Sunday, December 23, 2012

Review: Smile of the Viper by Harry Dunn

Title/author: Smile of the Viper, Harry Dunn

Publication date: September 3 2012

Publisher: Caffeine Nights Publishing

Source: My library (now aha)

Rating: 4/5 Packs of cocaine

First off, Thank you Harry Dunn for sending Liz and I your book. We could not appreciate it more.

To get a taste of the book, here is the back description:

London private investigator Jack Barclay is on the trail of financier Tom Stanton who has disappeared with 1million of clients' money, leaving his desperate wife and children behind. Stanton's Parisian mistress, Danielle, is also involved with the boss of a drug smuggling cartel and Stanton is seduced into laundering money for them. When 4million of drugs cash goes missing and Tom is the suspect, he and Danielle go on the run. The stakes are raised with the kidnapping of Stanton's daughter, and Jack finds himself in a race to find Stanton before the mob do. As he hunts him down, he uncovers a nightmare world of torture, betrayal and murder, putting his own life in danger. Jack quickly realises those who enter the netherworld of the Russian mafia may not get out alive.

'I am glad I read this book'. That was my second thought when I finished Smile of the Viper. My first thought was 'Holy flip! This was the best ending ever!' while I was laughing my ass off. I don't know if it was meant to be hilarious but it was.

Now it took me a bit to get into the book, but as soon as I was in, I was hooked. I didn't like Jill (Tom's wife) for a couple of chapters because I felt like she was a whiner and couldn't do anything for herself even though there was no real reason for me to think that. But after a couple of chapters I felt sympathy for her. It wasn't her fault that her husband was a jerk. I felt sympathy for Jack since the start because of how lonely he was but it faded away as the plot started to thicken and action arose. 

When the plot thickened I was a bit confused at first but as soon as I figured out what was happening it was  awesome. Pieces were clicking into place every chapter it seemed like because of how fast I was reading the book. I liked that the story was told from more then just Jack's camera. Instead of following Jack the whole time, you got to follow the kidnappers, the viper, and Jill. I found this allowed me to make assumptions and conclusions on my own which made me enjoy the story more, even if they were wrong. 

What amazed me the most about this story was how complex the crime was. It took me a couple of times of going through everything in my head before I could see how everything linked together. It was insane.  Also it was nice to see that Jack ran into problems, that he wasn't all knowing. Jack ran into dead ends and had to circle back and look over everything again and again. If I was a investigator I would have said 'Flip it, I'm going to stay in Mexico and have a vacation' and I probably would have been lying in a sun chair while Tom drove right by.

Anyways the one part that is still confusing me is when Tom's time is up and his daughter is suppose to get an unwanted manicure (sorry can't remember the exact words). I'm not sure if she did or didn't get one because at one point she said her fingers hurt but if she would have gotten the mobs type of manicure then she probably wouldn't have been able to use her hands at all...

Back to the ending aha. It was probably my favourite part of the book. What happens at the end I found really ironic and funny. I'm grinning right now thinking about it. But other then finding it hilarious I also found that it was a good conclusion to the book. But I did wonder if there could be another book with Jack coming along. And if there is, I definitely would read it.

Overall the book was awesome. It had a great crime, and the characters seemed like real people. It kept me wondering till the end and it wasn't all serious like I thought it might be. There wasn't any romance for Jack... which was great! I wasn't looking for a good romance from this. Even though through the story I thought Jack and Jill (their names made me laugh) might hook up.

I hope you enjoyed my review of Smile of the Viper, be sure to check it out if you love a good crime novel.

- Meg

P.S. Happy Holidays everyone!!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Love and Prayers for Connecticut

Sometimes, the harsh reality of the world kicks you right in the pants.

I had what I thought was a bad day. Nothing seemed to go right from the moment I woke up, and I came home sulking and complaining.

Then, I read about the shooting in Connecticut. Suddenly my day didn't seem so bad.

At least I was able to come home at the end of the day.
At least I didn't say goodbye to my mom for the last time this morning.
At least I'm still alive.

Those 20-plus elementary students in Newtown, Connecticut can't say the same. Nor can the seven-plus staff members who also died.

Look, I have five little siblings, four of which are under the age of eight. They are elementary students here in Canada, and I cannot imagine never seeing them again. I can't begin to fathom watching them run off to school and not seeing their chubby, precious little faces again. Jnfortunately, this is the reality of the families of those lost today in the school shooting. The most disgusting part is that their murderer isn't a fellow student. It's a grown man who killed his mother, a teacher at the school, before proceeding to murder her students.

We are the future. By "we" I mean my generation, the ones that are in school or just graduating from it. Is there no hope for us? To have one of our fellow people murder defenseless school children is unbelievable. Disturbing. Horrendous. Why, we're living in our own horror movie! Is that any way to live? To fear going to an institution of learning because there's a possible threat on our lives?

This world is a disgusting place. To lose your children, so close to the holiday season no less, must be heartbreaking. I urge each and every one of you to try to make a difference in this place we have to live it. We may not be able to reverse the damage done, but balance it out with acts of kindness in our own communities. Who knows what type of people we're inspiring at the end of the day.

I send my prayers to Connecticut and the families affected by this horrible attack on innocent people. I hope all of you can do the same, and take a moment tonight before bed to have a moment of silence for the lives lost. I know I will be.

Love and Prayers,
Elizabeth (and Meg, of course)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Review: The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver

Title/author: The Demon Trappers Daughter, Jana Oliver

Publication date: December 13 2010

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Source: My library

Rating: 4/5 Holy waters

Hey there my fellow readers/writers/bloggers! Its been a while. Liz and I are both sorry about that, we have just been really busy with school and family.

Anyways, today I finished (for the second time) The Demon Trappers Daughter. I decided to read this book again because I just recently got the second book, which I was not so happy to learn, came out more then a year ago. I'm just a little behind...So you get the gist of it, here's the back description thing that I cannot think of the name right now:

It’s the year 2018, and with human society seriously disrupted by the economic upheavals of the previous decade, Lucifer has increased the number of demons in all major cities. Atlanta is no exception. Fortunately, humans are protected by Demon Trappers, who work to keep homes and streets safe from the things that go bump in the night. Seventeen-year-old Riley, only daughter of legendary Demon Trapper Paul Blackthorne, has always dreamed of following in her father’s footsteps. When she’s not keeping up with her homework or trying to manage her growing attraction to fellow Trapper apprentice, Simon, Riley’s out saving citizens from Grade One Hellspawn. Business as usual, really, for a demon-trapping teen. When a Grade Five Geo-Fiend crashes Riley’s routine assignment at a library, jeopardizing her life and her chosen livelihood, she realizes that she’s caught in the middle of a battle between Heaven and Hell.

Lovely right? I thought so. I remember when I first started reading this book I was a little bit nervous if it was going to be all religious stuff, because I am not that into religion. But I was pleasantly surprised when there was only two characters the were overly religious (as a note, if anything in my review comes off as offensive to religion, I, in no way mean to offend anyone).

What I first noticed about this book was the starting couple of chapters were not boring! I love that I didn't have to read through basically an introduction to the characters and what not. Jana jumped straight to the action. It took a little while but I also grew to love that it was in third person. Usually I'm like first person is better cause you can connect and stuff, but I found that it was very easy to connect with Riley and Beck. And it also gave you more to see (does that make sense?). I liked Riley as the main character because she was her own person I guess. I mean she wasn't wimpy, which was awesome, and she wasn't untouchable, she made mistakes and was unsure of things, which was also awesome.

I'm sure when Simon, (who was one of the overly religious people in my opinion) and Beck, (who's point of view you also get to see) were introduced, everyone chose a side. How could you not? Riley couldn't end up alone now could she? Anyways I was totally voting for Beck. He was sweet sometimes, badass other times, understood Riley, and from how I imagined him, pretty good looking. Man if I had a Beck in my life, I would probably not be doing this review aha.

The only thing that bothered me about this book was that it got slow in the middle. Now I know it can't have action all the time but I found it slow when Riley was *SPOILER* watching over her fathers grave so that the necromancer's couldn't bring him back to be undead. *READ AGAIN* I do know that this part was important because it played a kinda big part in the book, and we did find out some useful information, but it was still slow in my opinion.

Over all, this whole book was really good. The plot was creative and it gave me a new perspective on demon books. I liked that Jana added new things into the demon mix as well. For example the magic sphere's that were used to help trap demons and how each demon their own type of personality, they didn't all blend together like a massive clump were a really awesome touch. I am looking forward to reading the second book because from what I heard its better then this one, which would make it pretty amazing aha.

Thanks for reading :D and feel free to email suggestions. I don't know if Liz would but I would certainly try and do some.

- Meg

P. S. Sorry again from both Liz and I for being not on the ball this month.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Review: Parallel Spirits by T.S. Welti

Title/Author: Parallel Spirits by T.S. Welti

Publication Date: August 9, 2012

Publisher: Blackhill Publishing

Source: Sent by author

Rating: 3.5 of 5 surfboards

Recently, I've been reading so many books that have to do with spirits, souls, the afterlife, etc. and they've all had different takes on the idea of what happens when you die. This book, however, had one of the more interesting approaches to the subject, and an idea that makes me wonder just who is watching over my shoulder.

From Goodreads: What if the price of immortality were a broken spirit?

After more than three centuries as a carrier spirit, Mara has finally found a willing host in sixteen-year-old Belinda. She sets out to help Belinda find the missing ingredient in her life: love.

Belinda agrees to let Mara help her fall in love so Mara can earn her body back. But Belinda has only agreed to their arrangement because she desperately hopes that a new romance will help her finally get over her failed date with her best friend, Frankie.

With the promise of a new body, Mara dares to hope she can repair her broken spirit. With sweet and handsome Conor as her new boyfriend, Belinda dares to hope she has found someone who can mend her broken heart. Until a spirit with whom Mara shares a dark past begins possessing Conor. Now a war is waging inside and outside Belinda's body and she quickly discovers what Mara has known for centuries:

Falling in love is as dangerous as exorcising evil spirits...

 To me, this book seemed very reminiscent of "The Host" by Stephanie Meyer, only this version was shorter and aimed towards a younger audience. I liked the idea of spirits staying on Earth to restore the balance of the wrongdoing that killed them in the first place. It creeps me out a little bit, because honestly, who wants a spirit watching you for several months only to take over your body in the end? I actually found myself thinking back to times when I've been in a dreamlike state, and wondering if perhaps I have a carrier spirit of my own. Then I realized I was just being crazy, because obviously I'm already a carrier spirit. Wait, what?

The romance in this story was really well written. I ended up smiling whenever Conor was with Belinda because he was just so darn sweet! And Frankie... Well, I felt for the poor guy. The friendzone sucks, and Frankie was a classic example of being "in the friendzone". Heck, I even liked Belinda. I just couldn't find myself rooting for one guy over the other because I felt they both deserved Belinda's heart. I couldn't even really tell which one is supposed to end up with her. I always like having a character to hope for, because I love it when my favourite character gets the girl. I'm not sure if it's a good thing or not that I can't figure out the "winner" of Belinda, but seeing as there's a second book coming out, there's a chance that said plot point could be developed more.

Following the same vein, there were a lot of loose ends that weren't tied up, or even gently knotted. I'd like to know what happened with some of the characters, or what they were going to be doing for the next however long a time until the next book takes place. In fact, I'd have liked to have some idea of where the characters were going to be in the next book, but as I closed the novel, I couldn't figure that out either. There were also a lot of things mentioned in the beginning that weren't mentioned again, things I would've liked to know more about. What happened with the guy in Belinda's class who gave her his number? What about the guy that she supposedly told off? Again, not really sure what happened to them, but they would've been nice little storylines to have added.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I mean, I finished it in less than two days, so that has to say something, right? And I'm curiously awaiting the next book. I liked the characters, I liked the idea, and I certainly enjoyed the romantic aspect of it all. I received this book as a paper copy, but I believe you can also get it as an e-book too, so it might be worth a shot to check it out.

BONUS: T. S. Welti spends some of her time writing in Portugal. Having a Portuguese stepfather means that I grew up with Portuguese family members, most of which grew up in Portugal. So... Yay, Ms. Welti!

Happy Reading!

P.S. We have a Facebook page now! Like us here, and please don't be put off by the lack of content. We just launched it on Saturday! :)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Title/Author: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Publication Date: September 27, 2012

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Source: Public library

Rating: 5 of 5 teeth

It has taken me so long to pick up this book and read it. I've checked it out of my library time and time again, never being in the right mood to read an indie novel, or not having the time, among other excuses. After finally sitting down with the determination to finish it, however, I find myself wondering why I wasted so much time ho-ing and humming about it. It was deliciously good!
From Goodreads: Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?
 Oh, so good! I love that the setting is in Prague! So many books for young adults are written in North America, but none that I've read have taken place in Europe, especially seeing as the book itself is written by an American. So much of Prague's culture, while not a major playing point in the book that I can see, is explored and explained.

And Karou. Oh, how I love her! She's such a normal girl, if you take away the fact that her "father" is a chimaera, or that her family is made up of half humans. Other than that, she's got an apartment, she's a talented art student, she has an ex-boyfriend and she has a best friend. She's so perfectly rounded and created. Her story could fit into three books, and yet Laini Taylor made do with just one for now, which speaks so much to her writing abilities.

Speaking of the writing... The story was told so poetically, but not it poem form. The wording, the language, the dialogue... It was fanciful and delightful! There hasn't been a book in a long time that has made me see such imagery as this one. There was so much focus on the details, it was like I was watching a movie instead of reading a book.

Overall, I loved this book! It took me a while to read, shamefully, due to all of my other running around and work I've been doing recently, but not for lack of trying. I picked up this book whenever I had the chance to read for ten minutes or so. The next book I read might just pale in comparison to the excellence of this novel by Laini Taylor, a woman with pink hair who wrote about a girl with blue hair.

Happy Reading!