest incident sends his opponent to the emergency room, and now the court is sending Carl to the worst place on earth: Phoenix Island.

Classified as a terminal facility, it's the end of the line for delinquents who have no home, no family, and no future. Located somewhere far off the coast of the United States and immune to its laws, the island is a grueling Spartan-style boot camp run by sadistic drill sergeants who show no mercy to their young, orphan trainees. Sentenced to stay until his eighteenth birthday, Carl plans to play by the rules, so he makes friends with his wisecracking bunkmate, Ross, and a mysterious gray-eyed girl named Octavia. But he makes enemies, too, and after a few rough scrapes, he earns himself the nickname "Hollywood" as well as a string of punishments, including a brutal night in the sweatbox. But that's nothing compared to what awaits him in the Chop Shop: a secret government lab where Carl is given something he never dreamed of. 


My Review:
This book sounded so good that I couldn't wait to borrow it from a friend and devour it. Sadly the teeth marks that I left in the binding were due to frustration about how much I disliked this book!

This book was more like the Boot Camp Diaries than a dystopian thriller. A group of juvenile criminals unwanted by society for various alleged crimes are dumped on an island boot camp where they need to survive until being released at 18. We had military marches, military discipline, military songs, military chants, military officers bullying the recruits, asshat kids trying to kill the new arrivals...It was just BORING. Page after page of military orders and marches just destroyed half my brain cells. There was plenty violence and brutality but I felt it was just shoved in for shock value as it did little to advance the lack of plot. The plot itself just seemed to be bad people abuse kids in violent ways, over and over. It's not much to keep you entertained or engaged.

There were no characters that I gave a damn about. They were all rude and obnoxious and you just wanted a bunch of rabid jungle animals to rush out and eat everyone. Carl, our hero has serious anger management issues and likes to beat people up. OK so he beats up thugs, but the point is, he was warned to behave or be dumped out of society but he chooses not to listen and then moans about his punishment. His violence puts people in hospital which basically means he is a dangerous thug who will kill someone some day and the judge is tired of giving him chances to reform. The characters never felt likable or developed in any way and were pretty one dimensional. They are a really boring bunch who talk nonsense most of the time.

So how did the author decide to liven things up? Our hero Carl goes all instaluv with a female he meets there. Oh goodee! Not. This cliche just makes my brain explode! As romance goes, there was no chemistry and it felt so out of place that I wondered what the point was. I felt as if the author had a checklist of things he felt he needed to add to the book and was stubbornly shoving them in regardless of whether or not it would fit the story.

This book did not work for me on any level. It was one of the poorer books that I read in the genre and I have no interest in reading anything else by the author. 
star rating photo: 1 star orange-1star.jpg

Stacking the Shelves #94


Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews
Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks! Click on the link under the book to find its page on Goodreads or Smashwords. 

Please note that I always leave a message on your STS/SP if you visit me, but if you use DISQUS or a similar third party I will not be able to leave a comment on your page. And sometimes, I have problems leaving messages on blogs hosted by Wordpress so you might get a double message sometimes! Blame them, not me!
               
Last Saturday I decided it was time to catch up on some TV that I never seem to get round to. So from Saturday-Wednesday, I didn't read anything but I did look at a variety of series and most I wasn't greatly impressed by! I'll be posting TV reviews again this week so you can take a look at what I've been watching. The books I did look at the last two nights have all been abandoned so I haven't completed a book at all this week, which feels a bit weird. You can check out the latest news on my TBR challenge post which will go up on the blog tomorrow or Monday. I plan to get in some last minute reading today to see if I can get another book or two off the tbr! 

On the book buying side of things, I picked up a mixture of horror, Tudor fiction and urban fantasy which is quite a nice mixture. When I'll get to reading them, I don't quite know! Another small haul which is good and keeps the tbr numbers falling, which I'm happy with! 
 
DOWNLOADS:
 
 
 
BOUGHT PAPERBACKS:
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Book Review: Up From The Grave by Jeaniene Frost (Night Huntress #7)


Lately, life has been unnaturally calm for vampires Cat Crawfield and her husband Bones. They should have known better than to relax their guard, because a shocking revelation sends them back into action to stop an all-out war…

A rogue CIA agent is involved in horrifying secret activities that threaten to raise tensions between humans and the undead to dangerous heights. Now Cat and Bones are in a race against time to save their friends from a fate worse than death… because the more secrets they unravel, the deadlier the consequences. And if they fail, their lives—and those of everyone they hold dear — will be hovering on the edge of the grave
.


My Review:
When Don tells Cat that the team are missing, Jason claims that they are dead and cremated. Don's reluctant admission that they worked on genetic crossbreeds together sickens Cat and infuriates Marie. Knowing that Jason wanted to breed hybrids from her DNA causes new worries for the team and they try to find Jason's complex.

Ooh, the truth is finally out there! It was pretty horrifying to hear what Don and Jason were trying in the labs and that the final fall out came when Don wanted no part in breeding from Cat. It's understandable why Cat is so angry and betrayed by Don's actions here. If he hadn't already been a ghost I think Bones might have killed him. As the book progresses, Cat is about to get another shock.

The character that most bugs me in this series is Tate. So why the heck did the author have to pick him to be part of the very shocking twist that knocks Cat and Bones for six??? I'm not saying any more in case those reading this have yet to read the book...but Tate??? Are you serious? You can't have him STILL trailing around after Cat with a legitimate excuse to be there and expect it to have no impact on Cat's relationship with Bones! That was the part of the book that I really didn't like and I don't feel that Cat really needed this to happen to her. Not my favourite plot in the series, that's for sure.

Favourite bits? Mencheres and his street talk was very funny...'You are the shit' *snigger* I loved this scene. Ian just being Ian. The whole drama taking place inside the complex as escape is planned and executed. Jason's reward for all his hard work. We get a resolution to bring the series to an end.

Can we have Ian and Annette as a couple in an Ian spin off book? I so want to see more of both of them and I just can't see Ian settling for a human female.  Overall I loved this series-the action, the plots, the humour, the range of characters. And although I'm not a fan of sex filled paranormal romance, I did like the Cat and Bones relationship a lot. I'm a bit sad to see the series finish so soon but at least the standard kept up to the end.
star rating photo: 5 Star Rating 5stars.jpg

Book Review: One Grave at a Time by Jeaniene Frost (Night Huntress #6)


How Do You Send A Killer to the Grave When He's Already Dead?
Having narrowly averted an (under)World War, Cat Crawfield wants nothing more than a little downtime with her vampire husband, Bones. Unfortunately, her gift from New Orleans's voodoo queen just keeps on giving - leading to a personal favor that sends them into battle once again, this time against a villainous spirit.

Centuries ago, Heinrich Kramer was a witch hunter. Now, every All Hallows Eve, he take physical form to torture innocent women before burning them alive. This year, however, a determined Cat and Bones must risk all to send him back to the other side of eternity - forever. But one wrong step and they'll be digging their own graves.

My Review:
Everything is changing around Cat and not for the better. Don is replaced by a new commander Jason Madigan, who hates vampires and seems determined to ruin everything that Don worked for. Don himself is not pleased to be stuck in limbo and doesn't want to answer questions about his contact with Jason. Fabian brings his ghost friend Elisabeth to Cat, telling of a witch hunter who is a ghost seeking to take on physical form by killing innocent women.

I liked Fabian and Elisabeth. Elisabeth lost her life as a witch at the hands of Kramer, and came back as a ghost to spook his horse, causing his death. We get the new character of Tyler who contacts the dead for a living. He is a great character-flirty and funny. He is mad about Bones when he meets him but as soon as he sees Ian, he is in love! So Tyler and his dog were fun to have along for the ride, and we have Ian, Justina, Spade and Denise all helping. I love Ian and his sarcasm. He is a great side character and I so want him to get his own book. Mind you, the chances of him being faithful to anyone is remote.

Kramer is much more powerful than a ghost should be and could be impossible to stop. Cat and Bones need to call in professional ghost hunters and try to use remnants to destroy him but he seems too powerful. Their attempts to catch Kramer are also thwarted by Jason, who is spying on Cat constantly and now has her banned from the compound. His interference causes the death of his men and Kramer's escape from the trap that Cat set for him. The only way to stop him now is to find and protect the three women he has chosen for his human sacrifices.

I really hate Jason! Of course, this is the reaction that we are meant to have to him so it is vital to the plot. Don is keeping some kind of big secret about him from his former team, angering Cat and Bones who need to know who Jason is so they can find a way to bring him down before he destroys the whole team. Cat and Bones can't communicate with their own team or Justina, until Justina quits in protest. I imagined that the big secret of Don will come out at some point in later books. (NB It does and its a doozy!!!)

There is a lot of good stuff in this book. I really liked the Kramer plot, especially him being so hard to kill. It takes all the skill and brains of the entire team to come up with plans to stop him. I always enjoy when the team are working together and all my favourite characters feature. The plot had plenty of action and the usual humour to keep you entertained so I enjoyed it. Another great novel from a favourite author!
  


First Read: 2011

star rating photo: 5 Star Rating 5stars.jpg

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Chuckles TV Catch Up #3

This is my new feature for the summer! I have sooo many great sounding TV shows that I want to watch but because of all my reading, I haven't had time to catch up with any of them! So this summer I'm doing a Chuckles TV catch up where I hope to get a look at some TV, decide what I like and don't like and tell you all my thoughts on everything. Now, my TV watching is very much mood related so I can't predict what I'll want to watch...

It's been a while since I tore myself away from the books long enough to watch some TV but this weekend was a TV only zone at The Book Cave!  

This week: Dracula starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Jessica De Gouw, Victoria Smurfit, Oliver Jackson-Cohen

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2296682/?ref_=nv_sr_3
Filmography links and data courtesy of IMDb.

There was a lot to like about this series and a few things that were not so good so I can understand the mixed reviews it got. Dracula is resurrected by Van Helsing so they can team up to get revenge on the cult that murdered their loved ones. I liked the idea of that, giving a twist to the usual story. There are good gory scenes of vampire attacks, the odd good fight scene, excellent acting especially from JRM and his Renfield played by Nonso Anozie...so why am I not raving about it? 

Well, I found the plot very slow in places as we plough through the boring relationship of Harker and Mina, the Van Helsing plot to slowly financially ruin the cult members and the detail of the industrial age companies and society events they all take part in. I found I was rooting for Dracula because I disliked the hunters characters, so I was bored by Dracula having sex with one of them in every episode. This had potential but was too slow to  appeal to me personally. I watched the first three episodes before deciding it wasn't my thing.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Book Review: Sue Barton Staff Nurse by Helen Dore Boylston (Sue Barton #7)


Nothing ever stands still in Sue Barton's household. Just when Sue thinks that she has everything under control, with Tabitha at school, the twins and baby Sue in good health, bang comes the discovery that Dr. Bill, her husband, is in trouble. He is ordered off to a sanatorium for six months. Sue applies for and quickly receives a job as staff nurse at the Springdale Hospital, where she had once been Director of Nurses. Sue enjoys working directly with patients far better than executive work, and it isn't long before she is involved in staff personalities and problems. Sue Barton's talent for getting into and out of a tangle of human relations propels her through her personal and professional ups and downs in this final tale of the enchanting red-headed nurse from New Hampshire.

My Review:
Sue's life is turned upside down when Bill is taken ill on a fishing trip and has to go into a sanatorium. Trying to juggle looking after four kids and finding a job to pay the bills while Bill is gone keeps her busy and she is quickly employed as a staff nurse by Kit. Sue is determined to be seen as a nurse and not just Bill's wife, helping both patients and staff.

It was nice in this last book to see Sue back to being a nurse who deals with patients. I felt the series lost its way a bit when she became an executive at the hospital but this was back to Sue as we first met her. I liked all the stories from the ward, the way Sue tried to help the nurses with their personal problems, and had to deal with a very unsettled home life as a lot of working mothers do.

With Bill recovering from illness, there were none of the dumb petty fights that annoyed me in previous books, so that was a good thing! We only got a few pages of the annoying Marianna, and we see plenty of Kit who now has the job that her skills are suited for. I liked the plot and some of the patients were quite entertaining. I don't want to give away too much of it in case I spoil things for other readers.

This book had a mixture of humour and drama on the wards, dealing with personal issues and the ups and downs of relationships. It was the perfect book to finish off Sue's story as she finally finds a place in nursing where she is suited and comfortable. This series may be outdated in some ways, having been written in the 1930s, but I still found it to be a good series to read again. 
star rating photo: Three Star Rating 3stars.png

Book Review: Sue Barton Neighbourhood Nurse by Helen Dore Boylston (Sue Barton #6)


Sue Barton left her position as Superintendent of Nurses at the Springdale, New Hampshire Hospital in order to raise a family. Now she and Dr. Bill have three children: six-year-old Tabitha and the four-year-old twins, Johnny and Jerry. Sue is happy in her job as wife and mother until she goes to a reunion of her class in nursing school where the accomplishments of others make her feel as if she is stagnating. Yet Sue finds herself using her talents in countless ways as she nurses the neighborhood. She finds work for a disabled farmer; she pinch-hits for the visiting nurse; she helps bring the famous artist, Mona Stuart and her teenage daughter Cal together. And always something is happening at home for Sue and Bill and their faithful Veazie Ann to cope with - Jerry's strange tantrums, Johnny's disappearance in the woods with his little friend Anne, Tabitha's attempt to run away. Are Sue's training and abilities wasted on all these daily and personal small problems? Her customary humor and warm good sense help her decide.

My Review:
Kit and Sue go to visit the hospital they trained in and Sue starts to wonder if being a stay at home mum is a waste of her nursing skills. She finds herself caught up in the drama of her famous artist neighbour and her neglected daughter, while her own children bring their own unique problems.

This one was interesting because Sue is raising her kids and is not working, but her medical and social skills are required to solve a few problems. Cal likes to hang around at the Barry house and spend time with Sue and the kids, and Sue is determined to help the girl repair her fractured relationship with her mother and find her a few new friends. Of course Sue's interfering, however well intentioned, is not an instant success! You could see things from the sides of Cal and Mona.

Sue's kids are little devils! Tabitha sulking and running away to invade Mona's house, Jerry's tantrums and strange behaviour and Johnny's determination not to be sererated from his new friend Anne. The scene where Sue is trying to show a rich neighbour the importance of stable parenting is so funny as her kids decide to create utter anarchy during the visit. I was in stitches laughing!

My favourite part of the story was Johnny and Anne's adventures. It was quite sweet to see how the pair adored each other in that innocent way that kids have before hormones wreck things. The story shows different sides to Sue and Bill, and helps to bring Cal and Mona closer together. There may not be much action but it was really well written. This was a good addition to the series. 
star rating photo: Three Star Rating 3stars.png

Chuckles TV Catch Up #2

This is my new feature for the summer! I have sooo many great sounding TV shows that I want to watch but because of all my reading, I haven't had time to catch up with any of them! So this summer I'm doing a Chuckles TV catch up where I hope to get a look at some TV, decide what I like and don't like and tell you all my thoughts on everything. Now, my TV watching is very much mood related so I can't predict what I'll want to watch...

It's been a while since I tore myself away from the books long enough to watch some TV but this weekend was a TV only zone at The Book Cave! 

This Week: Veep starring Julia Louis Dreyfuss, Anna Chlumsky, Tony Hale, Reid Scott

 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1759761/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1
Filmography links and data courtesy of IMDb.

I like political dramas and things but I only watched one episode of this before I switched off. I didn't like the characters, there was a ton of very annoying f bombs for no darn reason instead of the witty dialogue I was expecting, which left me rolling my eyes. It wasn't clever or amusing to me, just dull and kind of childish. If I want f bombs everywhere I can open my window and hear it on the street! No thanks!

This week: Alpha House starring John Goodman, Clark Johnson, Matt Malloy, Mark Consuelos

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3012160/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2 
Filmography links and data courtesy of IMDb.

I decided to watch it for the same reason as Veep and I disliked it for the same reasons. Every second word seemed to be an f bomb and that just bores me. I like my dialogue to be witty, entertaining and amusing but having characters constantly swearing and being obnoxious morons didn't amuse in any way. I didn't like any of the characters, the story or anything about it. Stopped watching halfway through the second episode.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

The TBR 100 Book Countdown Challenge (538-530)


My tbr has managed to sneak up over 600 books again and action must be taken!!! So I am setting myself a pretty tough challenge-to get that tbr from 612 as it stands today, down to 500 books by December 31st. Yes it is an impossible sounding task but not everything on the tbr is full length reading-there are short stories, novellas and novels to be devoured! Even if I don't get to the target, I'll be pleased if I get close. It would be the first time in 5 years that my tbr was 500 or less! My updates on my progress won't be weekly, just whenever I have something to report! Anyone who wants to try and reduce their tbr is welcome to post on my update posts about their progress!

FYI: A few people have asked why the number of books I've reduced the pile by in the post title does not match the number of books I mention in the actual blog post. Simple really, I'm still adding new books to the tbr each week, and a few are rereads.

So this has been another successful week. I've been reading a mixture of children's books and horror novels and I've got through a few, which I'm pleased about. I hope to hit my target by the end of August or start of September, which would be great!

FINISHED:

Rick Riordan-Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6676603-the-lightning-thief 

Rick Riordan-Percy Jackson & The Sea of Monsters
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/580002.The_Sea_of_Monsters

Mark Walden-H.I.V.E
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12316194-h-i-v-e 

Alan Davidson-Queen Rider
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7137704-queen-rider

Richard Laymon-Triage
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2176891.Triage

Richard Matheson-I Am Legend
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/14064.I_Am_Legend


ABANDONED:

Rick Riordan-Percy Jackson & The Titan's Curse
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2133969.The_Titan_s_Curse

Bryan Smith-Depraved
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12956180-depraved


ABANDONED WITHOUT READING:

Rick Riordan-Percy Jackson & Battle of the Labyrinth
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6218096-the-battle-of-the-labyrinth 

Rick Riordan-Percy Jackson & The Last Olympian
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7706484-the-last-olympian

Rick Riordan-The Lost Hero
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7736182-the-lost-hero

Rick Riordan-The Son of Neptune
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9520360-the-son-of-neptune

Tim Lebbon-Berserk
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/152182.Berserk

John Skipp-The Bridge
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7714123-the-bridge

Bryan Smith-The Killing Kind
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7938749-the-killing-kind

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Stacking the Shelves #93


Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews
Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks! Click on the link under the book to find its page on Goodreads or Smashwords. 

Please note that I always leave a message on your STS/SP if you visit me, but if you use DISQUS or a similar third party I will not be able to leave a comment on your page. And sometimes, I have problems leaving messages on blogs hosted by Wordpress so you might get a double message sometimes! Blame them, not me!
              
So another week has passed and it's time for STS again. I've had another decent week with reading so I'm pretty happy. My book buying has been limited as well so that is also good news! I'm trying to keep it under control through the summer but I'm worried about all the upcoming Amazon sales! Still, at least I'm addicted to books and not things that damage my health! 
 
I am feeling pretty grumpy this morning though-last night we had high winds across my part of Scotland which I find very unsettling plus there was a monster sized bloody spider in the bathroom which had me running screaming to fetch my dad! WHY do the damn things need so many horrible hairy legs??? To run over your unsuspecting face in the middle of the night, I don't doubt. *shudder*  Did you know there are spiders the size of dinner plates? Try looking up huntsman spiders on YouTube and see the size of the monster one in that toilet, stretched right across the toilet seat!!! I've been having nervous trauma since I saw that...
 
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