Monday, January 26, 2015

Gemini Cell - Myke Cole

Gemini Cell: A Shadow Ops Novel by Myke Cole (Jan 27, 2015)


Book Description

January 27, 2015
Myke Cole continues to blow the military fantasy genre wide open with an all-new epic adventure in his highly acclaimed Shadow Ops universe—set in the early days of the Great Reawakening, when magic first returns to the world and order begins to unravel…

US Navy SEAL Jim Schweitzer is a consummate professional, a fierce warrior, and a hard man to kill. But when he sees something he was never meant to see on a covert mission gone bad, he finds himself—and his family—in the crosshairs. Nothing means more to Jim than protecting his loved ones, but when the enemy brings the battle to his front door, he is overwhelmed and taken down.

That should be the end of the story. But Jim is raised from the dead by a sorcerer and recruited by a top secret unit dabbling in the occult, known only as the Gemini Cell. With powers he doesn’t understand, Jim is called back to duty—as the ultimate warrior. As he wrestles with a literal inner demon, Jim realizes his new superiors are determined to use him for their own ends and keep him in the dark—especially about the fates of his wife and son…



This is a fantastic book from the Military/Fantasy genre.  It is actually a prologue to the Shadow Ops series I don’t really like Zombie based speculative fiction, but I liked how Mr. Cole handled it.
 However, how this book is written may keep this series to a smaller audience.  There are a lot of strong kick-butt scenes –with a few slightly quixotic relationships. It may be better to stick with the kick-butt, politicking and fighting relationships and leave the romance alone.
I have a feeling that I would not have been so disappointed in this book had I read the others in this series. However, as a set up for exactly what the ‘Gemini Cell’ is, this book is fantastic and has even tempted me to try the first book.
It would be   difficult to describe to a possible reader just what the Gemini Cell is – but I can tell you that they are part of a secret branch of the government (naturally!).  So far, the ‘experiment’ in using these ‘people’ is not working out too well.

What I did have larger  issues with is Mr. Coles’ world of magic is explained away very much like the one in Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels series.  In addition, the Zombie aspect is very much like Kate’s Vampires.  I realize that this is a genre in which some authors ideas may overlap – but this part of this world seemed to overlap quite a bit for me. Later in the book (the ending actually) Mr. Cole breaks Jim out of the mold and I really loved this aspect.  This is why I want to follow my instincts and read more of the series. I think the rest of the series will break the mold.

ARC supplied by publisher.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

A Match for Addy

Available for Pre-order. This item will be released on February 1, 2015.

      Product Details                    Book Description

February 1, 2015
In Search of True Love
Spinster Addy Coblentz fears she'll never marry. So her parents hire the new matchmaker who's moved to their Amish community of Seven Poplars. But Addy doesn't just want a match. She wants love. While some of her potential suitors are perfectly fine, only one man catches her eye. Gideon Esch is everything Addy's looking for: strong, kind—and handsome. But he's only a poor hired hand who can never give her family the stability they want. With her future happiness at stake, will Addy follow the rules…or follow her heart?
THE AMISH MATCHMAKER: Bringing love to Seven Poplars—one couple at a time!

This was an interesting read.  It ends on a very satisfying note.  On one hand, we get to see what appears to be an insider’s view of the Amish heritage and learn how they do certain things.  This is one of the most interesting aspects of this book.  But on the other hand:
Dorcas or as we soon find out, Addy seems to be according to her parents, in desperate need of a husband.  Especially one well off enough to take care of them in their old-age. Now Addy is supposed to be a plain, Plain girl and she is almost 30.  (Yes, I meant to type the word ‘plain’ twice since the Amish are sometimes called the Plain People).  Addy is constantly being reminded by her mother that she needs a husband and that she owes it to her parents to do so as soon as possible, that Addy is being too picky.  I suppose the mother means well in her own way, but as I am a non-Plain woman, it struck me as a non-Amish way to be (at least looking at if from the point of view from the other Amish and Mennonite books I have read).

Right off the bat Addy meets up with the handsome Gideon who happens to be the local matchmaker’s hired hand.  This was not the best of circumstance in which to meet!

Now Gideon just really rubbed me the wrong way – if this were not a book about the Amish, I think I could have expected him to be a player just strutting his stuff all of the time, waiting for the women to fall down at his feet!  This is how he acted.  One minute he is preening for Addy, wetting down his shirt and hair and singing – loudly. I was waiting for him to strip out of his shirt and flex his manly muscles at her and then do a dance! He is actually ticked at Addy because she was ignoring him while talking to another man and the next minute he claims that he thinks of her as ‘another sister’.   Why does Gideon, who  in  his 30’s, keep thinking of the men and women he frolics with as boys and girls?  I couldn’t seem to wrap my head around that.  I understand the Amish are not worldly – but Gideon seems to be more so than most others are and I would have expected him to  act more like an adult.

I had to keep reminding myself as I was reading this book, that this was about the Amish or I really would have been annoyed as to how this story spun out. These two thirty-something’s act like schoolyard children and I eventually wanted to give up on the book.  However, I did not because I really wanted to see if Gideon finally steps up to bat, so to speak and admits to his true feelings.  The last 20% of the book makes everything come together and makes you appreciate the story more.

The writing is good, the romance aspect is a little frustrating and the story is a little repetitive, but the lessons a reader will learn in pride goeth before a fall, makes up for some of the flaws. I ended up enjoying this book more than I thought I would.

ARC supplied by publisher.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Strange Magic by James Hunter

Strange Magic: A Yancy Lazarus Novel (Pilot Episode) by James Hunter (Jan 16, 2015)



Book Description

January 16, 2015
Yancy Lazarus is having a bad day: there’s a bullet lodged in his butt cheek, his face looks like the site of a demolition derby, and he’s been saran-wrapped to a banquet table. He never should have answered the phone. Stupid bleeding heart—helping others in his circles is a good way to get dead.

Just ask the gang members ripped to pieces by some kind of demonic nightmare in LA. As a favor to a friend, Yancy agrees to take a little looksee into the massacre and boom, he’s stuck in a turf war between two rival gangs, which both think he’s pinch-hitting for the other side. Oh, and there’s also a secretive dark mage with some mean ol’ magical chops and a small army of hyena-faced, body-snatching baddies. It might be time to seriously reconsider some of his life choices.

Yancy is a bluesman, a rambler, a gambler, but not much more. Sure, he can do a little magic—maybe even more than just a little magic—but he knows enough to keep his head down and stay clear of freaky-deaky hoodoo like this business in LA. Somehow though, he’s been set up to take a real bad fall—the kind of very permanent fall that leaves a guy with a toe tag. Unless, of course, he can find out who is responsible for the gangland murders, make peace in the midst of the gang feud, and take out said magical dark mage before he hexes Yancy into an early retirement. Easy right? Stupid. Bleeding. Heart.

Strange Magic" (can't seen to get that damn song out of my head now---->)I got it as an ARC from the NetGalley/PUBLISHER not the author.

I'm sorry to say that it looks as though I am the only one that found this entry to be somewhat lackluster. Oh it is filled with tons of kick-butt fighting (swords too!) and a lot of action, but the reader is plopped into a world that some of us just won't understand. I know an author is supposed to show and not tell, but a little explanation at the beginning of the book would have gone a long way to keep me interested and I would have enjoyed it all that much more.

The style of writing is a tad choppy, the inner dialoguing and grandstanding seemed to be in excess and the fact that you could never get a firm hold on the protagonists (Yancy) age was annoying at best; one minute talking like a hip-hop speaking teen and the next sounding like a 70 year old man. I felt no empathy with Yancy even though he really has a hard time of it. Actually none of the characters - main, secondary or tertiary, elicited any emotion from me. So much was dumped on the reader - chapter after chapter; something new to fight, something bigger and badder, just more - it just appears to be a hopeless cause after a while.

What I did like is that Yancy seems to have more going for him than he seems to know about magic wise and that bodes well for future books. Though he came close to being a 'mary-sue' figure in this book, Yancy and the author managed to squeak by on that one.

This books pages seemed to have been multiplying while I was reading it. The info claims it is only 217 page long, which should take me at the most (if it's a good book) 4 hours to read...nope it took me what seemed to be forever, and that tells me a lot.

As much as I hate to say something so sexist like this - here goes - this really seems to be a 'mans' novel. It is filled with a ton of fighting,machismo, swearing,Vietnam war stories and the blues (music that is) as well as magic. No world building, no explanations, you are just plopped into the world with no explanation and need to fend for yourself. I kept thinking maybe I'll get an explanation later in the book.

This was difficult for me to finish.

ARC supplied by NetGalley.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Importance of Being Alice by Katie MacAlister

Book Description

January 6, 2015
First in a new series!

From New York Times bestselling author Katie MacAlister comes a series about finding your own wonderland—through one roadblock at a time....

Nothing about Alice Wood’s life is normal right now. Her fiancé, Patrick, called off their wedding and relationship only days before their nonrefundable wedding trip. And though a luxurious European river cruise for one is just what she needs, it’s not what she gets....

Due to a horrible misunderstanding, Alice is now cramped in her “romantic” suite with one of Patrick’s friends. Instead of cruising along the Rhine, Main, and Danube rivers sipping champagne with the love of her life, she’s navigating the waters with a strange—yet mysteriously handsome—British aristocrat.

A baron of dubious wealth—and not-so-dubious debt—Elliot Ainslie is just looking forsome alone time to write the books that keep his large family afloat. But his stodgy, serious self is about to be sidetracked by a woman who seems to have jumped out of the pages of a fairy tale, one who is determined to shake up his life...and include him in her own happily ever after.

Yes, Katie's books seem to follow a certain sort of formula and MOST of her books follow this. Maybe formula is the wrong word -I'll give you an example of what I mean : "nnrng and foowah" using these non-words during sex, this sort of thing is found in most of her books, think Noble Intentions (Noble series) for one. The first few times this is amusing even maybe snort worthy, after a few years it gets to be almost expected. It may be amusing to new readers but what happens to us old timers who have been there from the very first book? It has gotten old to us.

This particular book was a little harder for me to swallow than many of Katies past efforts. Some scenes just seem to go on forever, I did not feel much empathy or sympathy with the main characters and I actually disliked them at times. suspending disbelief is a must when you are reading fiction, but in this book I felt I needed to suspend it too much; to the point of wanting to just put the book aside instead of finishing it.

This is being called a "sweet romance" -trust me, Katie proves that she can get down and dirty with the best of them with this book. No, the sex is basically shrouded in euphemisms like usual - but some of the sex seems to go on forever and ever. Plus there are more scenes in this book than I am used to with one of Katies novels.

I think I've grown too old for these newer offerings. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Blood Assassin (The Sentinels Series Book 2)

Blood Assassin (The Sentinels Series Book 2)
Blood Assassin (The Sentinels Series Book 2)
Price: $5.84

Book Description

 December 30, 2014They are the outcasts of humanity. Blessed with power. Cursed by fate. Driven by passion. The Sentinels have returned. . .
Out Of The Shadows
At six-foot-three and two-hundred-fifty pounds, Fane is a natural born guardian. A flawless mix of muscled perfection and steely precision, he has devoted years of his life to protecting a beautiful necromancer. But after she found love in the arms of another, Fane has been a warrior adrift. He swears allegiance only to the Sentinels. And no woman will ever rule his heart again. . .
Into The Fire
Not only a powerful psychic, Serra is that rare telepath who can connect to minds through objects. When the daughter of a high-blood businessman is kidnapped, Serra agrees to help. But when she stumbles onto a conspiracy involving secrets sects and ancient relics, her life is in mortal danger--and Fane is her only hope. Is the warrior willing to risk his body, his soul, and his heart, for Serra? Or will one last betrayal destroy them both?
Praise for Born in Blood
"Ivy's fans will be invested in the development of romances introduced between supporting characters as well as further building of this conflicted universe." --Publishers Weekly"An exciting and sizzling new paranormal romance series." --RT Book Reviews

This is not going to be a nice review, or even a politely critical one - it is more of a rant. I apologize in advance for this. This is a famous author and I have to wonder why all of the first timer mistakes. Granted, until this series I had never read a word by her so maybe this is the way she always writes.

I had such high hopes for this book AND this series. I really have to agree with the reviewer who said that this was a "misrepresented" book.

Was the heroine kick ass? No, she was a whiner who couldn't even do her job even though she is supposedly one of the most powerful.

Was the hero a steely, hot, sexy, good looking, brooding, smelly, sweaty, grimacing man - well yes; and didn't that just get on my last nerve to have this regurgitated nearly every other page.

Was this an action romance or was this urban fantasy - neither.

ARC supplied by publisher

Again agreeing with the other reviewer - had I had to read the word grim or grimace just one more time I would too have pulled out my own eye balls.