Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Jinx High by Mercedes Lackey

Jinx high is the third book in the Diana Tregarde series, but like the first two books Children of the night and Burning water, it can be read independently as the stories are quite separate.  

Something strange is happening in the small town of Jenks - apart from the alarmingly high number of students from the local high school who turn up dead in tragic circumstances.  So many have died, and there have been so many weird things happening that some people have taken to calling it Jinx High.  One of the students is Derek "Deke" Kestrel, who has found himself in the rather surprising position of being the boyfriend of the most popular girl in school.  Fay Harper is brave, bold, rich and not afraid to go after what she wants, and Deke is pretty content to go along for the ride - but when they are involved in a car accident that just doesn't make sense he starts to have the weird feeling that something isn't quire right.  Deke isn't the only one who feels that something isn't right, his dad Larry feels it too - but he knows just who to call on for help. 

When Larry reaches out to her Diana Tregarde is just wrapping up an author tour and is more than happy to spend time in Jenks checking out what has Larry worried - the fact she can go incognito as a visiting author for the honours English class is a bonus.  Diana doesn't know what to expect, but the last thing she would have expected was a powerful magic user who knows how to use Blood and Sex magic.  Someone has their hooks into Deke and the other students, and it is a real puzzle trying to figure out who.  Deke is blissfully unaware of the danger he is in, and he has no idea just how close the danger really is.  Finding a magic wielder is hard enough when they are covering their tracks - but through in teenage hormones, drugs, sex and rock and roll and you have a recipe for potential disaster.

I ran out of library books to read while I was on leave so decided to browse my own shelves for something to read and realised that I haven't read the Diana Tregarde series in a while - so I read the series from start to finish over the course of three days.  Like the other books in the series Jinx High can be read by itself, and it is a blend of urban fantasy and horror.  It is not my favourite in the series, but it is a solid read and has the added bonus of introducing us to one of the characters from her other series (the first time the SERRAted Edge books cross over with the world of the Guardians.  It is a shame there aren't more books in this series because it has a great grounding in the real world and has solid mythology that makes the world of the Guardians very believable.  One touch I love too is that all the books in the series have touches of other cultures which makes them more interesting than your standard "white man" magic story.

It may be tricky getting hold of the books in this series these days, but if you can get your hands on them and like authors like Patricia Briggs, Kim Harrison and Tanya Huff then you are bound to enjoy them.

If you like this book then try:
  • Children of the night by Mercedes Lackey
  • Burning water by Mercedes Lackey
  • Blood price by Tanya Huff
  • Summon the Keeper by Tanya Huff
  • Precinct 13 by Tate Hallaway
  • Spiders bite by Jennifer Estep
  • Dead witch walking by Kim Harrison
  • Angel's blood by Nalini Singh
  • Cast in shadow by Michelle Sagara
  • Kitty and the midnight hour by Carrie Vaughn
  • Moon called by Patricia Briggs
  • Cry wolf by Patricia Briggs

Reviewed by Brilla

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The girl in the ice by Robert Bryndza

Detective Chief Inspector Erika Foster is still recovering, physically and emotionally, from a raid gone wrong when she is called in to be the lead on the case of a missing London socialite.  The missing person is young, beautiful, and rich, the daughter of a Lord who is not afraid to use his connections to get what he wants.  The case takes an immediate turn for the worse when the missing girls body is discovered, submerged in a frozen lake, on the same morning that Erika joins the team.  With the intense media interest, and pressure from the family to find the killer quickly it is all Erika can do to try and put the brakes on the investigation so that they investigate thoroughly without rushing to conclusions. 

When she finds herself on the wrong side of the victims family it soon becomes clear that Erika and her team are not looking for the while truth - the family wants a quick and tidy closure to the case that doesn't expose their dirty little secrets.  Determined to do the best job possible Erika continues to dig into the case, despite the mounting personal cost.  Blocked from access to the family she looks for answers to the questions that no one seems to want her to answer, and that puts her squarely in the cross hairs of the killer.  Erika has a reputation for getting the job done, but this time she might be fighting a losing battle.  The stakes have never been higher, because if she can't unravel the case the next victim might be Erika herself.

I have found books in the crime/thriller genres can be very hit and miss, especially when it comes to books set in the United Kingdom.  There are some brilliant authors out there writing British crime drama, and then there are some that I just can't get into - luckily The girl in the ice was one of the better ones.  There are some parts of the book that didn't flow as well as others, or seemed a touch too convenient, but it was a story that kept up the tension from start to finish and kept you guessing about who the killer was and why.  It is unusual for an author to be able to keep the pool of potential suspects so large right up until the end, and Bryndza kept the tension at just the right pace to keep you hooked and caring about what happened to the characters.  Apart from Erika the other characters are not particularly well defined, but that works for me, you discover more about the characters as you read the story which makes it more palatable and believable than if you get their full biographies at the start.

Like a lot of modern crime authors Bryndza has kept his chapters short and to the point, using chapters to move the action along without chopping and changing perspective constantly within the same chapter.  This was not the most polished read, but most authors in this genre take a few books to really polish their style, and there is a lot about the characters to like which means you don't really notice until you start comparing it to other reads.  A twisted and well thought out read that was well worth the time - especially the last 100 pages or so when the action and tension really ramps up as Erika closes in on the killer (and they close in on her)>

If you like this book then try:



Reviewed by Brilla

Friday, July 21, 2017

Lost girls by Merrie Destefano

When Rachel wakes up in a ditch, half buried in leaves she has no memory of how she got there.  There is more than one day missing though - Rachel has an entire year of memories missing.  The last thing she remembers is falling asleep listening to music in her own bed, she has no memory of cutting and dying her hair, losing weight, or making the bold decision to have a completely black wardrobe.  She has no idea why she has changed so much, or why she has let go of so many of the things she used to love.  Her parents are trying to be understanding, but the strain of her being missing has taken a toll on everyone.  When she returns to school she is in for an even greater shock, because her bestfriend is now her former bestfriend, and her new friends as the popular kids.

Trying to deal with the memory loss is bad enough, but an FBI agent is also sniffing around, trying to get Rachel to tell him what happened - asking her about missing girls around her age, missing girls names and photos that stir some deeply buried memories.  When she discovers a box hidden in her wardrobe that implies she has gotten involved with the clubbing scene Rachel is even more confused, especially when her friends freak out when she tries to ask questions.  As Rachel tries to dig into her recent past she gets more and more confused, especially when she discovers that she can fight - really fight, and that some people seem afraid of her.  Rachel is running out of time to unravel the mystery of what happened to her, because she may have forgotten what happened, but the people who did it to her know exactly what happened and can make it happen again.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up Lost girls as the description was quite vague and it could have gone several different ways - from the weird to the gruesome, what it did was strike the perfect balance between thriller / crime / science fiction / coming of age genres to create a unique and intriguing read that is best enjoyed in one sitting.  Because of the way Lost girls unfolds it is challenging to review it without giving away some of the best secret plot points and twists that make this a truly unique and outstanding novel. 

There are a lot of elements here that make it perfect for high school reading assignments with themes of friendship, drug taking, social control, peer pressure, self discovery, and making mistakes.  Beyond the themes it is also a well written and absorbing work of fiction that is screaming out to be made into a movie or mini series as it would translate well to the screen.  While it is aimed at teenagers, it also makes a great read for adults.  Because of the themes in Lost girls this book is best suited to older teens or younger teens who can handle mature themes (or younger teens who have an older person they can talk to if the book raises any issues for them).  A great read from a new voice in young adult fiction.

If you like this book then try:
  • What waits in the woods by Kieran Scott
  • Killer instinct by S. E. Green
  • Bang by Barry Lyga
  • Holding smoke by Elle Cosimano
  • Nearly gone by Elle Cosimano
  • The stranger game by Cylin Busby
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Burning blue by Paul Griffin
  • The Christopher killer by Alane Ferguson
  • I hunt killers by Barry Lyga
  •  by Laura WiessSuch a pretty girl
  • Hate list by Jennifer Brown
  • Dead to you by Lisa McMann
  • Living dead girl by Elizabeth Scott

Reviewed by Brilla

Monday, July 3, 2017

Pretty fierce by Kieran Scott

Eighteen months ago Kaia's life changed forever - both her parents died while they were on a family holiday and Kaia returned to the United States to live with her grandparents.  The only bright spark in her life is her boyfriend, otherwise she lives a completely ordinary life ... and if you believe that then you have bought her cover story.  Kaia'a parents didn't die while on holiday, they died while they were on a mission.  Kaia and her parents have traveled the world, which sounds glamorous but the life of a professional assassins is both challenging and dangerous.  

The last year and a half have been painful and lonely, but they have also been quiet and uneventful.  All that is about to change because someone has just painted a big target on Kaia's back, forcing her to go on the run (with her completely unprepared boyfriend in tow).  Kaia has been keeping her real identity a secret, and it is something of a shock for Oliver to discover that Kaia is more than she appears - but to be fair so is he.  Life on the run is dangerous and exciting, but if Kaia can't solve the mystery of who is after them then she and Oliver may not live long enough to see who wants Kaia - and for what purpose.

Pretty fierce has been one of my favourite discoveries of 2017 for any age group and in any genre.  Kieran Scott has created two characters that you instantly click with, and a scenario that is just this side of too far-fetched.  It is not often that I find a book that sucks you in to the point that you resent interruptions, but Pretty fierce was one of those books.  This is a fast paced book with rapidly switching points of view which means Scott has been able to give Kaia and Oliver clear voices, and gives you a clear understanding of their thoughts / feelings / motivations without having to resort to the 'voice of God' third person narrative.  There are little moments and little secrets that feel very real and honest, and it isn't until you get near the end that you realise what is actually happening.  

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Scott's other book, What waits in the woods, and was a little worried that Pretty fierce would not be as good - but I was worried about nothing!  This is one of my top picks for young adult readers for 2017, it has the perfect blend of relatable characters and a storyline that keeps you hooked from start to finish.  Hopefully there are more great things to come from Scott as finding a niche in the increasingly crowded young adult novel market is getting harder and harder - an author that deserves to be discovered and shared because you don't know what a treat you are missing.  


If you like this book then try:
  • What waits in the woods by Kieran Scott
  • The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
  • Killer instinct by S. E. Green
  • Lost girls by Merrie Destefano
  • Bang by Barry Lyga
  • Holding smoke by Elle Cosimano
  • I hunt killers by Barry Lyga
  • Nearly gone by Elle Cosimano
  • NEED by Joelle Charbonneau
  • The naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
  • The stranger game by Cylin Busby
  • The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen
  • Remember by Eileen Cook
  • Burning blue by Paul Griffin

Reviewed by Brilla

Friday, June 30, 2017

The pretender (ebook) by James Patterson and Andrew Bourelle

Logan is a thief who has worked his last job - the only thing he has left to do is split the loot with his partner Marco, and then he can go on his merry way.  It appears that Marco has other plans because he wants to meet in the middle of nowhere, and it soon becomes clear that Logan was right to be worried because Marco doesn't want to share the diamonds with his former partner.  Stuck at a stalemate Marco and Logan go their separate ways. 

Two years later Logan is living a simple life near the beautiful Lake Aloha, keeping a low profile while living off the profits of his last job.  It is a quiet life, and he stays under the radar to avoid unwanted attention.  When he meets Hannah he has no idea that she is about to make him big news - local and national.  His simple life is about to be anything but simple, and Logan is about to discover that there really is no honour among thieves.

I really enjoyed reading The pretender, it is a great little addition to the Bookshots series and was the perfect blend of action and suspense.  There is a nice little interpersonal relationship story that winds through the story, and it is a challenge to guess what could possibly be coming next.  Lots of fun to read and hopefully there are more Bookshots from Patterson and Bourelle as this was one of the better Bookshots I have read and deserves to be discovered!

If you like this book then try:
  • The shut-in by James Patterson and Duane Swierczynski
  • The house husband by James Patterson and Duane Swierczynski
  • Let's play make-believe by James Patterson and James O. Born
  • Private Royals by James Patterson and Rees Jones
  • Heist by James Patterson and Rees Jones
  • Black and Blue by James Patterson and Candice Fox
  • Airport code red by James Patterson and Michael White
  • Chase by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
  • French kiss by James Patterson and Richard DiLallo
  • The Christmas mystery by James Patterson and Richard DiLallo
  • French twist by James Patterson and Richard DiLallo
  • Kidnapped by James Patterson and Robert Gold
  • The hostage by James Patterson and Robert Gold

Reviewed by Brilla

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The witnesses (ebook) by James Patterson and Brendan Dubois

Retired police man and 9/11 survivor Ronald Temple knows that there is something suspicious about the family that has moved into the house next door.  They didn't arrive with a moving truck full of furniture and their old life - they arrived in hurry with only a few personal possessions.  Suspicious enough, but when you take their hulking (not to mention armed) companion into account it makes Ronald even more suspicious about what is happening the little house next door where neither of the children play outside and everyone stays away from the windows.

Things are just as tense inside the little house as the Sanderson family would rather be anywhere else than crammed together in a small house in nowhere New York.  Lance and Teresa are keeping secrets from their children Sam and Sandy - but that's okay because the kids are keeping secrets too!  What is going on with the Sanderson family, and who are the killers targeting?

This is one of the stranger Bookshots I have read because in a lot of ways it doesn't feel like your typical Bookshot, being a little more twisted and clever than most - but I did enjoy reading it and finished it in one sitting.  One of the best things about the Bookshot in ebook form is that I can download them and read them on my smartphone when I am on the bus or eating lunch - times when a full sized book would just get in the way.  An interesting read, and one that has a very satisfying ending if you manage to figure it out before the 'big reveal'.

If you like this book then try:
  • The shut-in by James Patterson and Duane Swierczynski
  • The house husband by James Patterson and Duane Swierczynski
  • Private Royals by James Patterson and Rees Jones
  • Heist by James Patterson and Rees Jones
  • Black and Blue by James Patterson and Candice Fox
  • Let's play make-believe by James Patterson and James O. Born
  • Chase by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
  • Airport code red by James Patterson and Michael White

Reviewed by Brilla

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Love me not by M. J. Arlidge

Love me not is the seventh book in the DI Helen Grace thrillers series so this review contains ***SPOILERS*** if you have not read the first books in the series.  While you can read this book independently you will get the most enjoyment out of reading the series in order.

Helen's name has been cleared and she is back on the force, but her time in prison has left a mark - on her and her team.  With her boss gone, Helen is covering her own job and trying to manage the team.  Trying to return to normal doesn't seem like it is on the cards, she has trouble sleeping and her apartment feels claustrophobic.  Her only real release is riding her new bike, purchased with compensation money after her wrongful arrest, conviction, and incarceration.  While riding her bike early one morning she is nearly run down by a speeding car on a country rode, and after saving herself from a nasty crash she discovers a body lying in the middle of the road - a victim of foul play.

Helen has no way of knowing that the woman lying in the road is just the first, that the body count will grow in a matter of hours.  What seemed to be a random attack is the first move on the part of a killer with a plan and their accomplice.  Helen and her team are used to dealing with grisly cases of murder, and they know the darker side of human nature, but the killers are working at an accelerated pace and the team is playing a desperate game of catch up to try and figure out who the killer is and what their endgame is.  The clock is ticking and the stakes are high, and before the day is out more victims will fall.

The DI Helen Grace novels are well written and extremely addictive - pulling together the best elements of the crime and thriller genres, while maintaining a brisk pace with short and snappy chapters that seem to read themselves.  I have been a huge fan of the series since the first book was released and await each offering with an eagerness that would be highly embarrassing if my mother wasn't also reading the series and was just as eager to get her hands on the series as I am! 

I have said this before, but in many ways Arlidge is an English James Patterson, writing books that are fast paced, kept lean, and keep you glued to the pages.  Both Arlidge and Patterson pare back on the dense details and let the story drive you forward rather than bogging you down with details that are usually there as set dressing rather than helping the story - in many ways the stories unfold like a television series which is no doubt from Arlidge's background in television. 

Somewhat surprisingly this book was originally advertised as being called Follow my leader, but somewhere along the line it changed to Love me not.  Having read the book I think I have an inkling of why, and Love me not feels like a better fit for the story.  Now comes the wait for the next book in the series!


If you like this book then try:



Reviewed by Brilla

Friday, June 16, 2017

The verdict (ebook) by James Patterson and Robert Gold

Working as the Global Head of Security for Tribeca Luxury Hotels means that Jon Roscoe has a mandate to ensure the absolute privacy and security of the guests at the chains luxury hotels all around the world.  Sometimes it's easier said than done, especially when one of the guests residing in the hotel is attending London's Old Bailey every day, charged with the attempted murder of his lover. 

It's all Roscoe can do to keep the press off the hotel grounds, especially one particularly aggressive member of the press who keeps testing his patience at every turn - and it doesn't help that Harvey Rylands is used to getting what he wants, and has no concern for the people who have to clean up after his messes.  With all the stress at work the last thing Roscoe needs is stress at home, but his teenage son Martin seems to have other plans.

The verdict was an exciting read, is a great addition to the Bookshots series, and an excellent companion to Kidnapped which also features Jon Roscoe.  This is the first Bookshots I have read as an ebook, and in some ways it was more exciting and tense than reading the tree book version because it was harder to tell how close to the end I was which naturally helped ramp up the tension!

I haven't read all the Bookshots because some of them have not appealed that much, or because I have started reading them and didn't like them that much - but Patterson and Gold seem to have struck gold (no pun intended) with this writing partnership.  I have read all of their Bookshots and thoroughly enjoyed them, and I look forward to each new one in the way that I look forward to the Patterson/Ledwidge outing.  There is a lot to like here and this series is a great way to start your Bookshots journey if you haven't tried one yet!
 
If you like this book then try:
  • Kidnapped by James Patterson and Robert Gold
  • The hostage by James Patterson and Robert Gold
  • The shut-in by James Patterson and Duane Swierczynski
  • The house husband by James Patterson and Duane Swierczynski
  • Private Royals by James Patterson and Rees Jones
  • Heist by James Patterson and Rees Jones
  • Black and Blue by James Patterson and Candice Fox
  • Chase by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
  • Airport code red by James Patterson and Michael White

Reviewed by Brilla

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Murder games by James Patterson and Howard Roughan

Once again a serial killer is stalking the good citizens of New York, and this one is playing a twisted game with a deck of cards.  Each victim has a different method of death and could be mistaken for simple murders or accidental deaths, except for the playing cards that are left on their bodies.  Detective Elizabeth Needham is determined to solve the case and stop the killer - even if that means roping in a civilian to help her solve the case.  Professor Dylan Reinhart is teaching yet another psychology course when Detective Needham crashes his lecture with an offer he can't refuse.

Someone is playing a very deadly game, and they hold all the cards - leaving the cops scratching their heads and wondering what is coming next.  The Mayor is determined to stop the killer in their tracks because his re-election is on the line, but his heavy handed approach and political manipulations aren't going to help catch a disciplined and clever killer.  As Detective Needham digs deeper into the case, Professor Reinhart goes along for the ride, offering advice and insight where he can - but helping the police could put everything he cares about at risk.  As the case heats up the secrets start bubbling to the surface as they race against the clock to stop a cunning and well organised killer who doesn't worried about MOs and sticking to the rules of the police handbook - or the rules of abnormal psychology as lectured by Professor Reinhart.

Murder games is another one of those books that is difficult to review because you constantly risk straying into spoilers - even when you don't mean to!  This is the third book full length novel I have read from Patterson and Roughan and I have come to love their combined style which seems to layer stories within stories, and secrets within secrets to keep you thoroughly hooked to the end and wondering if you have actually solved it before you have solved it.  When you meet Professor Reinhart you think you have him all figured out, but then you discover X, Y, and Z and it makes you realise you don't really know what you think you know.  And then there are the other cliche characters that don't turn out to be such a cliche after all!

Murder games has elements of the classic crime novel, but like their previous outings Patterson and Roughan have delivered a tensely written thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat as the action ramps up and you can't help but wonder if the good guys will win the day or whether they will be too slow and the body count will grow.  This does feel like it could be the start of a new series and I have to say that I would love to see these characters again as they break quite a few stereotypes, and there is a really good chemistry between the characters - not to mention the authors.  There is a lot to like here, and as it is either the start of a new series or a stand alone you don't have to worry about spoilers by reading things out of order!  Best enjoyed when devoured in one sitting (just saying).

If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Twelve angry librarians by Miranda James

Twelve angry librarians is the eight book in the Cat in the stack mysteries so this review contains ***SPOILERS*** if you have not read the first seven books in the series.  While you can read this series as standalone books it is best enjoyed read in series order so if you have not read the first books - then you may want to read them first before reading anymore of this review.

The Southern Academic Libraries Association, otherwise known as the SALA, is holding their annual meeting at Athena College.  As Charlie is the interim library director he has to play nicely with the other librarians and welcome them to the college - not an easy ask when one of the visiting librarians is his nemesis from library school.  It is something of a relief to know that Gavin Fong is pretty much universally disliked by his peers, but that doesn't make it any easier to deal with the arrogant man and his petty behaviour.  When one of their first interactions ends in a physical altercation Charlie is both embarrassed and angry, but it also leads to him being a potential suspect when Gavin Fong is murdered.

Charlie is no stranger to murder mysteries, and has even been a suspect before, but never have there been so many viable suspects before.  It seems as though Gavin Fong made enemies in every library he worked in, and over his career he has worked in many many libraries.  It seems that even Charlie's friends and colleagues are not above suspicion as they have all had problems with Gavin.  When a second body is found the tension rises - who could be behind the double murder?  With his reputation on the line Charlie can't help but dig into the mystery, which might just be putting his life in danger.  If all the excitement of the murders wasn't enough, Charlie has some tough decisions to make at home - especially when his daughter announces that she and her husband might be moving out of state after the birth of Charlie's first grandchild.  All this excitement is a lot for Charlie to handle, but luckily he has Diesel by his side!

I love the Cat in the stack mysteries - partly because I am a librarian myself and there is some wonderful in jokes, but also because I love cats and have had the pleasure of owning a Maine Coon myself and Diesel reminds me a lot of her (not to mention the everyday cat antics that he gets up to).  The in jokes step up a notch in this addition to the series because of the references to the librarians meeting (we have conferences like this in New Zealand) and because you just don't expect librarians to be so political and troublesome - unless you happen to be one!  Charlie has continued to grow on me as a character, and with each novel the legend of Charlie, his family, his boarders, his friends, and his town continues to grow.  I know that Miranda James is a pseudonym and that 'she' writes other series, but there is a very selfish part of me that wishes all 'her' time was devoted to the town of Athena, Mississippi! 

A very enjoyable read, and a good addition to the series.  We are obviously heading towards some changes for Charlie and I look forward to the continued character development as Charlie is starting to feel like a colleague I have worked with for years.  I highly recommend this series for anyone who loves a good murder mystery, or for anyone who likes a good read about libraries, or anyone who enjoys stories about the human animal bond that have strong character development.  A fine addition to the Cat in the stacks mysteries (fondly known as Charlie and Diesel in our house).

If you like this book then try:


Reviewed by Brilla

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Bang by Barry Lyga

When Sebastian was four years old he picked up his father's gun and pulled the trigger - killing his infant sister Lola in the process.  It was a single moment that changed the course of his family's life, and ten years later he can still see the pity and disgust on people's faces because of what happened.  His life has found a rhythm over the years, a rhythm that flows around his friend Evan during the day at school, and the comfortable distance with his mother at home - living two separate lives in the same house.  It has gone of for years, and could go on for many more years if not for the little voice in his head whispering that it is almost time.  A gun changed the path of his life, and the little voice is whispering and preparing him for when a gun ends it.

With Evan away for yet another summer the voice is getting louder - until a chance meeting that will change the course of Sebastian's entire summer.  Aneesa is new to the neighbourhood, someone who doesn't know his past and what happened, someone he can relax around without worrying about those looks.  Her family is a breath of normality, a family life that he never quite had because of the gun and the death, and his own family falling apart.  Aneesa doesn't expect anything of him, Sebastian can be himself, and it is a liberating thing.  Best of all, being with Aneesa quiets the voice in his head, makes him think that their can be a future for him after all.

Bang is an amazing book, not just because it tackles two very emotive topics with style and grace (suicide and the Muslim community), but also because Barry Lyga has once again created a book that is perfectly balanced with a beginning that sucks you in, a middle that keeps you hooked, and an ending that leaves you saying "wow".  Right up until the end I didn't know what was going to happen with Sebastian, whether he would commit suicide or not, and by the last page I realised I didn't feel let down either way - if he lived it wasn't 'happily ever after' and if he died then it wasn't a 'predictable ending' either.  Lyga has taken a young man and allowed you to see inside his head and his heart as he goes through the motions of living a life he no longer wants to live, and you get to experience some of the pain and anguish along with him.

If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Kidnapped by James Patterson and Robert Gold

Jon Roscoe has been in Chicago for the trial of Matteo Ginevra, who was faced criminal charges for the deaths of two construction workers.  It seemed like he was going to get his just desserts, but then another witness recanted their testimony and the case was dismissed - leaving Roscoe with a bitter taste in his mouth and the determination to see Ginevra brought to justice. 

When he arrives at the airport for his flight back to the United Kingdom for Christmas, he saves the life of a young woman - who turns out to be someone in desperate need of help.  He also stumbles across a vaguely familiar face, a young woman with her family who is travelling back home to the United Kingdom for Christmas as well.  When Roscoe finds a note asking for help his loathing for Ginevra turns into something deeper.  Roscoe is determined to help, but he is about to enter a very tangled web of lies, deceit and hidden enemies. 

Kidnapped is another excellent addition to the Bookshots series.  It is a well executed novel that manages to keep you hooked until the end and the big reveal of what has been going on.  Roscoe is an interesting character, with a wealth of backstory and a temper that would surely have gotten him in trouble in his past life as a police man.  I really enjoyed the suspense of the story, and the blended storylines that divided my attention but also kept the tension really high as I tried to figure out what was actually happening.  The ending was satisfying and well received - and hopefully this is not the last we have seen of Jon Roscoe.

If you like this book then try:
  • The hostage by James Patterson and Robert Gold
  • The shut-in by James Patterson and Duane Swierczynski
  • The house husband by James Patterson and Duane Swierczynski
  • Private Royals by James Patterson and Rees Jones
  • Heist by James Patterson and Rees Jones
  • Black and Blue by James Patterson and Candice Fox
  • Chase by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
  • Airport code red by James Patterson and Michael White

Reviewed by Brilla

Sunday, May 14, 2017

A court of wings and ruin by Sarah J. Maas

A court of wings and ruin is the third book in the A court of thorns and roses trilogy and you really need to read the series in order so do not read any more of this review as there are ***SPOILERS*** if you have not read the first books in the series.

After everything she has been through, and everything she has faced, it is the return to the Spring Court that nearly undoes her.  After finding her mate and finding peace with her 'family' to return to the stifling and controlling world of the Spring Court is almost more than she can bear, especially when Tamlin and his infamous temper have done such an impressive job of reminding her why she fled from him - her old bedroom destroyed beyond recognition.  She has to walk a careful line, appearing to be his love, but in reality working quietly against him.  It is a dangerous game to play, and one that she must play at all times so that she doesn't give away her duplicity - but if she can discover the plans of the King of Hybern it will be worth the risks. 

When she finally has to shed the illusion Feyre does so in her usual discreet and quiet way - striking a blow to Tamlin and his enemies that can not be ignored.  In freeing herself Feyre exposes some carefully kept secrets, and discovers just how dangerous the world can be for a fae female in some of the Courts.  When she fainlly makes it back to Rhys and the rest of their family she discovers that they have also been busy, seeking out secrets and searching for hints about what the King of Hybern is planning.  It is a time of planning for war, but it is also a time of Feyre trying to heal the rift with her sisters - turned into fae by the King Of Hybern against their will, and hiding secrets of their own.  Nesta is a force of rage and discontent, while Elaine has withdrawn and refuses to connect with the world.  While her heart breaks for the stated of her family Feyre can't let it distract her from the war that is coming.

With the enemy at their door it is time for the fae to leave their petty squabbles behind and join forces, but centuries of distrust and shifting lines of alliance have left them ill prepared to work together - and with the shattered trust that they have left behind them it might be impossible for Rhys and Feyre to forge an alliance in time.  As secrets are revealed war is inevitable, and every member of her new family has a part to play in the war that is coming.  War means choosing a side - and making sacrifices.  While Rhys and Feyre attempt to unit the Courts, the rest of their family tries to find other solutions - but will they find them in time?

I have loved this series - partly because it is so richly imagined, but also because Sarah J. Maas has written a series for teenagers that doesn't talk down to them or treat them like children.  Amazing themes have been explored through this series, themes that young people need to know about - but also that they experience anyway so why not acknowledge it and give them a series they can sink their teeth into?  I will add that this is a series for older and/or mature teens as some of the themes and violence will be unsettling for younger or less mature readers, but this is a series that deserves pride of place in the teenagers section (although there are a large number of adults, myself included, who have devoured and enjoyed this series). 

This series was described as a trilogy when I picked it up, and while the story arc is closed at the end of A court of wings and ruin, Maas has promised more stories from the land of Prythian so this is not the last we have seen of this world.  There are some amazing moments in the story, including some that had me going "no, no, no", and there are some moments that are brutal because they are so realistic but this was an amazing ride and Maas is fast becoming a leading voice in young adult and cross over fiction - she has characters with strong voices and incredible worlds, and hopefully she is writing for many years to come!

If you like this book then try:

  • A court of thorns and roses by Sarah J. Maas
  • A court of mist and fury by Sarah J. Maas
  • Arrows of the queen by Mercedes Lackey
  • Long may she reign by Rhiannon Thomas
  • Throne of glass by Sarah J. Maas
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore
  • Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst
  • The Fire rose by Mercedes Lackey
  • Reserved for the cat by Mercedes Lackey

Reviewed by Brilla

Saturday, May 6, 2017

The Nowhere man by Greg Hurwitz

The Nowhere man is the sequel to Orphan X, and while you can read the books independently there are ***SPOILERS*** in this review if you have not read the first book.  I highly recommend reading the books in order for the ultimate reading experience.


Evan managed to survive his scrape with the remains of the Orphan programme - but not without adding a few more mental and physical scars.  It wasn't enough to put him off helping people however, and with a well practiced moves his operation moves from one anonymous phone service to another.  Returning to his life and ways may seem foolish, but his network of safeguards and props have kept him (mostly) safe until now, and there is no reason to think that things won't keep running smoothly as long as he is careful. 


All the planning in the world can't protect him when he is caught off guard and taken down by a team that is fully prepared to take him down.  When he wakes up, he is puzzled to discover that he has been placed in a luxurious room that has been turned into a gilded cage.  The man holding him knows exactly what he wants from Evan, and even though he thinks he has the upper hand, he has no idea who he is really dealing with.  With a deadline looming Evan makes it his mission to escape so he can continue with his latest rescue mission, but Evan has never come across someone like Rene before - and Rene has never come across someone like Evan either.  Evan is determined to escape, but Rene is just as determined to get what he wants, and he doesn't care who pays the price.


I loved Orphan X when I read it earlier this year, and I was a little nervous about picking up The Nowhere man because sometimes the first book in a series is amazing, and then the rest of the series fizzles - I needn't have bothered because book two was another thrill ride that I had to read in one sitting.  Greg Hurwitz has found a well balanced writing style that keeps the tension and action moving at a fast pace, while remembering that there are people involved and that readers tend to lose interest when your characters are poorly written. 


I would compare the Orphan X series to a lot of the James Patterson novels - mainly because Hurwitz writes the series with short, sharp chapters that are highly focused on the story and the characters.  Evan is far from perfect, which makes him more relateable, and it is all too easy to feel the emotions he feels at different points in the books.  The 'villains' are also very well written, not James Bond or Alex Rider villains that are too bad or twisted to believed, but rather villains that are the products of their lives and (dare I say it) somewhat sympathetic villains because they were the result of their own upbringings and failures.


A great series, and hopefully there are many more books to come as the ending of The Nowhere man promises many good things to come.


If you like this book then try:
  • The killing kind by Chris Holm
  • Breaking Creed by Alex Kava
  • The Postcard killers by James Patterson and Liza Marklund
  • The basement: A novel  by Stephen Leather
  • City of the lost by Kelley Armstrong
  • Eeny meeny by M.J. Arlidge
  • Truth or die by James Patterson and Howard Roughan
  • Dead secret by Ava McCarthy
  • Never never by James Patterson and Candice Fox
  • Darkly dreaming Dexter by Jeffry P. Lindsay
  • Kiss the girls by James Patterson
  • Kill me if you can by James Patterson and Marshall Kamp

Reviewed by Brilla