Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “Paranormal”

pyrajane’s review #48: Switch by Carol Snow

Are you in the mood for some light paranormal YA?  Switch is one of those couch reads that you can breeze through quickly on some lazy day.  It’s not the kind of book that stays with you, but it’s an interesting premise.

Switch over to my blog for more.  (Get it?  Switch???  I’m clever!)

Katie’s #CBR4 Review #52: Soulless by Gail Carriger

Title: Soulless
Author: Gail Carriger
Source: library
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Summary: It was everything I hoped for – awesome integration of a steampunk society with supernatural elements plus hilarious characters.

“First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.” Alexia is afflicted with these and a variety of other social stigmas which she bravely soldiers through, all while dealing with suspicion that she is responsible for recent vampire disappearances. She handles even the most uncouth behavior with remarkable poise, a sharp wit, and a bxcziting sense of humor. And somehow, in the midst of it all, she manages to begin a startlingly wonderful romance.

Read more on Doing Dewey.

Petalfrog’s #CBR4 Review #44: The Last Victim by Karen Robards

Karen Robards mixes the paranormal with a fairly standard serial killer mystery to mixed results. In this mash-up of genres, Dr. Charlotte Stone (Charlie) is a renowned forensic psychiatrist specializing in the study of serial killers (despite being only about 30 years old and no unique area of research noted). She is so renowned, in fact, that the FBI comes to the prison where she is working to request her help on a case. To be fair, they also seek out her help because Charlie, when she was a teenager, witnessed her friend’s family being murdered by The Boardwalk Killer. The FBI team, led by Tony Bartoli, are concerned that the current case may be a copycat, or worse, The Boardwalk Killer returned. To top it all off, Charlie has a special “skill” in being able to see the spirits of recently violently deceased. When the FBI agents interrupted her interview of Michael Garland, imprisoned for life for killing seven women, Garland is shanked in the halls. Charlie’s attempt to save him, somehow “seals” him to her, and she must deal with his presence while helping the FBI.

The book has some potential, but overall I just couldn’t love it. The mystery is often lost for chapters at a time in favor of paranormal stuff, especially when Charlie is initially dealing with Garland. Also, there is a totally bizarre and unbelievable love-plot with Garland as well. I assume that in future books we will discover that Garland is in fact innocent of the crimes, but it seemed so out of place that Charlie would be so emotionally attracted to someone she knows to be a murdered of women. Her attempt to “psychoanalyze” herself did not exactly justify this either (oooh Daddy issues. Give me a break).

Also, I just got the sense that the author must not have much background in psychology/psychiatry. All the psych stuff was so hackneyed and cliche it felt like Robards just mimicked things she’d seen on TV or read in other books. I hate to say it, but traditional psychodynamic orientations aren’t the most popular currently, yet that was clearly all Charlie knew. Combined with a misuse of the word “schizophrenic” made me just feel annoyed with any of the psychological aspects of the book.

The writing was a bit inelegant at times, and could have been tighter and more exciting. The dialogue and characters were fine, but nothing particularly inspiring. The ending was a bit out of the blue, especially given that the mystery was clearly not the focus of the book. Apparently, Robards has written dozens of books (I’ve never heard of her), but I doubt I will go out of my way to seek out her books in the future.

This was a netgalley advanced copy and is available now!

Read more of my reviews at my blog!

DragonDreamsJen’s #CBR4 Review #69 & 70 Zandru’s Forge and A Flame In Hali by Marion Zimmer Bradley and Deborah J. Ross

 When I reviewed The Fall of Neskaya (Book One of the Clingfire Trilogy) as number #49 in my Cannonball Read IV Challenge, I shared how sad I was that the other 2 books in the trilogy were proving to be so hard to find.  Big Box bookstores seem to be carrying less and less older works by some of the classic Sci-Fi and Fantasy authors I’ve read for years.  This trilogy, that Marion Zimmer Bradley wrote with the help of Deborah J. Ross before her death in 1999, was a missing part of my Darkover collection.

This is where the Internet proves to be so COOL!  A few weeks after that review, I received a Facebook message from Deborah J. Ross herself!  You could have knocked me over with a feather when she not only complimented me on my review of Book One but generously offered to send me copies of the other two books to complete my collection. I am sure that I shrieked louder than a teenager girl given a backstage pass for a One Direction concert!

Read my double review of these amazing books on my BookHoardingDragon blog

 

DragonDreamsJen’s #CBR4 Review #57 No Mercy by Sherrilyn Kenyon

I picked the hardcover copy of No Mercy in a sale bin at a local bookstore to add to my rapidly growing Kenyon collection.  It felt a bit familiar as I read the first few chapters and I have a sneaking suspicion that I might have read a friend’s copy of this.  Regardless, the story makes a lot more sense having now read the Chronicles of Nick series, Archeron and the other novels that I’ve acquired in the Dark-Hunter collection.  Since I am not reading them in pure chronological order, there are a few gaps in background character knowledge that would probably make the reading experience slightly richer, but that is the beauty of having a vast set of books in your personal library – when you complete the collection at some point, you can go back and read them in sequence to fall in love with a sweeping series such as this all over again.

No Mercy deals with one of the most intriguing characters in the series, the Sanctuary club’s bouncer Dev who just happens to be one of 4 quads (4 hunky brothers) and a Were-Bear to boot.  Kenyon has no shortage of imagination when it comes to creating unique characters that break beyond the traditional romance novel mold!  Add a 5000 year old Amazon Dark-Hunter to the mix who is haunted by the death of her husband and child in a gruesome betrayal and you have two people with far more baggage to overcome than your traditional  Harlequin lovers.  The fact that Samia is being hunted by demons who want to use her psychometric powers to find out how to destroy the Greek God Apollo also makes their relationship a little more challenging.

Once again, Kenyon’s blend of riveting story line, fascinating characters and sensual lovemaking combine for a thrilling read from start to finish.  The more of her novels I read, the better I understand how and why Kenyon has attracted such a vast and loyal fan base.  As with previous stories, the characters triumph over seemingly insurmountable odds with determination, sarcasm and cultural references that had me laughing out loud.  I can see that I will have to make more bookshelf space under the Ks again…

Hardcover format, 343 pages, published in 2010 by St. Martin’s Griffin

DragonDreamsJen’s #CBR4 Review #44 Night Pleasures by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Unlike many of the more traditional romance novels, Night Pleasures does not feature a bare chested man in some heroic pose or a slender woman swooning against his rippling muscles.  One of the many things that makes Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunter novels so unique is the variety of ways in which they forge paths of their own instead of conforming to the expected.

Night Pleasures is Kenyon’s second novel in this amazing series.  It details the struggles that  the Immortal Kyrian of Thrace and paranormal-denying human Amanda Devereaux must face from the moment they awaken handcuffed together.  The forces of evil have mistaken Amanda for her vampire-slayer twin sister, Tabitha, in the hopes that she and Kyrian will destroy each other before the God-forged handcuffs are removed.

The story starts with steamy scenes and handcuffs… then devolves into a romping adventure so blatantly sensual that I found the story hard to read if my teenagers were close by.  Too many questions about why Mom is blushing that deeply!  This book also features the first appearance of Nick Gautier (albeit an older version who has his driver’s license but is still a Squire) and Kyrian’s Spanish housekeeper, Rosa.  There seemed to be  a slight inconsistency or two in some minor details… but since The Chronicles of Nick deals with a future that keeps shifting slightly, these can certainly be chalked up to the eternal time paradox escape clause!

The more I read Kenyon’s works, the more impressed I am with her vivid prose, incredible sensuality and captivating characters.  Her ability to carve out a new genre in the heavily saturated romance novel world is a testament to her writing ability.  The Chronicles of Nick series certainly proved that she doesn’t need graphic sexual scenes to sell a good story… but with the summer on it’s way, I also don’t mind having a new author and a slew of steamy books to make any rainy weather more bearable! Very few “bodice rippers” written by anyone other than Nora Roberts have remained in my household library.  Now that I am beginning to track down the Dark Hunter novels to read in the recommended chronological order, I will need to make more book shelf space among the Ks this summer to accommodate the growing collection!

Paperback format, 309 pages, published in 2002 by St. Martin’s Griffin

rdoak03’s #CBR4 Review 19: Jaden Baker by Courtney Kirchoff

I’m not really into reading about paranormal stuff, but this book (and title character) latched on to my heart. Jaden exemplifies the will to survive and holding on to your innermost self. Highly recommended. My full review (without spoilers- very difficult!) can be found here.

One of the things that I am enjoying most about this Cannonball Read IV challenge is how it lets me track my reading patterns. I tend to go in themes or off on tangents. My current thread of reading books about demons, demigods and other things that might go bump in the night reminded me of something in an older tale by Charles de Lint. I scurried down to my bookcases in the basement to reread this incredible tale of the supernatural and Gypsy culture penned by one of Canada’s best fantasy authors in the mid-eighties.

Mulengro is a tale of dark magic set in Canada’s capital city and into the Ontario countryside. A series of murders is baffling the police and haunting the Romany community. The police think that a serial killer is on the loose but the Gypsies know better. Something is stalking them and any who get in the way. Their name for this darkness is He Who Walks With Ghosts….Mulengro.

You can find the rest of my review and the ISBN number for this amazing book on my Book Hoarding Dragon blog.

DragonDreamsJen’s #CBR4 Review #32 Misfit by Jon Skovron

It’s not often that I read a book which I enjoy as much as it also baffles me.  Misfit almost defies being categorized, despite being found in the YA section of major bookstores.  The cover art and jacket wording were unusual and eye-catching enough to grad the attention of my oldest daughter during our recent bookstore binge, but the subject matter was touchy enough that she checked with me first. Part Paranormal and Horror, part religion and history yet a wholly satisfying tale of a young woman coming of age, Misfit deals with the conflict experienced by a 16 year old Catholic-school student, Jael Thompson, who learns that her mother was considered a God to some and a demoness to others.  Learning how to cope as a half-breed while one of the fiends of Hell is… well.. Hell Bent on your destruction… proves to be a bit of more of a challenge than the everyday life of a teenager should hold.

Having inhaled the book in a day but the timing of it being during Holy Week (while I was still in a lot of pain from the whiplash’’), I found myself somewhat puzzled as to how I was going to rate this book.  I can see how the very subject matter and point of view might insult, intimidate or offend a certain segment of Christian readers, but some of the questions that are raised in this book are actually very important ones for young people to ask themselves; What do I believe in?  Is Evil done in the name of Good all right? Is there a wider world out there?

Many authors, from C.S. Lewis and Madeleine L’Engle to Phillip Pullman, George Lucas and J.K Rowling have caused readers to explore their own faith systems before and the delicate, precarious balance between Light and Dark.  Jon Skovron does so in his own way which is as unusual as it is unique.  Though this story could stand on its own, there were certainly enough loose threads and intriguing plot twists to hint at the possibility of a sequel.  Reading this just after Infinity gave me an unusual chance to compare and contrast the two stories and their Demon overtones. The female character in Misfit, though certainly enjoyable, lacks some of the optimism and gutsy strength  that permeates the Chronicles of Nick series and its main character.  Misfit is an intriguing insight into the more rigid dogma of Catholicism from one person’s perspective and the mayhem that ensues when things go suddenly awry.

Hardcover format, 362 pages, published in 2011 by Amulet Books

DragonDreamsJen’s #CBR4 Review #31 Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Author Sherrilyn Kenyon thanks her own teenage sons for helping her come up with the opening line – I am a socially awkward mandork– for this first book in the Chronicles of Nick series.  After the bleakness of reading Wither, this book drew me into a world of teenage angst, sarcasm and zombies…. what’s not to love?  Nick Gautier is having a harder time than most young men adjusting to the challenges of growing up. He lives in fairly abject poverty, raised by his mother who has to work as a stripper while his violent father rots in prison.  That is before reality begins to unravel around him and fellow classmates begin turning into living zombies.

Infinity is a wonderful introduction for teenage readers into to the Dark Hunter world that Kenyon, a #1 New York Times Best Selling Author, has created.  I recognized several key characters as the first chapters unfolded, but this pivotal story is told in such a strong male voice that I was immediately drawn in to the captivating blend of vulnerability and attitude embodied by the young hero.

There is plenty of humour to keep you  smiling at the oddest moments, plenty of action to satisfy any reader’s longing for adventure and so many incredible characters that you finish this novel craving another fix as soon as possible. I purchased this hardcover novel for half-price, but after reading it, I quickly hunted down the second book in paperback format to devour.  The series is powerful enough to make me break my rule of waiting for the paperback on principle and I may have to buy the 3rd one in hardcover, especially knowing that there will be a fourth book to come!

After reading Sherrilyn Kenyon’s story about her road to publishing, I can understand why her stories and characters are so believable.  Like them, the author has faced incredible odds and challenges without giving up.  Ever.  Some may wince at the paranormal in young adult novels, but I feel it is important to have stories which inspire young readers not to give into Darkness and to keep reaching for the Light.  The way that Kenyon accomplished this in Infinity is unique, refreshing and …infinitely enjoyable!  I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.

Hardcover format, 464 pages, published in 2010 by St.Martin’s Griffin

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