Friday, 26 May 2017

Survivor - Samantha K. Duke

                There are so many things about this book that should make me give it a rather poor review but the thing is, there are so many things I like about it, too. The story has all of the bones of a really good young adult novel. There’s romance, the supernatural, a bit of mystery, and some humour. Unfortunately, the humour often leaves the characters looking ridiculous and unrealistic. Even though this is a work of fiction, I still want to find some realism in the characters and their dialogue.

                Amy and her group of friends are the oddballs of their age group and are often the butt of jokes made by the cool kids. A new boy moves to the school and Amy falls head over heels for him. Max, however, starts missing time, having blackouts and some of the jocks that he has had run-ins with have disappeared or, worse, are found dead. Is Max behind these strange events or does the ghost that Amy sees have something to do with it? Amy, Max and her friends are determined to save their school mates from the same fate that has happened to their peers but they may end up dead themselves.

                I understand the idea that this is supposed to be a bit tongue-in-cheek but coming back to school the day after students go missing and some are murdered seems a bit unbelievable to me. Also, Amy is attacked in quite a nasty way but casually goes back to school the next day and doesn’t bother to inform the authorities. The dialogue is not always at its best either. One kid states he doesn’t want to go to jail because they don’t have Nintendo. I know today’s kids are fairly materialistic but really?

                Having listed all of these complaints about the book, I still have to say that I really liked the overall story. The ending is sweet and I loved the character of Bobby who is sad and tragic even as he tries to be menacing. Amy and Max are also well written characters and I’d love to see them in a future book. This book has every bit of potential to be a great young adult novel and Ms. Duke has a lot of talent once the wrinkles get ironed out.

                I read the digital version of this book and it formatted well, although there were a few minor editing mistakes. The cover has significance to events in the book and pertains well to the young adult genre. 

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Escape to Death - Stephen Perkins

                It all starts with the murder of a young prostitute named Clover who is sacrificed by witches. Her ghost is set on returning to human form so she can get revenge on those who have killed her and those that helped to cover the crime up. Moving back and forth between the worlds of showbiz, law enforcement and the highest political office in the United States, Escape to Death is a book all about getting to the top by any means necessary and not caring who you step on (or kill) along the way. Add in some witchcraft and a bit of the supernatural and this really should have been a fast paced and entertaining book.  Instead, I spent most of the time trying to stay interested and had to stop myself from putting it down and not picking it up again. Don’t get me wrong, there are some good points to the book and maybe with a little bit of character development, a tweak to the storyline and some work on the editing, this could be a much better read. There are a lot of characters but none are likeable enough for me to actually care about remembering who any of them are so it got a little bit confusing. If even a couple of the main ones were a little more fleshed out then maybe I would have actually remembered them. The dialogue was a fairly big problem for me because most of it was not believable. For example, if two cops made as many derogatory comments about individuals, in a professional setting, as what was written in the book, they wouldn’t be on the job. It was all very “cheesy” and had a B-movie vibe to it. Also, the characters were often referred to by either their first names or their last names but not consistently so I was always confused as to who was being referred to or who was talking. I felt like I needed a spreadsheet to keep track of everything and that’s because the book didn’t keep me interested.
                The book starts with the sacrificial murder of Clover and I thought I would be diving into a fantastic book. Unfortunately, Clover’s ghost is rarely mentioned for the first chunk of the book. More of her would have really lent to the supernatural aspect of the story. Some of the scenes were quite humorous in their outlandishness however I don’t think they were meant to be taken that way. One scene in particular is a sex scene involving Vasquez that is just strange and made me laugh although I don’t think that was what the author intended for a reader to do.
                All in all, the idea for the book is a good one but it just didn’t work on paper. The cover is interesting but doesn’t really pertain a whole lot to the story. I read the digital version and it formatted well to my ereader.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

See Me Forever - Susann Oriel

                See Me Forever is a fast paced mix of murder, mystery, the supernatural and erotica. The cover doesn’t really do the book justice as it gives off a horror vibe and some readers who would enjoy it may pass the book by for this reason.
                Annie has just bought an old house and fixed it up, making it into her dream house. Inhabiting the house is a spirit (they don’t like to be called ghosts) who becomes infatuated with Annie. Annie has the ability to see him and wants to help him to pass over. The problem is that Edmond really doesn’t want to pass over. He built this house and he has no intention of leaving it. He will do anything to protect the house and Annie. This includes any murders that he needs to commit.
                Logan is a cop who investigates a strange occurrence at Annie’s house and winds up falling in love with her. He doesn’t believe in ghosts or her story about Edmond, the angry spirit, but he is willing to look into the cold case of who killed Edmond over one hundred years ago.
                I didn’t expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. The story catches your attention from the first page. It’s told from various viewpoints including that of Edmond’s which is very interesting as to how he sees the way things are in modern times. The writing style is easy to read and flows nicely. There are some fairly graphic sex scenes which are tastefully written but if you have an issue with that sort of thing then you probably shouldn’t pick the book up. If you like romance then this will definitely pique your interest. Combining all of these different genres into one book can often make for a confusing story but Ms. Oriel really makes it work and this is partly due to the characters being so well written. Not all of them are as well developed as Annie and Logan but it doesn’t affect the story. The only thing I would change would be that I would have liked to have read more about Edmond’s past. I think it would have added to the story nicely if the reader knew more about his relationship with his wife and why he is as angry as he is.
                By the way the book ended, there could be another one involving these characters and I would love to read it. I read this book in digital form and it formatted perfectly.