Sunday, July 16, 2017

Zebulon Finch Part One

The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch is a modernized and macabre Peter Pan adventure. When I say "modernized" I mean the distinct style Daniel Kraus employs in his narrative of a boy who could not die, and would not grow up.
Zebulon Finch is born in the late 19th century and is killed when he is 17.  More than a distinct examination of the human condition from a myriad of perspectives, Zebulon also experiences the rise of America.  The progression of a 17 year old boy through a life he never wanted, and would never accept as entitlement is an interesting and surprisingly emotional ride.  Kraus uses historical events to line up the plot and puts Zebulon in the middle of everything.
This boy was caught up in the rise of organized crime in Chicago, the evolution of the film industry in California, civil war, great war, and prohibition, Zebulon sees it all.  He struggles in this to understand the consequences of not only his own actions, but the actions of others.  Emotionally, he doesn’t really grow up.  He’ll always be 17, a criminal, a soldier, and an experiment.
Not knowing if or when his life will finally end, Zebulon cannot begin to grasp at the ideals of reparation, war, and sacrifice.  He sees his own daughter grow old, tries to steer her from, in his mind, a morally ambiguous path.  Great nations rise and fall, and all Zebulon wants is a normal life, a normal death.  Instead, he is forced to watch the people he loves grow old, grow desperate, and die fighting.  And regardless of injury, he continues to exist.  His life meant nothing, but his death shows him everything.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Bloodbound Review

The Bloodbound by Erin Lindsey introduces a female warrior in a realm of fantasy dominated by men.  What I appreciated most about the pace and plotline is that she wove the romance into the story almost seamlessly.  The Bloodbound is a perfect example of a clearly acknowledged romance plot without any gratuitous physicality.  And the romance in no way takes from the action, intrigue, and strength of the fantasy aspect of the story.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Darkest Corner by Liliana Hart Review

The Darkest Corner by Liliana Hart is a thriller that borders on erotic.  Deacon is a dead man.  A dead man in a limited contract, but a dead man nonetheless.  Tess is a mortician.  In the nowhere location of Last Stop, Texas, threats of Russian terror attacks throw these two together in a way no normal circumstance ever could.
For the two years of their acquaintance, Deacon had been obliged to keep his alternative lifestyle secret from Tess.  And so she had been obliged to ignore the carnal desire that surfaced when Deacon entered a room.  Until Tess decided it was time to quit Last Stop and ply her trade in an urban environment.  That’s when Deacon’s boss, Eve Winter, charges him with the mission of getting Tess to stay put, however he can.
It’s a story of intrigue, of lust, of desire.  Liliana Hart crafts such a story that would please thriller fans, mystery fans, and romance fans alike.  She weaves the erotic deftly with the spy thriller storyline, leaving nothing gratuitous or out of place.  I could not put this book down, and I’m ready to get started on the next one.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Gone to Dust Blog Tour and Giveaway

About the book:
GONE TO DUST
Liliana Hart
Book 2 in The Gravediggers Series
Pocket Books
June 20, 2017
9781501150050
$7.99

Praise for Gone to Dust, Book 2:
“Lucky fans of the super-talented Hart don’t have to wait long for the second installment of her new romantic suspense series Gravediggers, as the installments are being released back to back. In the first book, Hart set up her world where five men, declared dead to the world at large, work for a super-secret anti-terrorism force. Hart’s new heroine is a very talented romance writer who takes no crap from anyone — even secret commandos. Miller and Elias are both funny and sexy together, which helps make this book nonstop entertainment, with plenty of witty bantering and thrilling adventure!”
—RT 4 ½ star TOP PICK Review

“Modern Cliterature...Enjoy [this] lusty [passage] adapted from summer’s raciest reads…”
—Cosmopolitan, July 2017

Praise for The Darkest Corner, Book 1:
“Gritty, deadly, and peppered with unexpected humor, this supersexy, adrenaline-charged story will keep readers on edge and breathless until the last page.”
—Library Journal

“Liliana Hart sets up a fascinating and intriguing premise of individual men forced into taking extreme steps. Her heroine’s reluctant immersion into this world allows readers to discover the treachery and danger looming all around…a thrilling series!”
—RT

“A cool blend of entertaining antics and suspenseful moments, with a slightly morbid sense of humor thrown in for good measure. (Our heroine was a mortician, after all!) I had a blast getting to know this cast of characters and can’t wait to see what exciting things Liliana Hart has in store for us next.”
—Harlequin Junkie

About the book:
New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Liliana Hart’s second book in her sexy, suspenseful Gravediggers series, GONE TO DUST, features an elite group of mysterious men who might be dead to the world, but are also tasked with saving it—and no one can ever know.

The Gravediggers aren’t exactly what they seem. They’re the most elite of the world’s fighting forces—and all they have in common is that they’ve been betrayed by the countries they’ve died for. Because they are dead. To their country, their military, and their families. Sometimes the dead do rise…

Miller Darling is one of the most popular romance novelists of her time. Not bad for a woman who doesn’t believe in romance. She’s as logical as they come, and she doesn’t believe in happily-ever-afters. What she does believe in is family, so when her brother disappears, she doesn’t think twice about packing her bag and her laptop and heading out to find him.

Elias Cole lived and breathed the live of a Navy SEAL. Now he’s “dead” and his hero’s honor tarnished. The only thing keeping him sane are the men who are like him—The Gravediggers—and the woman who makes his head spin. He’s never met anyone like Miller Darling. Her smart mouth and quick wit keep him on his toes, and damned if he doesn’t find that appealing.

When Miller receives a package from the brother who abandoned her asking for help, it’s clear she’s in over her head with the mess he’s gotten himself into. She needs a professional, and Elias is just the man for the job. Only her brother is a former SEAL—the man who left his team to die—and Elias is more interested in vengeance than saving his life.

Gravedigger Giveaway

For the Gravedigger Giveaway, we are giving away one review copy of Book 1, The Darkest Corner! Be sure to check out all participating sites on the blog tour for more Gravedigger Giveaways. And note that RT will giveaway three bundles of Book 1 and Book 2, with the drawing to be held Monday, July 10th. Please note, you can only win one giveaway and must have a U.S. address. 

To Enter:

Contact me on Twitter @renegadepoet22 

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/beckycarr/ 

Or Instagram @caomhnaigh

American Gods Review

American Gods by Neil Gaiman is a modern American epic like no other.  In the modern United States, incarnation of the old gods and the manifestations of modern idols butt heads, as religion and progress often do.  The story follows Shadow Moon, an ex-con and a widower who is pulled into the conflict by Odin, The All-Father after his wife Laura is killed in a car accident along with Shadow’s best friend.
A lot can be said for an author’s ability to reshape the ancient tales.  Stories of the old gods, creation, and judgement of death have enough in common it’s not difficult to imagine them existing in the same universe.  For all we know, they have weekly staff meetings.
Gaiman very obviously loves myth and legend as much as the histories that made them so.  Since we no longer depend upon oral tradition, we’ve been able to spread religious ideals across the world, but with modernity right on their heels.
This book is a transition more than a work of true fiction, in my opinion.  Being written on the cusp of a new millennium and published shortly thereafter had such an impact on how it’s perceived by an audience.  Now that we see what has happened to America, 15 years later, we can not only draw parallels between history and myth, but between potential and talent.
This book changes the way we look at the old religions.  Well, it at least changed how I do.  Since I read The Iron Druid chronicles before finding out about this book, I can honestly say as a personal journey, American Gods smothers the emotional fire.  Kevin Hearne is one of my favorite authors and the way I read his books was as an RPG of sorts.  Neil Gaiman on the other hand, while having written a brilliant book, stays a little farther back from Shadow than I liked, and I couldn’t get the same insight as into a first person POV.  The greater advantage to third person in the case of American Gods is, Gaiman had the opportunity to sell back story and exposition a lot better than The Iron Druid could in first person.
This was a ballad written by a bard who lived on this fantastic journey, but to tell his story, he must go on the occasional tangent.  While somewhat disjointed as a result, American Gods was an encouraging read filled with truth and lies, fiction and nonfiction, and progress in the face of tradition.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Wolves of London Review

Wolves of London is the first in a new horror series by Mark Morris called Obsidian Heart.  This installment takes quite a bit of time to set up the rest of the story with the main action and plot points not coming forward until about halfway through.  While a common stylistic choice in the production of a series, it did slow the action down somewhat.  In fact, until the Obsidian Heart is introduced, this story leans less toward horror and fantasy and more towards mystery/ thriller.  Once the horror aspects are established, Morris is able to move the story along nicely, keeping the pace steady and anticipatory.  There is, however, an isolationist aspect of the language since it's written by a British writer and set in London.  Some slang and regional colloquialisms take a moment for a reader from the States to comprehend in their entirety, but in a way this lends itself to the mystery, an alien element.  With the pacing and setting now firmly established, the story proves to be an exciting one, and I can't wait to get to the next installment.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Tattoo Atlas Review

Tattoo Atlas by Tim Floreen
I think if I read this book two or three times I’d get deeper insight every time, having only read it once, this is my impression.  A contemporary YA examination of empathy and the nature of mental illness.  The first chapter confused me because the narrator wasn’t present.  There were a couple of those chapters within the story I think they could have been let go to just roll with the first person POV which was so perfect for the raw emotion of this story.
The way Floreen writes the narrator is so perfect when I read it I felt those emotions.  Alex is such a beautiful character and the relationship between him and Tor, then Franklin is relatable.  You want Alex to have a happy ending.  You want everything to be ok in the end, but that’s not how the world works.  In this social and political climate that dose of realism, that pain heaped onto the back of this teenager, is needed to help us avoid complacency.
Introducing Franklin, he’s instantly identified as a sociopath and that label has such a stigma, anyone would assume a that person would be evil.  In this case, obviously, Floreen wrote it to be that way; however, I think in service to the mental health community, there should have been more of a divide, a finite diagnosis of Franklin’s sociopathic tendencies.  Feeding into assumptions and stigma doesn’t help anyone.
In the end, it comes down to the three boys: Alex, Franklin, and Tor.  And all they want is to survive each other and love freely.  The big question that Alex likes to ponder is: can evil be cured?  As I read I thought about this question quite often, but I can’t say I came up with any decent conclusions, so I’ll leave that for you guys to mull over.
Great contemporary by Tim Floreen!