Saturday, March 17, 2012

Technical Problems

I'm having a few technical difficulties with my computer at the moment, hopefully I can get it fixed soon and will be back online asap.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Unshapely Things by Mark Del Franco (Review by kiwigirlreads)

After part of the Faeire World suddenly manifested in the middle of Boston, the fey that came with it had to go somewhere.

Welcome to the ‘Weird’.... where many of the Fey have made their homes. It’s filled with magic, wonder and strange alien creatures - it can also be a rough and dangerous neighborhood.

Connor Grey was once a powerful Druid with the Guild (fey law enforcement agency), after an accident on a job he is now all but powerless. No longer useful he’s on disability and trying to make ends meet with the odd consulting job. Things aren’t exactly going well for Connor and he recently had to move to the edge of the Weird himself.

Now someone is brutally killing fairy prostitutes and cutting out their hearts, when the Guild decides its not an urgent matter they kick the case to back to the human police. With no idea what they are dealing with the police turn to Connor for help navigating the murky depths of the Weird in search of a serial killer.

As Connor starts to investigate the crimes, he doesn’t realizethat the answer might just be closer than he ever would have imagined. He will need to work fast to unravel the mystery and prevent catastrophe.

What I thought:

Unshapely Things is an investigative Urban Fantasy story,there is a good mystery/crime plot that compels most of the action and author Marc Del Franco has spent considerable time building a very detailed world.

The story is set in Boston where part of the Faerie realm has merged with the human one bringing with it its many strange citizens and magic. The author spends a lot of time crafting the cityscape and its many inhabitants. The descriptions in the book are detailed and well-written and they really help you get a sense of the people and place.

It’s nice to read a good story with a male hero. It usually means the story will be action focused rather than romance focused which is definitely the case here.

The many different fey that inhabit the world are interesting, one of the better characters is the tiny flit,  ‘Stinkwort’ (a.k.a. Joe), with his small size and pretty pink wings Joe doesn’t look like much, but looks can be deceiving. Joe’s character is not only the much needed light relief; he is a really great character in his own right. I hope we see more of him and his world in the future.

The start of the book is a bit slow because there are a lot of descriptions and characterizations. It’s OK to start with as we need to learn about this new world but after a while it can become a bit tedious. Sometimes even during the action the author would stop and describe something and this detracted from the flow of the story

It also got a bit repetitive which slowed the story down again. Things the character does more than once like his morning ritual for example don’t really need to be described again if nothing changes. Also the details of the case were rehashed often as the character worked thought the mystery – I think the majority of readers can remember what they need to if it has already been mentioned.

Despite these pacing issues the novel does keep moving along pretty well and it ended with a good conclusion. If you find that you don’t get into it right away keep going because it is worth it - once you get into it you won’t be able to stop, the story grabs you and pulls you into a very absorbing world.

Final Comments and Overall Rating:

If you like magical murder mysteries, this will likely be right up your alley.

There were many good points to this novel, the plot and characters were all well done. The whole Fey/Human world merging is not exactly a new idea but the author does well to bring his own flavour to it and has created a new and interesting place for us to explore.

Conner Grey Series: 1. Unshapely Things, 2. Unquiet Dreams, 3. Unfallen Dead, 4. Unperfect Souls, 5. Uncertain Allies, 6. Undone Deeds

Rating: ☆☆☆☆

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Book Depository Haul #1

I ordered some books from The Book Depository a little while ago and they arrived this week. Yay! I am looking forward to reading and reviewing them. For those of you who don't know The Book Depository is an online book seller based in the UK. The great thing about them is that they have free worldwide shipping, the books were reasonably priced too. I will probably be doing most of my online book shopping through these guys now as it is much cheaper.

I purchased:

Desdaemona by Ben Macallan
Hounded by Kevin Hearne
Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch

They all came individually, Desdaemona and Hounded came on Thursday and then Midnight Riot an Saturday (not sure why the delay on only one of them).  I was a bit upset as the cover of Desdaemona has been damaged but I think that was due to whomever put it in my post box - its really small and they squashed two books in there together instead of just putting them in the package area of the building. Sigh.  Anyway it was pretty quick as I only ordered them a few weeks ago so I can't complain too much.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Glass Houses by Rachel Caine (Review by kiwigirlreads)

Super smart sixteen year old Claire Danvers has gained advanced placement to college but her over protective parents feel she is too young to move too far away. Instead they chose to send her to the closer, seemingly 'safe' town of Morganville, Texas where she will spend two years at the small local college.

As a college freshman Claire should only have to worry about classes and term papers but she soon finds out that in Morganville, college life is far more difficult. Between psychotic mean girls and a town run by vampires Claire will need to learn more than her classes have to offer - like how to survive and how not to become dinner.

Claire finds a safe haven at Glass House, the current tenants are wary of her young age but realise that at she needs their help. With her new housemates, Claire begins to uncover the secrets of the town she has unwitting become a part of and manages to cause enough trouble to draw the attention of Morganville’s power players – now it’s not just her but her new friends who are in the line of fire and Claire will do everything she can to ensure that they all stay safe.

What I thought:
Glass Houses is an interesting new twist on the vampire genre; in the town of Morganville, Texas vampires run the show with mob-like dominion. Although it is written as a ‘Young Adult’ book, older readers will find it just as captivating – it has much more of a ‘grown up’ feel to it than you might expect with the main character being only sixteen. I found that the book was humorous, entertaining and has a well crafted new world that was and will be exciting to explore.

Claire, the main protagonist is young, determined and a very sympathetic character right from the start when she is mercilessly bullied by the ‘mean’ girls in her dorm. She is very smart in some ways but naive in others and she has a lot of growing up to do - we really see her develop over the course of the book as she finds her strengths.

Other characters are also well written, they all have their own backgrounds, secrets and flaws. In saying that some of the vampires are a bit lacking in personality and the human villains motives are hard to understand; mean girl Monica in particular towards the end goes madly overboard with her bulling and it all seems a bit unrealistic. It will be good to see the villains fleshed out over the course of the series.

I found the story ideas and the reactions of the characters towards many of the situations a lot more plausible than some other novels I have read. I liked that the vampires are not ‘fluffy bunny’ types – they are monsters who are unpredictable and far from human. There is more of a fear factor to the story because of this although it's not over the top.  There are some romantic story lines, along with the requisite teen angst, but the rest of the story is well built around it so no complaints on that score either.

Be advised that the book does end on a cliff-hanger so if you want to know what happens, you will have to read the next one too. The Dead Girls’ Dance picks up straight after Glass Houses with no time passing. The good news is that they are quite small books – easy to read page turners that are nice forsome light reading.

Final Comments and Overall Rating:

If you like YA or vampire books in general, you should really look into this series. You won't be disappointed the books are a lot of fun – fast paced and humours with a good amount of action and scare in them.

The first in the Morganville Vampires Young Adults Series, there are 13 in the series so far so too many to list here but you can find them on Fantastic Fictionif you want to see a list of them all.

Rating: ☆☆☆☆