Book Review – Lake Nutaq by Ron Ripley

Yet another book review of a Berkley Street installment! Lake Nutaq is the 6th book in the series by Ron Ripley and is even better than the last one.

Lake Nutaq (Berkley Street Series Book 6)

Awesome. Just awesome. It’s amazing how many injuries Shane can sustain and still keep ticking! He’s no longer super depressed, thank goodness. His depression and drinking made it difficult to keep reading at times before. But now he seems to be on the mend…emotionally speaking. Yay! Except I doubt people would say he’s still handsome when he’s missing bits and pieces and chunks of himself. Yowzahs!

I loved the bonus story about Patience. Throughout the whole book I had been wondering about her character and was a bit disappointed not to have gotten her back story…until I started reading the bonus chapters. It was a satisfying background but I was still wanting more. I mean, they mention the Reverend more than once in a way that made me think he was important but he wasn’t.

And then in the story itself there’s the unfinished business with the Englishman and The Woman. Who is she? What’s going on at Lake Nutaq? I really hope these questions are answered at some point. I want to know!!!

The version I read of Lake Nutaq was the audiobook. They’ve all been audiobooks. Shane and the other characters (even the female ones whom he doesn’t do so great a job on) will always be connected with Thom Bowers’ voice. There are times his German sounds a bit on the French side and his Italian sounds like I don’t even know what but, except for the first book, there isn’t much call for foreign voices so I’m content to overlook it. If you’re not the type to overlook something like that, go for the book instead of the audiobook. It’s an excellent series!

For me, Lake Nutaq is perhaps my 3rd favorite in the series, the first two being the first two in the series. My least favorite is Sanford Hospital. Ugh. Super depressing and infuriating. And yet I still enjoyed that one as well.

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Book Review – Shallow Graves by Patrick Logan

Horror book review this time.

Shallow Graves by Patrick Logan

I didn’t care for all the sex talk in the beginning of the book. It didn’t seem necessary to talk so much about a certain piece of dangling southern male anatomy and go into so much detail for the beginning sex scene. Just because it’s an adult horror novel doesn’t mean it needs that kind of imagery and language. I’m not a prude but it seems unnecessarily vulgar to call it a c**k every time. It dimmed down after a bit, thank goodness, and my interest picked up with the horror taking more of a front row.

After the horror took center stage, I found it an enjoyable read. I kept getting taken out of the story though because the daughter wasn’t even 10 and Robert kept leaving her alone and not paying attention to her at all. I mean, practically an entire day would go by before he’d remember her existence. I had my suspicions why toward the end, but still. It wasn’t a good enough reason for me but I won’t go into it because of spoilers.

One thing annoyed me big time and caused my interest to wane at the end. Shelley. She’s supposed to be the “best” according to a bunch of internet people, but everything she does and talks about seems to be theoretical. She doesn’t seem experienced at all, just well-read with ghostly matters. Her warning Robert that’s it’s super important not to let the ghosts touch him seems completely useless because he’s touched 3 of them by the end without anything happening to him. True, he only gets “touched by” 2 of them, but that seems pretty nit-picky. If you’re doing the touching or being touched, the end physical contact is the same.

Another thing about Shelley I don’t like is that she’s supposed to have the mouth of sailor, but all she ever says is sh** and f***. Not very creative. It’s like her dialogue was written out and then the writer stuck in the F word in various places to give her a potty mouth. There are lots of ways to cuss and I can sometimes appreciate it. Her dialogue wasn’t creative though. Her cussing was boring and contrived and her dialogue, likewise, was boring and lecture-y.

Also, she was pretty mean I thought. She and Robert didn’t get along but he thought they did? I’m assuming that must’ve been the spirits/house/whatever making him different and horny because there was no indication of them getting along. She was condescending and snobbish to him.

This book was all right. Not great but not really bad. The horror part was really good but there was too much else that annoyed me. If you don’t mind everything I had an issue with, you’ll probably like it. There was some really great stuff in Shallow Graves.

Book Review – The Ghost of Marlow House by Bobbi Holmes

!!!WARNING!!! I’m usually pretty nice with my reviews. That’s not the case this time.

The Ghost of Marlow House (Haunting Danielle Book 1) by Bobbi Holmes

The plot was so predictable I guessed nearly everything right in the beginning. We’re talking as soon as something was mentioned, I knew it would be integral to the plot and mostly how it would all work out. The only surprise was at the end with the last plot point to wrap up. I can’t say it because I don’t want to spoil it for others. It wasn’t a “Oh wow! I didn’t see that coming!” kind of surprise. More like a “Seriously? They sure pulled some strings to make that work out.” Oh, wait. There was one more surprise at the end that elicited the same kind of response. Those two “surprises” wrap things up very nicely. There’s a lovely little bow and everything. One might say that I’m just good at predicting the outcome etc, but I’m really not. I’m the one at the end going “Holy Cow! I did NOT see that coming!!” while everyone else is like, “pfft whatever.” If everything in the book was obvious even to me, it was seriously obvious.

All the characters sounded alike and weren’t fleshed out properly. Conflicts arise only to be concluded with minor work. The point of view would change constantly! That was a huge deal for me. From one paragraph to the next, there was a chance the PoV would change. Hell, from one sentence to the next sometimes. For me that’s like a giant flashing red danger sign warning that there’s bad writing ahead. But I kept reading because the idea for the book was interesting. Unfortunately, the potential for good was never reached and I was left seriously disappointed.

Then there were the impromptu history and human rights lessons that sounded completely scripted. I thought I was reading about a mystery about a ghost haunting an old house that was being renovated into a B&B, but suddenly people were talking about black women’s rights in Oregon in the 1920s. Whenever they started talking about these sorts of things, the dialogue would get supremely flat and everyone (though they all sounded similar to begin with) sounded exactly alike. It was ridiculous.

Add to all of that the extemporaneous details such as Dani’s friend ordering a martini and you’ve completely lost me. Boring! One may argue that it shows her personality and character. I would argue that it was superfluous and showed nothing of her real character. So much of the dialogue was pure filler. Writing a few times that the waitress silently takes away dishes from your table doesn’t further the story, it adds extra words to sift through in order to get through the story. Unless, of course, the waitress is trying to eavesdrop in order to discover some juicy tidbits on some diamond or whatever that she can steal from you when your guards is down…which isn’t the case.

I paid $0.99 for this and am regretting spending even that much. There are so many other mystery ghost books out there. Just off the top of my head, I’d recommend Rose Pressey. Her books can be fun. I don’t recommend bothering with this one. I for one am not going to be looking into her other books.

Book Review – Dark Tempest by Annette Marie

Book review time! Just so you know, I don’t generally give long, complex reviews so don’t expect something with lots of big, literary words. I’m all about keeping it simple.

Dark Tempest (Red Winter Trilogy Book Two) by Annette Marie

dark-tempest

Oh my holy freaking cow!! I am so in love with this series! Some twists that happened weren’t surprising for me because they had been in the back of my mind the whole time in that “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” kind of way. And then BOOM! I was right and it makes me so happy. ^_^ lol

Once again Annette Marie has woven an exciting, fun tale following Emi’s journey. She was given a mission from Amaterasu at the end of book 1 and now journeys to see it through. I giggled and laughed, held my breath, felt excitement and worry and frustration and, of course, sadness. I’m definitely emotionally attached to these characters.

Annette Marie changes relationships so gradually that I hardly know it’s happening until it’s commented on by one of the characters and then I’m right alongside Emi in her realization that it’s true. Just like real life when things change so gradually we don’t realize they’ve changed until it’s pointed out to us and we take a step back and go “Oh!”

Her take on the mythological details and how they might look/act/etc is so creative! Quite ingenuous in my mind. I’m right there along with everyone else waiting with bated breath for the 3rd book.

I’m just going to add in one last thing that has nothing to do with the book content…OMG! Look at that COVER! It is GORGEOUS!!! When I get my covers redone some day, I want mine to look as freaking awesome as hers do. I’m in love with them!

This author is quickly becoming my author idol. Seriously. An indie author who’s doing a fantabulous job. Definitely my idol. I know who I wanna be when I grow up! wink face tongue

Book Review – Red Winter by Annette Marie

I just finished reading Red Winter by Annette Marie and I’m in love!

red-winterSo far when I’ve read fiction (fantasy, horror, general fiction) books set in Japan, they fall into two categories: 1) fan fiction full of anime stuff, or 2) know-it-all’s who want to shove how much they know about Japan in your face and down your throat. Neither are fun to read. My sister lent me this book telling me how great it was but my expectations were not high because of the past experiences that I just glossed over.

However, I was BLOWN AWAY by this book!! It was AMAZING!!! I was handed so much cultural insight in a way that was interesting, polite and in a way that fit with the story and the characters rather than feeling like the author was boasting, “I know more than you. Look. See? I’m so awesome and cultural.”

The story was smooth without having annoying hiccups in the characters that seem to be placed in them in order to make the story longer and create more difficulties for the characters to overcome. In other words, Emi’s sensible and reacts as anyone would in her situation. She doesn’t do stupid things for no good reason. She doesn’t keep secrets that create tension and relationship difficulties. Her secrets are good to keep and she keeps them from the right people for the right amount of time.

The storyline is fascinating. All we’re given about the Kunitsukami and the Amatsukami is so interesting and full of detail without being overwhelming or intellectually dry. The yokai are awesome too! So full of personality and life and yet the author wrote them so well that you can’t confuse them for humans. I don’t mean how they look because it’s pretty obvious they don’t look human despite having humanoid bodies at times. I mean, they’re personalities. They’re so devoid of humanity. I couldn’t say Yumei was cruel or kind because it seemed to me that the yokai (all the different kinds of mythological entities in fact) were above our human qualities. Even Shiro at times.

Oh my goodness. Shiro. Don’t even get me started on that flaming hot kitsune. HOT DAMN! Jeez.

The story itself is well-told and super fun to read. It had me on tenterhooks more than once and I kept not wanting to go to bed because I just wanted to keep reading. I usually read while I ride bikes or walk on treadmills at the gym and every time I ended up going for way longer than I intended because I’d get so caught up in this book. The machines would actually turn off due to the time limit because I’d be swept away in Emi’s world of Japanese mythology.

OMG! And can I just mention that cover? The artwork is incredible!!

One last thing, the pictures scattered throughout the book are beautiful! They’re manga/anime-ish but don’t let that fool you into thinking you’re reading manga if you don’t like manga. This is a good, solid book that focuses on Japanese mythology. Any mythology fan will find this a good read. I can’t wait to read the second book!! ❤ 😀

Book Review – Rose Pressey

Finished reading If You’ve Got It, Haunt It by Rose Pressey the other day. I’m not all that into reading about clothing and there was a ton of that in it but it was good.

if you've got it haunt itAs I said before, If You’ve Got It, Haunt It revolves a bit around fashion. Not just any kind of fashion though – vintage. While I know nothing about fashion in general, new or old (my wardrobe currently consists of activewear), and I couldn’t care less when it comes to reading about it, I found this book to be surprisingly good.

I say it’s surprising because I expected the fashion part to bore me. Instead, I found myself trying to imagine what a Peter Pan collar looked like and, even more weird, I enjoyed wondering about it. I enjoyed imagining the outfits that she described in the book. It even made me want to go out and buy some clothes to mimic those looks. I won’t be going out to find vintage clothing, but something chic and a bit old-fashioned might strike my fancy because it’s different from what we have today.

But, of course, I won’t because that’s not me. I don’t doll myself up. Well, I do, but my version of getting all dolled up is to do a cute hairstyle and maybe some light eye makeup and lipstick. Nice clothing is optional but they would probably be jeans and a comfy but nice-looking top. Probably a layered top. Yeah, jeans is now considered dressing up for me. Usually I’m wearing leggings or shorts…some type of activewear. And when you spend a quarter of your day at a gym almost every single day, you’d be in activewear all the time too.

Anyway, totally off track. But that’s what the book’s like. It doesn’t get off track, it merely describes a lot of clothes. That, however, does not mean there’s no story to it. There is a story and it’s a good story. I believe the term for this book is a cozy mystery.

There’s murder and light mayhem, no real danger to the protagonist. Her name is Cookie (nickname) and she’s being haunted by a ghost. There are a couple discrepancies such as the clothes Cookie buys in the beginning of the book. They’re referred to several times throughout the course of the book but never seen again. They pretty much disappear despite seeming to be of great importance in the beginning.

Another Huh? moment was with the ghost, Charlotte. Cookie seems to pick her up at the estate sale in the very beginning where she got the aforementioned clothes. Charlotte decides to leave with her because Cookie’s the only one who can see her and Charlotte wants her murder to be solved (who wouldn’t?). It’s not a spoiler; it happens in the first few pages and is the basis for the rest of the book. But then suddenly toward the end Charlotte is unable to leave Cookie or even wander far from her. Why? Right before that’s mentioned, Cookie tries to sneak out of her house to go to work without Charlotte. What would be the point of trying to sneak out when we find out a page or two later that Cookie knows Charlotte can’t wander far from her? So why did she bother trying when she knew she couldn’t sneak away?

The last Huh issue I had was with Charlotte and Cookie’s arrangement. It’s a minor side point. Charlotte says she’ll help Cookie with promoting her business etc if Cookie helps find Charlotte’s murderer. That’s all well and good and Charlotte does give a few pointers but nothing else is mentioned. She doesn’t help Cookie at all. It’s as if this side point is brought up only to be forgotten later and dismissed from the book.

Was this an oops on the author’s part or will Charlotte help Cookie’s business in the 2nd book? Right now there are three books with a fourth coming out in November, 2016. Most likely each book stands on its own. The first one certainly does.

Despite these Huh issues I have, I enjoyed the book. I got ansy toward the end wondering when it would finish and I had a problem with Cookie never being completely honest with the detective. I’m a very honest person and I believe in telling the truth in important situations like the ones Cookie was confronted with throughout the book. I kept expecting the detective to single her out for the murders because she was being so dishonest about everything. The evidence she’d bring to him might look like she was trying to frame somebody and that she, in fact, did it. I kept waiting for something really bad to happen to her and wanting to shake her when she wouldn’t admit to certain things. I thought it would make her life so much easier if she just admitted the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

All of this might sound as if I didn’t like the book and that it wasn’t a good read. But, as I have said several times already, I enjoyed If You’ve Got It, Haunt It. In fact, I’ve borrowed the second book in the series to read now because I want to continue with the series – All Dressed Up And No Place To Haunt.

Suicide Squad Comics

Best-harley-quinn-covers-suicide-squad

Lately I’ve added comics into my reading queue. With the new Suicide Squad movie coming out today, I wanted to know as much as possible about the stories without actually digging for information. Just as I was getting tired of reading about various missions and violence, I ran out of comics.

crying baby

I had moved on from The New 52 Suicide Squad comics to the New Suicide Squad and it ended with Volume 2. It seems Volume 3 just came out a couple days ago but I’ve been reading them through Hoopla (free through the library) and they obviously aren’t going to have it yet so I’ll have to be happy to do without for awhile.

New_Suicide_Squad_Vol_1_1While I liked it for the most part, I didn’t like the last issue from Volume 2 of the New Suicide Squad. I mean, I liked it well enough but I didn’t like how they portrayed Harley. I know she’s certifiably nuts, but they hadn’t portrayed her so nutsy ditsy before. Nor had they shown her to deliberately and cold-heartedly leave a team member to die before. I suppose I understand why she did it, but I still didn’t like it and it didn’t ring quite right for me.

The comics are full of action, cruelty, violence, death, some humor, and some sexuality. Well, a lot of sexuality if you count scantily clad, big-busted women but I’m not counting that because that’s normal in comics.

One thing I really didn’t like from the first issue in Volume 1 in the New Suicide Squad was Joker’s Daughter. Grrr! What a wannabe. I was very happy when she got hers.

There’s not really much to say about these comics. There’s a story to them, yeah, but it’s not going to be winning any awards for depth and meaning. I’m not putting them down though. They don’t need to be deep and meaningful to be fun to read. And these are fun…if you like plenty of violence and action. If not, don’t read them.

It would’ve been nicer had they not painted Harley so skanky. I’m not altogether sure why they changed her old Harlequin outfit. I was happier when they gave her Harlequin pants and even when her bikini-like “booty shorts” increased to actual booty shorts length. And what was it with her and Deadshot for a bit? I’m glad that didn’t last.

Anyway, I was happy to have been able to read these comics especially because I won’t be able to see the movie for…I dunno…a really long time. I try not to think too much about it because I get pretty bummed when I do. However, this isn’t the first nor the last movie I’ll really want to see but be unable to see for at least months and months after it’s made its theatrical debut. Not a big deal. Life goes on.

harley