Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Chasing Evil Book Review

Chasing Evil by Kylie Brant

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There's nothing strange about bodies buried in cemeteries - unless they don't belong there. And when six murdered women are discovered in other people's grave, the hunt for a sadistic serial killer begins before he can claim a seventh victim.

Agent Cam Prescott of Iowa's Division of Criminal Investigation is leading the search alongside forensic psychologist Sophia Channing, who knows the minds of psychopaths inside and out. And after a brief but passionate affair, she knows Cam almost as well. What she doesn't know is that her high-profile involvement in the case has caught the twisted predator's eye - and sparked his fury.

When Sophia suddenly vanishes, Cam and his team shift into overdrive to keep horrific history from repeating itself. But for Sophia, being trapped in the same isolated lair where so much innocent blood has been spilled may get her inside her vicious captor's head - and may offer her the only chance she has to escape an agonizing and lethal fate.

Review by Brittany:

I received a free copy of this book by requesting it on Net Galley. The cover is what initially caught my attention, but the blurb also interested me as I'm a fan of crime novels. This edition is a re-release, with a new cover and editorial changes.

Brant is not an author I'm familiar with, but I was really impressed by her writing. The book sounded like she had done all of her research very well, and the suspense in the book kept me hanging on to the very last page. The author also used the book to detail Sophia and Cam's short affair, which added a little something extra to the book. It helped me understand Cam's motivation for rescuing Sophia, but it also has me wondering if that side of things will continue throughout the trilogy.

The villain in the book was definitely scary. The author did a great job of creating a volatile, horrifying man to play the role on the criminal in this book. He was described as being a muscular weight lifter with an unpredictable temper, enough to be scary without the underlying issues he has when it comes to harming his victims. I was scarily impressed with the character that the author created.

I also thought the development of the case was well done. There are false starts and little tidbits that the DCI has to follow up on, utilizing the assistance of local police departments. I don't know enough about the processes to have an informed opinion, but I felt like the entire case was believable and moved along at a realistic pace.

The end of the book leaves the reader with a new development in the case and a bit of a cliffhanger. I do think this one could be picked up and read on its own, but I know that I will be following up with the trilogy. I think any reader that enjoyed this book would be hard-pressed to pass on the other books! I definitely recommend this book to readers who enjoy crime novels and who don't have too weak of a stomach when it comes to criminal brutality. While the author is not overly graphic about what happens, there are enough hints that leave the imagination at work.

Notable quotes:

But sometimes silence could be more stressful than the most violent argument.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Lost: Celestial Blues 2 Book Review

The Lost: Celestial Blues 2 by Vicki Pettersson


Fallen angel Griffin "Grif" Shaw and his mortal lover, reporter Katherine Craig, are trying to learn the truth about Grif's death a half a century earlier. This quest will lead them to discover that the Pures might have their own agenda - one that will have Grif and Kit scrambling to stay alive, to stay together, and to choose their fate...before it's chosen for them.

Review by Brittany:

Here's a book with a beautifully fantastic cover, which I'm such a sucker for. I also read and reviewed the first book, so I knew that I was going to enjoy this one.

It's been a year since I picked up the first one, so jumping into this one meant I had a bit of an adjustment period to try to remember who characters were and what all of the terminology regarding the angels meant. The author made it easy, giving some one sentence recaps that were enough to spark my memory. Similar to the first one, Kit and Grif have good banter and good conversations between them, making their relationship one that I can't help by root for, despite the fact that I suspect it won't be able to last.

One element of this book that felt different to me was how gruesome it got at some parts. There is mention of a drug - krokodil - that is Russian and cheap to make, but it also causes the flesh to rot and infections to spring up. The descriptions in the book were tough, but I couldn't help but appreciate them. I also thought it was interesting how this drug leads Grif and Kit to involved with two separate large-scale drug rings, one with Russians and one with Cubans.

This book also explores more of what happened to Grif. He's determined to solve the mystery of who murdered him and his wife Evie, and this book leads Grif to a few more answers. The end of the book leaves the reader with a cliffhanger regarding the murders, which will hopefully set up the discovery of exactly what happened in the third book.

Kit and Grif's relationship is also left on a bit of a cliffhanger in this book. Throughout, Kit struggles with Grif's obsession with Evie and his inability to be totally present in their relationship. By the end of the book, the strain reaches a bit of a boiling point.

I enjoyed this one just as much as the first. I definitely recommend this book if you enjoyed the first.

Notable quotes:

...she told herself that a new love couldn't be expected to replace an old one. That wasn't what new love was for.

But all it'd taken was one slip in thought, one reminder of how hard it was to be compared to someone who was perfect - someone who would always be perfect now that time had also made her saintly - and Kit was suddenly doubting everything she was.

She loved things because she loved them, and that was reason enough.

It wasn't where Grif was that bothered her, or what he was doing. It was what he was thinking about. About another woman.

She had to keep her feelings, especially regarding this woman, under control.

"Why does so much of life have to be about letting go?"

Friday, September 18, 2015

Soulless Book Review

Soulless by Gail Carriger


Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire - and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

Soulless is the first book of the Parasol Proctectorate series: a comedy of manners set in Victorian London, full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.

Review by Brittany:

I first wanted to read this book because of the gorgeous cover! I'm also a fan of paranormal books, so this one seemed right up my alley.

The first thing I noticed is that the writing style fits the time period of the book. This was an interesting adjustment for me since most of what I read is written in a more modern style. Once I adjusted to the style, reading it was easy. This author knows how to slip in humor without being in your face about it, and I found myself laughing out loud at some parts of the book. There is one sex scene in the book, and even that scene made me laugh. It wasn't overly graphic and the author clearly doesn't take herself too seriously, and I loved the way she wrote that scene.

This author also did some excellent world building with describing the supernatural set and how they function in society. The way Alexia interacts with them as a preternatural was an interesting twist on the typical paranormal book. The author also took a huge cast of characters and gave each of them enough of their own personality to make them stand out and be easily distinguishable from one another.

This book reminded me of The Mortal Instruments, but for the adult age. Since I was a fan of that series, this was a nice, more age appropriate option for me. I already have the next in the series and am looking forward to reading it. I definitely recommend for readers who like paranormal novels and are looking for one that's not exactly like everything else out there.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Corrupted Book Review

Corrupted by Lisa Scottoline


Bennie Rosato, the founder of the Rosato & DiNunzio law firm, hides her big heart beneath her tough-as-nails exterior and she doesn't like to fail. Now, a case from her past shows her how differently things might have turned out. Thirteen years ago, Bennie Rosato took on Jason Leftavick, a twelve-year-old boy who was sent to a juvenile detention center after fighting a class bully. Bennie couldn't free Jason, and to this day it's the case that haunts her. Jason has grown up in and out of juvenile prison, and his adulthood hasn't been any easier. Bennie no longer represents those accused of murder, but when Jason is indicted for killing the same bully he fought with as a kid, she sees no choice but to represent him. She doesn't know whether or not to believe his claims of innocence, but she knows she owes him for past failures - of the law, of the juvenile justice system, and of herself. Forced to relive the darkest period of her life, Bennie will do everything in her power to get the truth, and justice.

Review by Brittany:

I received an advanced copy of this novel from Net Galley per my request. I'm a long-time fan of Scottoline, having read nearly all of her books, with a special love for Bennie's law firm.

Jumping back into the world of Rosato felt a little like coming home. I loved rolling around in the legalese and Bennie's intensity as a lawyer. There are times throughout the book when the focus is on the trial, and the author uses Bennie's thoughts as a way to keep the reading in the loop on the legal terms and what exactly is going on.

This book was a little different from the others because it lays out two cases, not just one. This one focuses on Jason's current murder case, while also giving the reader the information needed about the previous case that Bennie took on for Jason. The past case also allows the author to develop parts of Bennie's life to share with the reader. I enjoyed learning more about Bennie and piecing together some of her history.

The ending of the book was a bit weird to me. Scottoline always has a twist at the end that changes the case from what you think it will be, and this book was no exception. However, I felt like the twist was not readily obvious to the reader and that it was almost lazy. The author threw in a character that the reader didn't know and had that character completely upend the entire case. It wasn't one of Scottoline's best endings, but the way the case was going was compelling and kept me interested.

Overall, I do think fans of Scottline will enjoy this book, particularly if you are a fan of the Rosato & Associates novels. If you're unfamiliar with Scottline's work, this book is an easy one to jump into, requiring no prior knowledge about characters or events.

Notable quotes:

She wondered if this was what being a parent was like, giving comfort you didn't feel and reassuring someone when you were worried as hell.

She wasn't sure what to call the feeling, which touched a part of her heart so deep that she didn't even know it existed.

"Sometimes the one that gets away, gets away for a reason."

She didn't know what he wanted, and she didn't know what she wanted, either.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Into Temptation Book Review

Into Temptation by Penny Vincenzi


Into Temptation, the third book of the Lytton family trilogy, shifts the focus to New York City and Barty Miller. Rescued from the slums as a baby by Celia Lytton and now living in New York, Barty heads more than half of the Lytton publishing house. Falling on bad times, the family is worried that Barty will make a business decision that would be devastating to them. But will she? As events unfold, long-buried secrets concerning the whole family are revealed, shaking the very foundations of the Lytton's world. Readers have come to depend on Vincenzi for her enchanting prose style and the epic scope of her dramas; like the Lytton family sagas that precede it, Into Temptation does not disappoint.

Review by Brittany:

The blurb for this book makes it sound as if Barty is the central character, but as with all of Vincenzi's other books, there's really no such thing. This book does jump into the fact that Barty now holds a considerable amount of Lyttons in the palm of her hand, and she now has boatloads of money, thanks to her secret marriage to Lawrence. This plays a role in her developing relationship with Charlie, a widower father of a friend of Barty's daughter, Jenna. The girls spend a large chunk of the book pushing Barty and Charlie together.

Celia takes center stage once again in this novel by announcing her retirement and marriage to someone new, after Oliver's passing. She also takes advantage of the opportunity to start to fine-tune Lyttons in such a way that she feels confident about the future that she's building for the company. Sometimes this means interference on her part, and sometimes it means going out on a limb for newcomers. Her relationship with her new husband is also developed throughout the book.

Pretty much every character gets a fair amount of development in the book because it is the last installment in the trilogy. The author does a decent job of wrapping things up, although I'd be lying if I said that I didn't feel incomplete at the end. The last scene in the book is interesting, but I was left wanting more. There was a character in the book that drove me absolutely bananas and I wanted him to get his comeuppance, but he never did.

I do, of course, recommend this book, like I have the others in the trilogy. I can't express how much I enjoy diving into Vincenzi's novels, and the Lytton family was an addiction for me. I do think it's important to read this trilogy in order, although I think any of them could be picked up and read as a standalone if you choose.

Notable quotes:

She wondered if this was love and decided it couldn't be. It was too uncomfortable.

Everything she did, everything she thought, was to do with him; he had become a part of her, and she could not imagine her life without him.

"It's not always easy to be sensible."

It was her life. People kept saying that. And it was true. She just wished she could decide if she liked how it was or not.

"I have very little time for the truth. Certainly not unvarnished."

...wishing she could also feel the happiness such a day demanded. Instead of alternately angry and dully miserable, exhausted with the sheer physical effort of smiling, chatting, remaining upright, even.

She sometimes felt she was walking a tightrope in her life; swaying this way and that, nearly losing her balance, righting herself just in time.

You simply could not love someone, marry them, bear their children, share every intimacy of life with them, and then walk away, say right, that's over, nice while it lasted, gone wrong now, though.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A Matter of Fate Book Review

A Matter of Fate by Heather Lyons


Chloe Lilywhite struggles with all the normal problems of a typical seventeen-year-old high school student. Only, Chloe isn't a normal teenage girl. She's a Magical, part of a secret race of beings who influence the universe. More importantly, she's a Creator, which means Fate mapped out her destiny long ago, from her college choice, to where she will live, to even her job. While her friends and relatives relish their future roles, Chloe resents the lack of say in her life, especially when she learns she's to be guarded against a vengeful group of beings bent on wiping out her kind. Their number one target? Chloe, of course.

That's nothing compared to the boy trouble she's gotten herself into. Because a guy she's literally dreamed of and loved her entire life, one she never knew truly existed, shows up in her math class, and with him comes a twin brother she finds herself inexplicably drawn to.

Chloe's once unyielding path now has a lot more choices than she ever thought possible.

Review by Brittany:

I wanted to love this book. As a fan of YA paranormal, this one sounded right up my alley. But something about it just didn't work for me.

I think part of the problem is that there was too much going on. The author had a good idea for Annar and did good society building, but it was almost overshadowed by the love triangle that was being forced on the reader. There were a lot of characters who had different abilities and served different purposes, and it was just a lot of information thrown up front.

The love triangle definitely didn't work for me. I was uncomfortable with Chloe switching off between twin brothers, trading one in for the other at her whim. The brothers also seemed relatively unbothered as they kept forgiving her each time. I also wish the author had done more to develop her relationship with either brother instead of just saying it was fated. I think making the relationship something out of the characters' control and putting it on Fate was a bit lazy and meant she didn't have to work too hard to develop anything.

As I mentioned above, I do think there's potential for Annar and the society that the author was building. The different abilities were all interesting to me and there's something about the battle of good and evil that works for me every time I read it. Chloe's powers start to develop more towards the end of the book, setting up more of her capabilities for the rest of the series.

Overall, I felt like this book was so-so. It was fine. The characters weren't great and the story was just okay, but I think there's a lot of potential here. I'm on the fence about reading the next one. If paranormal YA is a favored genre, then go ahead and pick this one up.