Mini Book Reviews — Playing Catch Up

I’ve been swamped with the blog tour and such, so I figured I would give you guys some rapid mini reviews to see some of what I’ve been reading lately.

Author:  Jennifer Armintrout
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Lightworld/Darkworld

Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

Back Cover Copy:

An unimagined destiny, an undeniable passion.

In a time not long from now, the veil between fantasy and reality is ripped asunder creatures of myth and fairytale spill into the mortal world. Enchanted yet horrified, humans force the magical beings Underground, to colonize the sewers and abandoned subway tunnels beneath their glittering cities.

But even magic folk cannot dwell in harmony and soon two Worlds emerge: the Lightworld, home to faeries, dragons and dwarves; and the Darkworld, where vampires, werewolves, angels and demons lurk.

Now, in the dank and shadowy place between Lightworld and Darkworld, a transformation is about to begin….

Ayla, a half-faery, half-human assassin is stalked by Malachi, a Death Angel tasked with harvesting mortal souls. They clash. Immortality evaporates, forging a bond neither may survive. And in the face of unbridled ambitions and untested loyalties, an ominous prophecy is revealed that will shake the Worlds.

My Review:

This book took me by surprise. It took me a couple of chapters to warm up to it, as the capitalization of certain words and language choice bugged me (e.g., adding “E” to the end of words that don’t normally have that letter, like “queene”), but once I got past that nit, I couldn’t put it down. The story is gripping, the characters and world-building fascinating, and the setup for the next two books has left me eager to continue the trilogy. I’ll give a more detailed review of all three books once I’ve finished the other two.

Rating: 4/5

Author:  Sierra Dean
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Secret McQueen

Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

Back Cover Copy:

Some secrets are dangerous. This Secret is deadly.

For Secret McQueen, her life feels like the punch line for a terrible joke. Abandoned at birth by her werewolf mother, hired as a teen by the vampire council of New York City to kill rogues, Secret is a part of both worlds, but belongs to neither. At twenty-two, she has carved out as close to a normal life as a bounty hunter can.

When an enemy from her past returns with her death on his mind, she is forced to call on every ounce of her mixed heritage to save herself—and everyone else in the city she calls home. As if the fate of the world wasn’t enough to deal with, there’s Lucas Rain, King of the East Coast werewolves, who seems to believe he and Secret are fated to be together. Too bad Secret also feels a connection with Desmond, Lucas’s second-in-command…

Warning: This book contains a sarcastic, kick-ass bounty hunter; a metaphysical love triangle with two sexy werewolves; a demanding vampire council; and a spicy seasoning of sex and violence.

My Review:

Once I managed to turn off a very cynical part of myself, this book was just plain fun. I’ll admit to rolling my eyes at the heroine’s name and herritage at first. My “oh, geez, a half-vampire, half-werewolf? Really?” knee-jerk reaction almost made me put the book down, but because Sierra has always been such a delight to talk to on Twitter, I pressed on–and I’m glad I did. The story and humor were great, even though I do feel the heroine came across as too Mary Sue-ish at the start, and occasionally throughout the rest of the book. I didn’t quite buy the soulmate/insta-lust stuff with the werewolves either, but I rarely do in any story, so that’s just a personal preference.

After a few chapters, the story hit its stride and the conflict between Secret’s dual natures became very interesting indeed. The ending surprised me, and despite how my reaction in the last paragraph might sound, I’m actually looking forward to picking up the next book to see where things go.

Rating: 3.5/5

Author:  Jeremy C. Shipp
Genre: Horror
Series: Attic Clowns

Purchase: Amazon

Back Cover Copy:

This creepy collection features four twisted tales by Bram Stoker Award nominee Jeremy C. Shipp.

The stories include:
Don’t Laugh
The Glass Box

My Review:

Creepy as hell. If you like reading surreal, scary stories, this book is a decent read. A collection of four short stories, each one has its own macabre charm. GIGGLES was my favorite (4.5/5), PRINCESS my least favorite (2/5), DON’T LAUGH was incredibly strange but compelling (3/5), and THE GLASS BOX was an entertaining but ultimately forgettable read (3/5).

Rating: 3/5

Author:  Max Brooks
Genre: Horror
Series: N/A

Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

Back Cover Copy:

“The end was near.” —Voices from the Zombie War

The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. World War Z is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years.

(Blurb shortened ’cause it’s just too dang long. Click one of the buy links or the author’s website to read the whole thing.)

My Review:

This one was just too long, too repetitive, and the “voices” of the various interviewees all started sounding the same after a while. There are truly some very clever parts, and the reactions/consequences of a zombie apocalypse all read as spot-on observations as to how things would go down, but it lost momentum somewhere along the way. This one was exceptionally disappointing for me because Brooks wrote such a compelling short story for The Daily Beast last year about a vampire trapped in the world where this book is set. That short story was what made me really want to read this book, so you might understand why I was exceptionally unhappy that WORLD WAR Z didn’t work for me.

There are definitely parts of this book that were gripping and fascinating, but for the most part, it felt too dry and unrelentingly depressing. I gave up with around 50-75 pages left, once it hit me that I just didn’t care enough about the people or situation anymore since, again, the interviews were becoming monotonous, and it felt a little too far removed from the action. In my opinion, the highlight of the book was the interview with the security guard describing his experience in New York.


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