Review: Dark Exodus by Thomas S. Sniegoski

dark exodus

Dark Exodus by Thomas S. Sniegoski

The Demonists #2

July 11, 2017 – Roc

Purpose: Review

Source: Netgalley

4.5 stars

I was given a copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.
Mild spoilers for the first book

Wow! This book turned everything that I knew or assumed on its head. In this installment, John and Theo have realized that what happened the previous Halloween wasn’t an accident, someone had manipulated them to be at the house and to find the jar of demons there. Now they are trying to find out who it was and why, while other infernal incidents vie for their attention. New characters join John and Theo’s team, old characters have bigger parts and the infernal side gathers new followers and minions.

But, everything isn’t as it seems.  In this one, as the story progresses we get more backstory for a couple of the characters. This allows us to see more of the bigger picture, and all the reasons that we make it to the ending the way that we do. We also see that the clear line between the infernal and the divine is not as clear as we suspect it to be. Each of the characters are faced with their own set of challenges and obstacles, as the infernal manipulate and move along in the background.

And I loved every minute of it.  I was surprised at some of the things that were happening, wondering how I had missed so much. While almost everything seemed to be wrapped up at the very end, it’s not. There are seeds for what is going to happen, some of the challenges/temptation that the characters will face in the next book. And I have to say that I can’t wait for it. This was just as engrossing as the first book, if not more so. More emotional strings were pulled and while other sides may or may not be clear, I was still rooting for John and Theo’s unconventional group to save the day.

 

Always Shine!

Review: Pinned by Sharon G. Flake

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Pinned by Sharon G. Flake

October 1, 2012 – Scholastic Press

Source: Personal Collection

Purpose: #offmybookshelf, #blackwritersmatter

4 stars

Autumn is the only girl on the wrestling team.  She is a super star on the mats but failing in the classroom. Adonis is the team manager and an exceptional student. But, he was born without legs. If I had to describe the book with one word it would be real.  The writing had a nice rhythm. The characters were distinct and relatable. Adonis was a bit conceited, but still understandable.  Both of the characters have their own issues that they need to work through. Autumn and Adonis are both soaring in one area and struggling in others. Autumn’s issues stems from her inability to read. This is due to the fact that her parents were always moving around during her educational foundation years, and they didn’t really care.  So it doesn’t appear that she is dealing with a disability. But Adonis is living with a physical disability. He is accepting of it, but overcompensates by attempting to be perfect in every area of his life. Flake handles both of these issues realistically and respectfully, as far as I can tell from an outsider’s perspective. This was a pretty quick read but it was packed with  so much.

 

Review: The Secrets You Keep

secrets you keep

The Secrets You Keep by Kate White

March 21, 2017 – Harper Paperbacks

Fiction, Psychological Thriller, Adult

Purpose: Review

Source: Requested from the publisher

2 stars

I was given a copy of this book, free, in exchange for my honest opinion,

Bryn Harper is recently recovering from a car accident that she can’t remember. She is now living full time with her husband of two years. What was once a working commuter relationship is now beginning to fray around the edges. When the chef from the catering company hired for a dinner party ends up dead, Bryn’s world begins to come undone and the man she thought she knew reveals himself as a stranger.

First, I want to say that I really like the idea of this story. It was what caught my eye and caused me to reach out to the publishing company for the chance to review it.  Unfortunately, I have to admit that I found that the writing was a bit formulaic and it was easy to predict what was going to happen. Within the first 50 pages, I was aware that there was something off. Either Bryn had to know more than what she was saying or the author, White, was working overly hard to make us look in a certain direction.  Psychological thrillers, if done correctly, will leave me questioning everything that I had assumed to know about what was happening in the book. With this story though, I could spot what the author was doing immediately. Psyc Thrillers work the same as magic, it is a subtle nudge to look in one direction while the truth lies in the other.  With this book though, the author heavy-handedly told where to look. This made me look in the opposite direction. Because of this, I knew the big reveal almost 300 pages before it happened.

With that being sad, I continued reading, because it was interesting to watch Bryn flail desperately throughout the rest of the story. I wanted to see how the messages of her dreams played out in the full scale of the mystery. Again, that was disappointing. And the ending? The most disappointing of all. The story unravels and then ends. But then as an afterthought, White adds a chapter to tie up all of the loose ends still hanging around at the end of the story. Not only that, but even after all that Bryn has been through we see about to make the same choice/mistake that she made to get her in the position she was originally in. You would think that she would have learned more from her experience and attempt to be a bit more cautious. You would think that she would not immediately jump from one stranger to the next, and yet. She does.

If I hadn’t picked up another book by White, I would confidently say that I wouldn’t read her again. But, I came across one of her older titles for a steal of a dollar and couldn’t pass on it. So, maybe I will ty her again a little while from now and see if The Secrets You Keep was just a fluke.

Always Shine!

 

Review: The Demonists by Thomas S. Sniegoski

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The Demonists by Thomas S. sniegoski

The Demonist #1

April 5, 2016 – Roc

Purpose: Review

Source: Requested for Review

 4.5 stars

I was given a copy of this book, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.

Click on the image for Goodreads summary.

It is the hope that in the end, good will overcome evil. John and Theo are one of the many defenses that keeps the demons from overstretching their domain. Theo becomes a literal and physical defense as the demons have taken up residence inside of her. John’s search for a way to save his wife takes him across the globe, and into deeper darkness than he was aware possible. But there is so much more going on, and it may be more than the couple can handle.

I have to admit that I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have been wanting to pick up something by Thomas S. Sniegoski for a long time, and I am glad that I finally did. This is a blend of fantasy and horror, heavy on the horror. Especially depending on your own personal beliefs. With stories about vampires and werewolves, it’s easy to dismiss. But stories of demons? These hellish entities are written in the core of almost every religious belief, even if the practice of exorcism has disappeared from our modern eyes. Paranormal stories of ghosts, benign and malevolent spirits are especially creepy, since most everyone has experienced something that defies logical explanation at some point in their life. And it’s this familiarity that Sniegoski uses to makes it easy to accept Theo’s situation and the potentially real danger that the missing kids face.

The world in this book is our world, the only difference is that the spiritual veil has been removed for certain people. We are able to see behind this veil through their eyes. And it isn’t pretty. Scaly demons. Inhumane strength. Undulating flesh. It’s all here within the pages, waiting to feed on fear and twist dreams into nightmares. Fast paced and characters that invest you  in the story and the fate of the world.

If you’re looking for a good story, that keeps you on the edge of your seat I would recommend this one. I would also recommend it if you enjoy reading the works of someone with a very twisted imagination. I can’t wait to start the second book in the series and I am sure that I will be reading his other series sooner rather than late.

Always Shine!

 

Review: Steeplejack by A.J. Hartley

Steeplejack

Tomorrow is my stop on the Firebrand Blog Tour.  And you should definitely come back to see my thoughts on that one, and enter the giveaway.

Today though, I will be sharing my thoughts on Steeplejack, the first book in the Alternative Detective series.

SteepleJack By A.J. Hartley

Alternative Detective #1

June 14, 2016 – Tor Teen

4 stars

I was given a copy of this book, free, In exchange for my honest opinion.

Anglet Sutonga is a seventeen-year old steeplejack, a person who climbs talk buildings to do work. She is comfortable dangling over the city at ridiculous heights. The story starts with her waiting for her apprentice to show, but he never does. She is uneasy and discovers that this is due to the beacon, the jewel of Bar- Selehm, missing. Soon she discovers that Berrit did show up, but was murdered.  Her desire to seek justice and uncover the person responsible for Berrit’s death leads her to places she never imagined she be. Hired to investigate, she uncovers strange connections between the growing number of deaths, the missing beacon and other strange things happening around the city.

To be honest, when I first started reading this I didn’t think I was going to like it. I thought that I had made a mistake in signing up for the blog tour. But, as I continued the story grew on me, Anglet grew on me. Still, it wasn’t until the end of the book that I was truly enjoyed it for what it was. The mystery that carries the story from the beginning to end was masterfully unfolded, and the problems that I had with the story had nothing to do with that. Though I was able to guess some of the key players early on in the story, I wasn’t able to put it altogether until the end. The characters were well developed and interesting, though some of their appearances weren’t truly explained.

This story is dependent on the culture, politics and racial tension of Bar-Selehm. The only problem with this is that it shifts from the strange to the familiar. Is Bar-Selhm a real place somewhere in history? In our history? This is the problem with the story, some of the words and races are foreign to the reader (or at least to me). But when they are further described its done so with things that are familiar to us. It was disjointed and pulled me out of the story.

The ending was the best for this story. I liked the way that Anglet grew as a character throughout the story. Surprisingly, even Rahvey’s grew throughout the story, in a way that kind of made me proud of her. In the end, I enjoyed this story. Though I am not sure what else can be done in this world, I am definitely looking forward to book 2.

Always Shine!

Review: Haven of Swans by Colleen Coble

Haven of Swans (Rock Harbor #4)

Haven of Swans by Colleen Coble

Rock Harbor #4

May 2, 2017 – Thomas Nelson

Purpose: Review

Source: Netgalley

3 Stars

I was given a copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Full disclosure, I read this book a long time ago. It was originally titled Abomination. I wasn’t sure until I had started reading it, and then it was déjà vu than actually remembering.

Bree is driving down a dark road when she comes across a woman with her daughter. The woman has been injured and obviously scared of something or someone. But, she has no memory of who it was or what has happened to her. Nick is devastated to learn that his daughter is missing and his ex-wife has been killed at the hands of the serial killer called Gideon.

This is the fourth in the series, but I haven’t read the first three in the series. (I didn’t know that it was part of a series the first time I read it.) For the most part, it reads as a stand-alone. I did enjoy this story, I found it a nice balance of suspense and mystery. It was well-written and perfectly paced. Eve struggles between not remembering and surprising instincts. She knows that she is running from someone, but no idea who or why. She has made friends and feels safe in Rock Harbor. Nick turns his grief into focus and is determined to catch Gideon. This book is about more than finding a killer and a past one can’t remember. It’s about faith, love and finding one’s way back.  I am interested in continuing with this series.

Netgalley Review: One Was Lost

One Was Lost

Netgalley Review: One Was Lost by  Natalie D. Richards

October 6, 2016 – Sourcebooks Fire

Source: Netgalley

4 stars

I was given a copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.

6 students and 2 teacher chaperones go into the forest for wilderness survival mandatory senior trip. After a flash flood the group is separated, 3 on one side and 5 on the other.  When Sera, Emily, Jude and Lucas wake up they find their chaperone, Mr. Walker, drugged and words etched on their wrists. Deceptive, damaged, dangerous and darling.  Each one has been labelled and no one knows what it means.

I’m  glad that I finally picked this book up. It kept popping up at bookstores and I was drawn to it. The mystery was very well developed and paced. As I tried to figure out who was behind everything, I found myself becoming more and more paranoid. Like the characters were.  The character growth that happened was believable, as well as relatable. Because there are some seriously twisted people in the world, the plot isn’t too far from being realistic. We watch as the characters begin to take on a new understanding of labels that they have put on one another. We also see them embrace and accept themselves, and one another, for who they are and not the labels that were applied to them (literally since they have been written on skin).

 

Always Shine!