Jackaby (Jackaby #1) by William Ritter

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Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary–including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police–with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane–deny.



Regrettably, the original review for this novel mysteriously disappeared – after someone forgot to save it – and since Microsoft sucks old, sweaty socks, I’ve been forced to retype and remake the entire review…

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So, I apologize for this even suckier review than normal, I didn’t have a whole bunch of time to redo this, but I had to do it. You know the saying,

“If you can’t do it right, do it anyway”

(is that not right?)

Disclaimer: My rating of a 3.5 (B+) is graded on a curve because this was the debut novel of Mr. Ritter

Jackaby is a fun novel. Throughout, we follow the partnership of Abigail and Jackaby. She’s a rebellious runaway following her dreams of adventure and fulfillment, whereas Jackaby is an eccentric, witty, sometimes charming sometimes rude, supernatural (consulting) detective. She sees the normal and he sees the unnormal unusual, because he’s like a seer or something.

The best thing about Jackaby has to be the unorthodox fantasy theme Ritter gives us. It’s very original because it’s focused around folklore (which I love) that Jackaby attempts to pass off as science. Jackaby would also have to be a positive point of the novel because I was definitely getting Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who vibes, however, he was lacking in many areas and just didn’t capture the true essence of the aforementioned characters. Another positive point would be the lack of real romance and the extremely platonic partnership between Abigail and Jackaby. Abigail does have a budding love with a certain young detective (cop?), but it’s occurring in the shadows, besides he’s got his own secrets.

The worst things about Jackaby was the lack proper action. The book is short – appx. 299 pages – so, having to read half of the novel for anything exciting to happen (or really anything at all) was quite boring. This also accounts for the fact that Abigail isn’t a great narrator, with her stale observations and dull chatter. Don’t get me wrong, she had her moments where I enjoyed her narration, but mostly I wasn’t interested. Nevertheless, the story is interesting and it’s fun to read about them finding the supernatural murderer…which Jackaby should have figured out much sooner than he did.

This is a series so I expected book 2 to advance above this novel…I’ve read book 2 but I didn’t get that…you’ll just have to wait for that review……

I know this review isn’t great, but I suggest you check out this one —> Jackaby

 

Sweet Tooth, Vol. 1: Out of the Deep Woods (Sweet Tooth #1) | Review

6954438★ ★ ★

A cross between Bambi and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, SWEET TOOTH tells the story of Gus, a rare new breed of human/animal hybrid children, has been raised in isolation following an inexplicable pandemic that struck a decade earlier. Now, with the death of his father he’s left to fend for himself . . . until he meets a hulking drifter named Jepperd who promises to help him. Jepperd and Gus set out on a post-apocalyptic journey into the devastated American landscape to find ‘The Preserve’ a refuge for hybrids.
[Blurb: Goodreads]

 


I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with reviewing Graphic Novels – the pros are cons and vice-versa. On one hand, I’d like to assault your beautiful eyes with the illustrations of Jeff Lemire’s characters and setting, however, after awhile, you’d overdose on the images and this review would just be congested. But on the other hand, it’d be sacrilegious to not show images of the novel since it’s a graphic novel! Here in lies my problem, and why I rarely write reviews for graphic novels. Now that that rant’s complete, shall we get to the review?!

Out of The Deep Woods (Sweet Tooth, Vol. 1) is a really freaking weird novel, even for a post apocalyptic, dystopian. Featuring animal/human hybrid children and the world going to shit – I’d hope that would be the only reason animal/human hybrid children exist – after a disease known as the Affliction (ominous right!) killed off billions people. So, a new species is fabricated known as animal-hybrid children. However, these children are hunted, by hunters, to be hunted….hehe.

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The story follows the journey of a sweet, deer animal-hybrid kid named Gus, aka Sweet Tooth, and his mountain-like savior Jeppard, after saving Gus from the aforementioned hunters. Along the journey to the safe haven for hybrid children like Gus called The Preserve, we don’t meet a copious group characters, but we do encounter a few: mock animal-hybrid prostitutes, hunters, and savage hyena-looking murderers.

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This novel being so short didn’t leave much room for development of any kind. Since this is Volume one I kind of expected to learn a bit more about the characters or story line, however, I didn’t learn anything. The only storyish foreshadow is that animal-hybrid children exist because of a disease, which hasn’t been explained, killed most of the people. There’s a few fighting scenes that, I guess, shed light on both Gus and Jeppard’s characters. Mainly we got the emotional impact of a world without rules, morals and ethics, through the eyes of this boy who’s the foil of this whole world in a way. He’s sweet, innocent and compassionate in a world that’s done away with all those things. The end is also unsatisfying but that’s due to there being a Volume two.

 

Sapphire Blue (Ruby Red Trilogy# 2) by Kerstin Gier

Book 2 :
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Grade: D+

★ ★ /★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Gwen’s life has been a rollercoaster since she discovered she was the Ruby, the final member of the secret time-traveling Circle of Twelve. In between searching through history for the other time-travelers and asking for a bit of their blood (gross!), she’s been trying to figure out what all the mysteries and prophecies surrounding the Circle really mean.
 
At least Gwen has plenty of help. Her best friend Lesley follows every lead diligently on the Internet. James the ghost teaches Gwen how to fit in at an eighteenth century party. And Xemerius, the gargoyle demon who has been following Gwen since he caught her kissing Gideon in a church, offers advice on everything. Oh, yes. And of course there is Gideon, the Diamond. One minute he’s very warm indeed; the next he’s freezing cold. Gwen’s not sure what’s going on there, but she’s pretty much destined to find out.
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My Reaction:
♥♥♥

Having read this novel quite a long time ago my memory of it isn’t fresh or complete, however I do remember enough for a quick review. The best thing about this installment was the demon ghost cat, Xemerius. He’s very funny and added an element of airiness that this book really needed  to keep me from ripping my hair out. His presence is needed so badly because Gwen is awful.

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The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1) by James Dashner

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When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers–boys whose memories are also gone.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out–and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.


Not So Fun Fact: I accidentally bought the UK version of this book (who does that?!), so all the meters, stone, and centimeter talk didn’t make sense, but I don’t blame the book for that, so it won’t bring down the rating.

It seldom happens that the movie adaptation of a particular novel helps me enjoy said novel, more. So you can imagine my surprise when this exact thing happened. What do I mean by this?

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Zombie Attack! Rise of the Horde (Zombie Attack #1) by Devan Sagliani

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3 out of 5 stars

★ ★ ★

When 16 year old Xander’s older brother Moto left him at Vandenberg Airforce Base he only had one request – don’t leave no matter what. But there was no way he could have known that one day zombies would gather into groups big enough to knock down walls and take out entire buildings full of people. That was before the rise of the horde!

Now Xander is on the run, fleeing south to Port Hueneme to locate his brother with nothing but his martial arts training and the katana blade left to him. Along the way he’ll have to fight for his life against other survivors, neo-Nazi’s, outlaw bikers, gang bangers, cannibals, cult members, and a seemingly endless sea of flesh hungry zombies.

But Xander is far from alone. Traveling with him are Benji, a 12 year old comic book geek, and Felicity Jane, a childhood celebrity with wild mood swings. Will they make it together in one piece to the safe zone or will they become the next meal for a hungry horde of wild zombies?


Zombie Attack! Rise of the Horde Zombie wasn’t a contemporary classic, it’s not written so eloquently that my heart couldn’t take it, nor was it some horror-filled masterpiece, but it was fun. It was similar to the zombie movies and television shows I’ve seen with the whole “people are the true monster’s not flesh eating parasites,” which I actually happen to enjoy.

I know what you’re thinking. What possibly possessed me to read a novel with that title, well I’ll tell you why.

The only reason I read this novel was because it happened to be free on Amazon for kindle unlimited. At first I was completely perplexed with the title, so I told myself “don’t judge a book by its title”, but an exclamation point and then zombie and horde in the same book – I honestly didn’t expect much. However, it wasn’t that bad and I actually had moments where I was actually engrossed in the story. So let’s get this review started!

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So, zombies are getting smart (yup, you read that right) and learning to attack the living in huge hordes.  This happens the day, Xander and Benji escape the military base where everyone dies (I’m not certain if that’s a spoiler since it can be read in the sample).  After this, Xander becomes Benji’s primary protector and travels with twin brothers (hell, if I remember their names) to find Xander’s brother, who’s a soldier, where they run into problem after problem. They literally run into more trouble than the Grimes wolf-pack on The Walking Dead.

Their first encounter is with a group that takes them to a neighborhood they’ve secured and turned back into a civilized society. Hot water, hot food, and soft beds. It’s HEAVEN! Well, except for the Unity Gang which has some of the worst criminals ever; they pillage, rape and torture (remember the Reavers on Firefly? They’re like that) – so don’t get caught by them – but Xander doesn’t trust anyone, including the nice people that picked his crew up.

After escaping that situation we’re on the road again where Xander and Benji see some disturbing things, too disturbing for kids, and you really appreciate the simplicity of Sagliani’s scene and his respect for the reader’s maturity to understand the toll the zombies have taken on the world. This last until they arrive in a very rich neighbor to scavenge for supplies and are ambushed by Felicity Jane, former child star and current love interest for our male lead, and her longtime friend (don’t know his name). Felicity is an interesting character, although she may seem like a spoiled, diva brat, you’ll learn her history and feel for her.

Soon enough they’ll leave and encounter ANOTHER set of bad guys, but they’re a religious group recruiting long-before the zombie apocalypse started. This was actually done very well, especially the child bride thing (oops, is that a spoiler?) and really gave me the creeps. However, this is also the point I stopped liking Xander some. He does something that just rubbed me the wrong way and just lessened my enjoyment of his character.

The end is what really intrigued me and made me decide to read book two. There’s this amazing revelation at the end where I went

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If you’re in the mood for some “light” zombie, horror, post-apocalyptic, survival, YA, adventurous fun that mentions fast food, video games, and reality television (in a bad light) then you’ll LOVE this book.

 

 

Affairs of the Dead (The Reanimation Files #1) by A. J. Locke

Affairs of the Dead4 starts out of 5

★ ★ ★ ★

Necromancer Selene Vanream helps ghosts settle their affairs so they can move on. But when breaking the rules gets her in trouble, she’s bumped down to tracking ghosts trying to avoid the afterlife. Ghosts like Ethan Lance, who claims he was kicked out of his body when someone else jumped in. Which might be plausible–if such a thing were possible. And if Micah, Selene’s partner, didn’t pull her into an investigation of brutal murders that lead directly back to Ethan.

But when the whole mess puts Selene’s life in danger, she suddenly has very personal reasons to get Ethan’s body back. Between her uncomfortable relationship with Micah, and problems with her boss, Selene learns just how much trouble it can be when you don’t follow the rules… 

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Do you remember in middle school and high school when teachers repeatably said to begin your paper with a hook to reel a reader in? Well Ms. Locke didn’t forget that with this opening sentence:

“I was in a strip club trying to help a ghost get laid which was challenging, but not impossible.”

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To say I was hooked would be an understatement; I was stabbed.

This book was extremely different than what I expected. It’s not futuristic, however it does have ghost running rampant and necromancers attempting to crossover said ghost and no one blinks, so it’s not our current. I assume it’s supposed to be like an alternate now e.g; The Walking Dead. The world Locke created with this book is so interesting, and the detail she includes for the necromancer business is beyond awesome because it’s so plausible. People and ghost coexist peacefully…well, until the ghost turns into a raging, homicidal creature. But it’s full of ghost, witches, magic and of course necromancers, but it’s not all about the paranormal elements in this novel that make it so fun. It’s Selene Vanreem.

Selene is that fighter chick, who’s a loner yet the most noticeable person alive without trying to be. She eats men for breakfast, skips lunch,  helps ghost for dinner and leaves room for playing with her dog, Luna for dessert. Full of dry humor and sarcasm Selene deserves a secured position on my badass chick list because she’s  fierce and loving of the people close to her, which is a very minuscule amount of people. Genuinely caring about her clients and gifted with the ability of reanimation. She goes above and beyond to assist her ghost in crossing-over even if that requires breaking the rules. But like all heroines, Selene has her faults and our leading male, Micah will allow her to truly open up in a way she’s never done before. Which brings me to Micah’s character. He’s a grey-eyed handsome devil, with a serious attitude problem – when it comes to Selene – and assholish tendencies, but once you get past all the bull you’ll love him.

Meanwhile, Ethan is this adorably, sweet boy that you fall in love with from the very beginning. seeking help from Selene he attempts to transition from being a human to a ghost, and then is accidentally bound to her through her reanimation power; which, if I didn’t explain previously, is the ability to bind ghost to you and “push” people’s souls from there bodies – it’s pretty crazy.

Although Selene and Ethan are the two important people about this novel it actually features a pretty interesting plot. Someone is killing people in the body of a ghost! So, she attempts to find the person responsible while also dealing with a life altering secret that could mean the end to her.

I have a tendency to run on until I’m basically repeating the entire book to you, so I’ll leave it at you need to read it!

Click image to purchase

(not Peter, the image above Peter)

ARC Review: Angelfall (The Angelborn Cycle #2) by L. Penelope

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3 out of 5 stars
★ ★ ★

Lyrix, the first new angel to emerge in a millennium, brings hope for her endangered race. But the weight of duty is heavy. As the newest and strongest, she is expected to become a Seraph, one of the stoic angel kings and queens. She dreads the prospect of losing all her emotions in the transformation, but avoiding her destiny may lead to extinction for her kind.

Wren is half-human and a second-class citizen among angels. A chance meeting with Lyrix leaves them both yearning for a life lived on their own terms. A relationship between an angel and an angelborn is unprecedented, and powerful forces oppose their union. On a journey to the human world, tragedy strikes, and Wren and Lyrix realize their love may destroy both worlds.


The Good:

The novel begins very intense. Our female lead, Lyrix, is about to give birth while her lover, Wren, is being vaporized by an angel. After this we’re taken back to the beginning to witness their relationship develop and how they arrived in their current predicament. We’re then transported to a whole new world where the angels live. It’s an interesting world, full of rules and lacking passion because these angels don’t feel anything except loathing for half-breed angels (half angel, half human). The angels don’t have any physical features and they communicate their feelings with colors, however the two main characters are Asian.

Wren, works in a specific division that deals with the lives people live before they pass away and are reborn. I found this very interesting. The idea that each life we live is viewed and cataloged by angels is different, just like the idea Ms. Penelope has about the purpose of the angel and how humans and people are linked in this quote:

It is how the Destinies learn who needs their counsel, how the Deaths know who is to die. How the Peaces know who to soothe and the Warriors know who to inflame. Each human soul needs something different in order to grow. The stream of aether connects us to them and connects our actions to their souls, which we protect and honor until they are ready to join the Flame.

The idea that angels and the half-angels are soulless and need to find a human to share their souls in order to not be banished to the wastelands, aka Hell. It’s intriguing, especially since angels don’t have souls in the biblical sense either, however these angels aren’t the same as angels described in the bible. But I enjoyed this quote because it reminded me of the movie Comet with Justin Long:

Humans who fall in love deeply enough to link their souls together find one another again and again throughout their lifetimes

I’m a big fan of forbidden love, so Wren and Lyrix being in a relationship deemed unacceptable made me very excited. There was also another component to this story, but I can’t tell without giving it away!

The Bad:

There wasn’t much to seriously complain about in this novel, but I did have some serious issues with a couple of things. My first issue began with Lyrix. She’s supposed to be a full angel, yet she’s overly emotional and curious – two things these angels aren’t. Normally I wouldn’t have a problem with this, however it’s supposed to be impossible. Regardless of this, my real problem lies in the the fact that Wren knew some seriously sexual stuff to have never had any previous knowledge on Earth or with sex. Being half-human doesn’t mean that stuff comes naturally. Which also brings me to Lyrix and Wren perving on a “couple”. This is really uncool, angels or not. This isn’t angelic behavior; it’s not even regular behavior, it’s just weird and creepy. My last issue would be that I felt disconnected with everything on a certain level. I know this book is a standalone, but there is another book before it, and reading that first might’ve been a good idea.

The Ugly:

Page length is the curse many novels are plagued with. If a novel is too long without a purpose, it becomes boring. If it’s too short and feels rushed, we’re left unsatisfied. This particular novel was way too short! We’re placed into the world of Angels rather smoothly, however once we’re  formerly introduced to Lyrix everything just escalates so quickly. I found myself swiping back (it’s an ebook) to see if I missed something. Sadly, the length of this novel left a lot to be desired and learned about the engrossing world that the angels are in.

Source: I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review

 

Beautiful Chaos (Beautiful Creatures Book 3) by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

518jnpdoofl1 out of 5 stars

Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange, impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small Southern town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home from the Great Barrier, strange and impossible have taken on new meanings. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena’s Claiming. Even Lena’s family of powerful Supernaturals is affected — and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear: What — or who — will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin?

For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He’s being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it’s not Lena — and the mysterious figure is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself — forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn’t know why, and he’s afraid to ask.

Sometimes there’s no going back. And this time there won’t be a happy ending.

 


!!!I DID NOT FINISH THIS BOOK!!!

Finishing books have always filled me with a source of pride, so when I realized completing this book wasn’t likely I rejected this defeat!  That is until page 346 and it’s like I hit a wall – my eyes glazed over, hands cramped, and my mind just blanked. This was the day I said, “I’m calling it!” After countless pages of repetitive scenes and annoying character actions I literally couldn’t take it anymore.  I closed the book and set it on my shelf to collect dust.  It’s possible that I’ll come back to it after some time, but for now it’ll remain there.

Problem One:

The characters in this book are terrible. Ethan started out as this cute, love-struck boy in book one, but now his loyalty to Lena is stupid, his willingness to put zero blame on her is stupid, and his irrational treatment of the physical impact she has on him is stupid. Every time Lena kisses him she’s basically killing him, but that’s alright because… what? There isn’t an explanation, plus his treatment of Liv was NOT cool…especially since I liked her character. Oh, and how could I forget the little (sarcasm) hints about Ethan losing his memory and losing himself blah blah blah.

I’ve expressed my dislike for Lena countless times on GR but never on here, so it’s my responsibility to rectify this. What words could be used to describe Lena’s character besides, Selfish, Annoying, Immature, Depressing for no reason. Boohoo, she she has mommy issues, so what! There are many more words, but I reckoned I’d lay it on lightly. She’s jealous of Liv, although she ran off with John Breed because no one understood her extremely deep, emotional turmoil (The Whiner).  Then after Liv saves her, she has the mettle to be a serious bitch!  Not to mention she’s always about to cast on someone with her stupid powers.  I’m still befuddled about what makes her light at all, she’s supposed to be gray -the place between light and dark – but all I see is dark caster.  I don’t even want to blab about her anymore.

Although I like Link as a character they totally went right over him being a freaking incubus! Mortal to Demon and we’re not even talking about this? How is that even possible?

Seriously!

Whatever, Like I said Link’s character is cool but that whole Ridley and Link romance is not funny or fun, it’s immature and annoying – perfect words to describe Ridley. In book 1 and 2 I liked Ridley but in this book she’s just not doing it for me.

Amma was being  secretive and mean for no reason. After books 1 and 2 you’d think they’d learn not to keep secrets, but obviously Amma didn’t learn her lesson and her character hasn’t grown or changed at all from all the other books.

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Problem Two:

Yes. I skipped ahead to the end to read the last chapter, and to be candid I’m relieved I didn’t read the 200 pages that remained. With an ending as anti-climatic as that I’m surprised people were still interested in reading b00k 4! There’s nothing separating  this novel from the other two in the series and nothing magnetizing me toward it either.

Problem Three:

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(have I ever expressed my obsession with Marlon Brando? No. Well I’m obsessed with Marlon Brando.)

These have to be the absolute worst villains I’ve ever had the displeasure of reading. Abraham and Sarafine. Why must we suffer the torture of this boring tale of how she was dark but rejected that fate (similar to Lena) and tried to live normally; until Abraham comes around and tempts her to the dark side (literally in this instance) because her power is unsurpassed.

Bull-shiitake my mushroom

If you’re going to deliver bad hero’s then give me solid villains, like Iago in Othello.

Thanks for reading this semi-rant, semi-review of this whole (see what I did there) terrible novel. I’m not even going to leave a link to purchase the book.