Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Spirit Keeper, by K.B. Laugheed

Katie's family are Irish exiles living in the wild new colonies that will become America.  When her family is ambushed by Native Americans, Katie, her mother, and some of her siblings are captured.  Quickly, Katie forms a bond with her captors Syawa (a holyman) and Hector.  She chooses to leave her family and journey with the Native men back to their people; she has no idea what a journey it will end up being.

I thought this book was absolutely beautiful.  The writing is simple, and concise, but still so eloquent.  I loved hearing the story from Katie's point of view, and watching her bond with the two men throughout their journey.  I also liked how the story pointed out that Katie was unaware of her true abilities and strengths until Syawa pointed them out to her.  She often doubted Syawa's visions, but he was always correct, even if not in the way she expected.  It was a good metaphor for how we all doubt our own worth, and unable to see ourselves as others see us.

I thought the character development was incredible, and multi-layered.  Katie finds acceptance and love with men labeled as savages, while her own family end up being more savage than anyone.  I loved the way Katie related to each man, and how the men related to each other.  I found it interested to watch the dynamics shift over the course of the story.

All in all, I just found this book to be quite lovely.  It was a quick easy read that drew me in from the very beginning.

I received a review copy courtesy of TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review. See the rest of the tour here

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Monday, December 9, 2013

Red Phone Box, edited by Salome Jones

A red phone box.  It seems innocuous enough, a little outdated but nothing all that unusual.  But this red phone box in particular can take you places, physically and emotionally, that you never imagined you could go.  London is far more dangerous than anyone realizes, and the phone box plays a key, sinister role in this cycle of stories.

I wanted to love this book.  I thought it was such a cool concept.  58 installments, by 28 different authors, all weaving in and out of each other, all focusing on the mystical powers of the red phone booth.  Sounds amazing, right?  In many ways it was.  Despite having so many authors collaborating, the writing style is cohesive, the voices similar, and the tone consistent.  The actual story content, however, I found to be a bit scattered.  There were just a few too many things going on here for me.  I found it difficult to follow who was involved with whom, particularly when certain characters themselves could not keep it straight.

And speaking of characters, there were just too many. When you need to include a downloadable dramatis personae for your readers, you may want to consider scaling back on the number of characters It was hard to feel any real connection to any of the characters or even care what was happening to them because I just could not keep them straight.  This coming from a reader who often juggles up to 6 books at one time.  

I guess I went into this expecting something different (more Doctor Who-ish).  I still think the concept, and the writing, was good, just a little overly ambitious.

I received a review copy courtesy of TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.  See the rest of the tour here.

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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Haven, by Laury Falter

Kennedy goes to school, like she would on any normal weekday.  Today, however, is anything but normal.  A global epidemic has struck, and Kennedy, along with several classmates, has found a haven inside the high school.  Outside, The Infected wander around seeking victims.  What has happened to the world, and how are they going to survive this mess?

There is so much about this novel that I really loved.  First off, yes, this is essentially a zombie story; however, just like the original Night of the Living Dead, the "z word" is never uttered.  Instead we are given a somewhat clinical explanation as to what is infecting people.  I like that, I felt like it stayed true to the history of the zombie genre.  The book struck me as The Walking Dead for the high school set; again, I think this is a good thing.  

I really liked the characters of Kennedy and Harrison.  I thought they were well developed and had a rich, dimensional role in the story.  I liked that Kennedy was a strong female character, in many ways equal, if not superior to, Harrison.  I also liked the romantic storyline between the two characters.  Even in a world full of chaos, love can bloom.

The story seems to be marketed to young adults; however, there is enough of a storyline to also engage adult readers.  The book ends a little abruptly, mostly to hook the reader for the next installment of the series.  All in all, I thought this was a good book, proving that there is still life (reanimated life at least) in the zombie genre.

I received a review copy courtesy of TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.  See the rest of the tour here.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Steel City Murder, by Jeff Boarts

George Cooper has not been home from the war long, and he has spent most of his time stateside trying to establish himself as a reporter.  When a beautiful young girl named Ruth is accused of murdering a war hero, George finds himself smack in the middle of the biggest story in Pittsburgh.  He also finds himself falling for the suspect.  But did she really do it?

I have said, in the past, that mysteries were not really my thing.  Guess what?  It is official.  This book has made me a mystery fan.  In his third novel, Jeff Boarts has seamlessly blended the mystery/thriller with a caper and a romance.  The characters of George and Ruth are familiar to fans of Boarts, but this is the story of how they met and fell in love.  I adored seeing this glimpse of their past; the author does a wonderful job of fleshing out their younger selves, while staying consistent with the older version he established in previous books.

I greatly enjoyed the story.  The setting of Pittsburgh in the days leading up to wartime prohibition was just familiar enough to make me feel comfortable, but unique enough to weave a rich story world.  The story is full of chase scenes and action, and I could really imagine it in detail, thanks to the writing.  There is a decent amount of modest romance, a fair dose of humor, and at the very heart of the book, an incredibly well written mystery.  I legitimately was surprised at the end of the story.

So, this is the book that made me a mystery reader.  And I bet it will make you one as well.

I received a review copy courtesy of the author in exchange for my honest review.

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