Thursday, August 28, 2014

Review: Unborn (Unborn #1) by Amber Lynn Natusch


Release Date: August 26, 2014
Publisher: 47North
Source: NetGalley
Author Links: Goodreads | Website | Twitter

Born into mystery. Shackled to darkness…
Khara has spent centuries discovering everything about the Underworld―except her place in it. But when she’s ripped from her home, solving the riddle of her origins becomes more important than ever. With evil stalking her through the dark alleys of Detroit, she finds salvation from an unlikely source: a group of immortal warriors sworn to protect the city. Khara needs their help to unravel the tangled secrets of who and what she is—secrets many seem willing to kill for. But time is running out, and the closer she gets to the truth, the closer necessity binds her to an arrogant fallen angel.
Can their shaky alliance withstand that which threatens her, or will her soul fall victim to the unholy forces that hunt her―those that seek the Unborn?
From the author of the bestselling Caged series comes a pulse-pounding new series of supernatural romance


That cover is badass!
I went into this expecting lots of action, lots of magic, and lots of, well, badass stuff!
Aaaaaaaaand, no.
It's got an interesting premise, though. Khara had spent her entire life (centuries) living in the Underworld as Hades' ward. Or at least six months out of the year. The other half she spent with Demeter, while she mourned for Persephone. See, Khara is the trade-off that Demeter made to get her daughter back for half of the year.
So, who were Khara's real parents?
She had no idea, nor any burning desire to find out.
Until one day, when a Dark One swoops into the Underworld, rips her away from Hades, and drops her in the middle of Detroit. She's found by a one of Ares' sons, and the journey to find out which way her family tree branches is on.
There's a brooding fallen angel who's taken an interest in what happens to her, a twin brother that she never knew about, and a psychopath from the Underworld hot on her trail.
Sounds cool, right?
And it is...sort of.
Khara, and everyone else, talks like they're from a different time period. Which, isn't necessarily a bad thing.
But, couple that with the fact that Khara sounds and acts like an emotionless robot?
Ehhhhhhhhh.
I get why she's like that. She had to be stoic and emotionless to survive centuries in the Underworld surrounded by psychos.
After a while, though? It got old.
I still really enjoyed this story, but after I was about 90% done with it, I was getting antsy.
Really antsy.
The chemistry between Oz and Khara, which I originally thought would sizzle...didn't. I'm not really sure when they even started feeling things for each other, due to the wooden dialogue. It certainly didn't help that Khara's inner monologue was lacking in emotion, and Oz's inner thoughts were off limits.

She finds out (relatively early on in the story, so I don't think this is a spoiler) that she has several half-brothers, and they turn into her protectors for the remainder of the book.
Ok.
I know that this falls in line with the mythology part of the plot, but I was hella-skeeved that one of her brothers had a hard time keeping his eyes to himself. Worse, he was the one who was closest to her! Her BFF, if you will.
But he was such a horndog that he evidently had difficult time looking at her as his sister from time to time. Although, the vast majority of these incidents happened in the beginning.
For my personal taste, however, there were too many conversations that went like this:
Random Brother: Perv, remember that she is our SISTER! Stop looking at her like that!
Pervy Brother: I know, I know! I'm trying! It's just so hard to stop being a horny bastard!
Ick.

There are quite a few glowing reviews for Unborn, but I think this is going to be one of those novels that isn't for everyone.
Having said that, I finished this one in two days, so it did hold my interest quite well. There was a lot of originality in the way the story unfolded, and in the way the mythology was played with.
If this sounds like something you'd be interested in, give it a shot. And even with all my complaints, I certainly didn't feel like this was a waste of my time.



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Excerpt & #Giveaway - Athena's Ashes by Jamie Grey!







Series: Star Thief Chronicles #2
Publisher: Clever Crow Press
Release Date: August 26th, 2014


It’s Renna’s biggest job yet – convincing MYTH leadership that she’s put away her lock picks and is ready to save the galaxy, despite the dangerous implant in her brain. But with the Athena on the run, she’s working solo and facing her most ruthless enemy, the traitor Pallas, who’ll go to any lengths to destroy the MYTH organization. Including framing Renna for a devastating assault on MYTH HQ that leaves their defenses crippled and hundreds dead. 

Now that MYTH believes she’s a dangerous double-agent, Renna escapes their firing squad before they put more holes in her than a pair of fishnet stockings. But the ticking time-bomb in her head is the one thing Pallas needs to complete his master plan and he’s not about to let her get away. Even worse, he’s discovered the only thing that will bring Renna to her knees – threatening Captain Nick Finn.

Out of time and options, Renna’s got one shot to take down the traitor before he annihilates everything she loves, even though winning this battle may cost her everything.









Jamie Grey spent most of her childhood writing stories about princesses who saved the day and pretending to be a daring explorer. It wasn’t until much later that she realized she should combine the two. Now, as a tech-obsessed gamer geek, her novels mix amazing scientific developments, future worlds, and the remarkable characters that live in them.


Jamie lives in Michigan with her boyfriend and their pets, who luckily tolerate her overspending on tea, books, and video games. You can learn more about her at www.jamiegreybooks.com, or follow her on twitter via @jamie_grey.








Win (1) copy of The Star Thief and Athena's Ashes, along with 
a copy of the ebook novella (All the books in the Star Thief Series) 
+ some Athena's Ashes swag (INT)

Win (1) $25 Amazong Gift Card (INT)






CHAPTER ONE
For someone who was supposed to be the best thief in the galaxy, Renna had been spending entirely too much time locked up lately.
Not that a high-security hospital room in a secret MYTH base was much of a prison for her, but the IV line snaking from her arm might as well have been a pair of Saltani iron handcuffs. She swung her feet over the edge of the lumpy bed and watched the holoscreen on the far wall. Stats scrolled past, red text on the black background. Her vitals were stable; blood pressure was fine. Looking at her chart, she was the picture of health.
Except for the cybernetic implant taking over her mind.
Renna rubbed the back of her neck where the original incision site had started to throb. It had been doing that a lot lately, thanks to Navang’s depraved experiments and the drugs he’d injected her with. Drugs he’d used to create a whole army of human-robot hybrids.
Thana Samil, the MYTH doctor in charge of her case, said it was nothing to worry about, but Renna knew better. In the five days she’d been locked up here in the MYTH facility, the pain in her head had only gotten worse.
And then there were the weird side effects. She hadn’t stepped foot outside her room, but she knew a bank of super-servers sat in the northeast corner of the facility, as if she’d drawn the blueprints herself. Communications relays resided on each corner of the roof. She’d even felt the throb of the automated defense cannons guarding the facility.
If the doctor and her team didn’t figure out how to slow down the integration between the implant and her nervous system, Renna would be a walking machine before she had the chance to stop the person behind all this.
Pallas.
If Renna’s hunch was right, the traitor was close enough to touch. Maybe even inside this facility. But she’d never find him if she was trapped here for the rest of her short life. She slid off the bed to pace the stark room, careful not to disturb the needles in her arm. Six steps to the door. Turn around. Six steps back to the bed.
She’d done this to herself. She’d volunteered to be locked away and dissected, just to keep Myka Aldani safe. To keep Finn safe.
Her pacing slowed as a pang of longing shot through her. Captain Nick Finn. Former gang member turned MYTH soldier and her first childhood crush. Now, she suspected that she’d fallen in love with him, which worried her. Renna had spent most of her life making sure that didn’t happen. Yet somehow his bright blue eyes, square jaw, and straight-laced moral code had slipped through her defenses.
And oh, the way his fingers had tantalizingly stroked her most sensitive places…
Renna felt herself go warm as she remembered the last time she’d been with him. She’d escaped from Navang, but not before he’d started the process of taking over her implant. Finn had spent the night in her room, waiting for her to regain consciousness, and she’d practically begged him to make love to her. She could still feel the heat of his skin. She inhaled, half-expecting to smell his scent—sandalwood, gun grease, and something that was inexplicably him.
She needed to know what was going on between them, and if that meant more bunk-side exploration, she’d totally take one for the team. But until she knew how to stop Pallas and put an end to these experiments, she wasn’t going anywhere, despite the urge she had to run back to Finn. She’d stay in this facility and let them poke and prod her, just to protect him and Myka. Even if it made her crazy.
The lock on her door beeped, and high-heeled shoes clacked across the threshold. Speak of the devil.
Renna turned as Dr. Samil entered the room. The young doctor wore a pleasant smile despite the slightly frazzled appearance of her long blonde hair escaping the messy bun she always wore. Renna leaned back against the edge of her bed. “Do you always have to look so happy at the prospect of stabbing me with those instruments of torture?”
Dr. Samil’s blue eyes sparkled. “For someone who’s done her share of killing, I can’t believe you have a needle phobia.”
“We all have our weaknesses,” Renna said with a shrug. “Pointy, shiny, metal bloodsuckers just happen to be mine.” 
Samil set her holopad down on the counter and pressed her thumb to the scanner to unlock the drawer. She pulled out a tray of tools. “I guess it’s time for the torture to begin.” 
The doctor brushed her bangs back off her forehead, and Renna gritted her teeth as she slid back onto the bed, preparing to be poked.
“How’d the last test go? Is the implant fusing normally?” Renna stared pointedly at the far wall as Samil fumbled with the glinting needles on the tray. “Or whatever normal is in this fucked-up situation.”
The doctor shook her head, flicking a finger against one of the syringes before pushing the plunger. Pink-tinged liquid squirted from the needle. “I wish I knew. I haven’t seen anything like this before. It’s fascinating.” Her voice was full of that breathless excitement Renna had come to hate. “Whatever Dr. Navang did prompted your ordinarily harmless implant to start fusing directly with your nervous system. If my hunch is right, any other cybernetic implants installed during this time would also fuse to your body. You could even start picking up other electronic signals.”
Renna flinched. Not only because of the quick jab of pain as the doctor deftly slid the needle into her arm, but because she was already picking up those electronic signals. Things were progressing faster than the doctor knew.
“Relax. I promise this won’t hurt.”
“That’s what Navang said.” Renna tilted her head and fixed Samil with a frown. “And look how that turned out.”
The doctor finished injecting Renna with whatever drug cocktail she was trying today, then smiled. “There. Wasn’t so bad, was it? I promise I don’t like torturing you any more than you like being tortured. Unfortunately, I need one more sample to check your antibody levels.”
“Of course you do.” Renna grudgingly let the woman extract a vial of blood and then crossed her arms as Samil slipped the vial into her pocket. “So what did you mean about the other implants?”
Dr. Samil nodded as she tapped some information into her tablet. “Navang wanted to create an army of hybrids he could control, right? Well, the first step was to keep their bodies from rejecting the modified implants he installed. But it didn’t work. His technique destroyed some of their own tissue and risked the constant rejection of the implants. Hence the need for a steady infusion of the anti-rejection medications.
“The new formula he tested on you was a different attempt at the same thing. If he could find a way to make your body fuse with the implant, make it think it was part of itself, eventually technology could overtake biology. Even better, when the process was complete, depending on the type of implant, he could have different types of soldiers. He’d be able to control them all using his neural network. They’d be nothing but mindless robots until he gave them orders.”
Samil’s voice rose as she spoke, her gestures growing even more animated, but a dull ache had started in Renna’s stomach. She remembered the expressionless eyes of the minions at Navang’s lab as she’d slaughtered them to ensure Finn and Myka’s escape. Her heart squeezed as she recalled Viktis’s assurance that she would make it. Her skin crawled at the realization that she was nothing more than an experiment to the doctor, a shiny new toy to be studied until the novelty waned.
But this was Renna’s life. She wasn’t going to sit here helpless while other people tried to save her. “How long do I have?” she interrupted before Samil could get even more excited. The woman positively hummed.
Samil paused, blinking at Renna. “Of course. Right. My assistant has had some success in creating a new drug to slow the fusion. It’s not exact, but I’m hopeful it will work.” Wispy, flyaway hairs floated around her face like a halo as she shook her head. “I’m confident we’ll have a breakthrough soon. I promise we’ll figure this out.”
“Don’t make promises you can’t keep, Doctor. The headaches are getting worse every day.” Renna rubbed at her sore temples, closing her eyes as a wave of pain started to build. She shored up the walls surrounding her heart and refused to even think about losing the connection she’d made with Finn. “On the plus side, if your drugs don’t work and the implant takes over my brain, I hear metal body suits are all the rage this year.”
Samil crossed her arms and leaned back against the table, a frown marring her pretty features. “You’re awfully calm about this whole situation.”
Renna shrugged. She was ten years younger than the doctor, but she suddenly felt like she was a hundred years older. “I’ve learned to deal with the unexpected in my line of work, doc. If you can’t change something, you figure out how to work around it. It’s the only way to survive.”
“That’s a cynical view of life for someone who’s only twenty-three.”
“You saw my file. I grew up in the Izan tenements on Earth, with a prostitute for a mother and a background in stealing. I’ve worked hard to move on, but growing up like that leaves a scar. Or two.” Renna forced herself not to touch the physical scar on her neck, the daily reminder of that life and everything she’d worked so hard to forget.
Thinking about her mother’s attempt to kill her in a drug-induced rage still made Renna flush with shame and hatred. Still made her wary of trusting anyone. Even Finn.
Samil’s expression softened. “I know. And for someone with your past, you’ve come a long way. You’re now part of an intergalactic organization, doing your part to save the universe. You’ve become something bigger than just a thief. I admire you for that.”
“If I had a choice, I would’ve been long gone by now. I’m no hero, and I certainly am not a team player. I don’t need to depend on a galactic organization. I just need myself.” Renna settled back against the pillows and crossed her arms. “MYTH can keep its good deeds. I’m just in this for the dental plan.” And just maybe to make sure she got a shot at happily ever after.
Samil chuckled, and Renna felt a responding smile twist her lips. Despite the needles and the fact that the doctor viewed Renna as a science experiment, she liked the woman. Samil was whip-smart, and if anyone could solve this puzzle, it would be her.
“What am I going to do with you, dove?” the doctor asked with a shake of her head.
“Save me, I hope.” But the doctor could stop using that stupid nickname any time now. Thinking of Renna as a meek little dove was laughable.
“I’m doing my best. I do wish Navang’s facility hadn’t been destroyed. If I had access to his drugs and research, it would make all of this so much easier. Or even Myka Aldani. At one time, he was the key to all of this.” 
Renna’s pulse jumped, and she dropped her gaze to the stark white tiles on the floor. This was exactly why she’d sent Finn on the run with Myka. Destroying the facility had been the only way to stop the human-robot hybrid army Navang and Pallas were building, but it had also signed Renna’s death warrant and put the kid in even more danger.
Had she made the right choice? Could she have stopped Navang another way?
“Do you know why Captain Finn destroyed the place?” Samil asked. “It doesn’t make sense. The captain doesn’t disobey orders.”
“You know Finn?” She clenched her hands in her lap at the unexpected pang of jealousy. The past seven years had changed Finn into a different person, and those years were wrapped in a protective cloak that seemed to surround his heart. He was different, but that Finn from her childhood still remained. She’d thought they’d have plenty of time to get to know him again, to figure out if there was, in fact, a relationship developing under her nose, but life never worked out the way she planned.
Samil nodded. “I was ship doctor for a year on the Athena. He’s a good man. It must have been something big for him to turn his back on MYTH.” Her blue eyes searched Renna’s. “Are you sure he didn’t tell you anything?”
A lump formed in her throat, and she had to swallow around it before answering. “Finn and I didn’t exactly get along when I came on board.” Sticking to half-truths was the safest bet for now, until she figured out who she could trust.
“Right. I’d heard he was angry that Major Dallas wanted him to work with a thief on the last mission. You, I presume?”
“Guilty as charged. He wasn’t likely to confide in me either way.”
“Probably not. I know how he felt about people like you.” Samil’s eyes widened. “I mean, people who don’t follow the law.” She shook her head with an apologetic frown. “I’m sorry, this isn’t coming out right. I just mean Finn’s a good man. For him to go on the run from MYTH means something is seriously wrong.”
Renna nodded. “I get it. I’m a thief. Untrustworthy. But I was hired to do a job and that’s what I did.”
“I didn’t mean anything by it, Renna. I’m sorry.” The doctor glanced at the door. “Now that I’ve put my foot in it, I’m going to go make sure my assistant has your newest sample. Stay positive, Renna, it’s going to be fine.”
“I hope you’re right because it feels like my brain is about to ooze out my ears.”
Samil unlocked another drawer with her thumbprint and rummaged inside. She pulled out a small, flesh-colored disk. “Here, put this medipatch on. It should help with the pain.”
Renna slapped it on her arm. “Thanks, doc. I’ll see you later. Hopefully much, much later.” 
Samil smiled as she left. The door swished shut behind her, and the sound of the lock re-engaging echoed through the room.



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

New Cover Art - The Skull Throne, Hallow Point, The Shadow Revolution, & More!


Covers found through Amazon, GoodReads, & Epic Reads.




Hallow Point by Ari Marmell
&
The Skull Throne by Peter V. Brett


A Mick Oberon Job, Book 2 
Titan Books | May 12, 2015

Book One of the Fae
Tor Books | March 10, 2015

Crown & Key, Book 1
 Del Rey | June 2, 2015

Doubleday | March 17, 2015

Demon Cycle #4 
March 24th 2015 | Del Rey

Dorothy Must Die #2
 March 30, 2015 | HarperCollins

Doubleday | May 5, 2015

January 20, 2015 | St. Martin's Griffin



Monday, August 25, 2014

Early Review: Shatter (True Believers, #4) by Erin McCarthy

Release Date: September 14, 2014
Publisher: InterMix
Source: NetGalley
Author Links: Goodreads | Website

From the USA Today bestselling author of True, Sweet, and Believe comes a tantalizing New Adult novel about finding love in the most unexpected ways…

Kylie Warner prides herself on being optimistic, but after finding her best friend in bed with her boyfriend and flunking chemistry, her upbeat attitude has taken a dive. Even an impromptu hook-up with her sexy new chemistry tutor only brightens her mood slightly. After all, it’s not like she’ll ever see the tattooed scholar again…

While he’s a whiz at complex equations, Jonathon Kadisch has trouble when it comes to figuring out women. So when Kylie tells him that she’s pregnant after their night of passion, he’s at a complete loss. He’s prepared to be a good father—unlike his own deadbeat dad—but he’s less prepared to fall for the genuine and alluring blonde bearing his child.

With emotions running high, Kylie wonders if Jonathon’s devotion is out of growing love or looming obligation. And when heartbreak threatens to tear them apart, Jonathon will have to fight for the only girl who’s ever made him feel whole…




Even though I didn't particularly love this one, I didn't hate it, either. Normally, anything by McCarthy is a winner, but this was, for me, one of her weakest romances.
That doesn't mean Shatter is a stinker, by any means, it's just sort of meh. I'm sure lots of other readers with enjoy it, but I had several problems getting into it.
And here's why:
Kylie has no real problems.
Her family is beyond wonderful, she's well-liked, and she even manages to get knocked up by a nice guy.
The only 'bad' thing that seems to have happened to her is that one of her best friends (during a blackout drinking episode) slept with her (now) scuzzy ex-boyfriend.
Um, ok?
Oh, and she's not super-smart when it comes to math and science.
So? I still add on my fingers?! 
Maybe if you're a genius who's never been cheated on, you might feel bad for her. 
The unplanned pregnancy that was supposed to be the big THING didn't really evoke much of a reaction from me, either.

And speaking of getting pregnant...
Kylie gets knocked up because Jonathon touched her with his wiener for half a second without a condom. Not a full thrust, just an Oops! Thought you were on the pill! Let me move my penis away from you! kind of thing.
Could you get pregnant because a boy's naughty bits 'touched' your naught bits?
It's possible.
But not likely.
I guess McCarthy wanted to paint them both in a fairly good light, hence the condom use. But lets face it, that's not why/how most unplanned pregnancies happen for college age girls.
Stupidity happens. Irresponsibility happens. Unprotected sex happens.
I'm not hating or looking down my nose at those girls. I am one of those girls.
My stupidity led to the biggest and best mistake of my life, and I happen to love that Little Oops with all of my heart. There's nothing like looking at a squishy-looking goo-covered infant that you didn't want, and realizing that you just lost all of your heart a human being for the first time.
It feels something like getting punched in the throat, quite frankly.
However, I didn't get pregnant because his biological father 'accidentally' touched my vajayjay.
And, as a charter member of the Irresponsible Club, I'm a bit insulted that the author copped out on this subject.
So, Kylie getting pregnant in some After School Special kind of way, turned me off big time. It felt like McCarthy was writing some Oooga-Booga-Booga! pamphlet for an evangelical church.
If the boy's penis comes near your vagina, God will strike you down with PREGNANCY!
Obviously, this wasn't McCarthy's intent, but I felt like she took some easy 'magical' route in order to save her characters from looking culpable.

Of course, with all the baby drama, they have to decide whether or not they actually love each other.
*spoilery stuff happens*
After some time apart to figure out what they want, Kylie decides...
She really wants, is to be a Homemaker.
I should be jumping up and down, right? 
Hey! That's me! That's what I do!
Except when she decided this, she didn't have any kids, so it felt sort of...odd.
Yeah, she loves Jonathon, and realizes that she wants to make a home with him, but...
Ehhhhhhhh.
In all fairness, it looks like she plans to finish college.
It's just...?
I don't know, it felt off.
Housewife is a valid life choice, but if either of my girls end up going that route, I want them to have a really solid backup plan.

The romance lacked any real (can't believe I'm going to say this) angst. I know, I know, that should have been a good thing, right? But their love story seemed to play out a little too blandly for me to get all worked up over them.
Sure there were a few obstacles and misunderstandings, just not anything that made me hold my breath or worry.
They were both nice kids. And they both acted in a fairly responsible manner.
Sooooo.
I guess their romance played out more like a side romance, and less like a main character romance.
Does that make sense?

This was an easy read, and I had no problem finishing it, but there were a lot of things I thought were either too vanilla or too iffy, for it to be truly enjoyable.



[Coffee Shop Talks] My Favorite Controversial Read!






Something you may not know about me..I'm a Twilight fan...or at least I was. It has been 4 or 5 years since I read the first installment so I'm not certain that the series would have the same impact on me that it did back then. But I did devour all 4 stories as quickly as I could and loved every minute of it. 

I'm told that Breaking Dawn was the most controversial book of the series for a few reasons. It was darker and more mature than the previous stories, it received more negative reviews than any other novel in the series, and many book critics claimed that it was a mistake not to divide Breaking Dawn into two separate stories. While the Twilight conclusion did have its flaws and wasn't my favorite of the series, I still loved it.


What's your favorite controversial read?




          

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Review: The Flash, Vol. 4: Reverse (The Flash Vol. IV #4) by Francis Manapul, Brian Buccellato


Release Date: August 19, 2014
Publisher: DC Comics
Source: NetGalley
Author Links: Goodreads | Twitter | Website

The fourth volume of Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul's New 52 breakout hit - The Flash!
A mysterious and powerful Speed-Force killer has left a trail of bodies in his wake and only Barry has the power to stop him. But when the killer stays one step ahead of him, Barry finds himself face to face with the Teen Titans and Kid Flash for the first time. All this will lead to a confrontation with the Flash's most deadly foe, The Reverse Flash!

Collects THE FLASH #20-25, and #23.3: REVERSE FLASH.





Flash continues to trot along in the Land of Meh.
It has an interesting enough storyline to keep me coming back (when it's convenient), but not enough to get me overly excited for the next installment.

In this volume, we finally get to meet REVERSE FLASH, who is undeniably one of the biggest villains in the Flashverse.
Flashverse...God, I'm so clever!
First things first, we've got ourselves a new Reverse Flash! Exciting, no?
No.
He's Iris' brother, Daniel, and his backstory is a bit...shaky. To say the least.
Remember back when Flash's entire Rogue's gallery decided to team up and wreak destruction a few volumes back?
No, probably not, since it's just me and three other people reading this title...
Ok. So, for everyone who's not been keeping up...they did. Apparently, sometime during their team-up, Daniel (and a lot of other people) got sucked into the mirror world. The Rogues robbed them.
Yep. They even had the prerequisite giant burlap bag to hold their ill-gotten gains.
But Daniel (fresh from prison) wasn't going down without a fight! He drove a truck into some big important-looking glowing thing inside mirror world.
Or at least that's what I think happened.
Something blew up, he survived, ended up in the desert, and had half a monorail fused to his skin.
Go with it...
Ta-da! New Reverse Flash!
Also, like most DC villains, he was a petty criminal before becoming a SUPERVILLAIN, so he's got street cred...

Alrighty, lots of stuff happens in this one, but the main plot line centers around someone killing off everyone connected to the Speed Force. And it's up to Flash to track 'em down, because...
Well, it's his freakin' title that's why!

Reverse plunked along at nice pace, and kept me flipping the (digital) pages, so I don't want this review to sound like I thought it was a big steaming pile of poo. It's not.
I probably would have rated it higher if the some of the characters had seemed more believable, though.
First up, the Around the World in 80 Seconds scene with Kid Flash.
There's an issue with Bart Allen that turned into nothing more than a ridiculous chase scene. It added little to nothing to the overall story, and I'm assuming it was put in there because they've both got Road Runner powers. Anyway, Barry wanted to ask him a few questions about the murders, and the Kid ran.
Why did he run from Flash, you ask?
'Cause he's a belligerent teenager, of course!
Sure. Why not?
Iris' treatment of her brother was another thing that made me make a frowny-face.
Quick backstory time:
Iris and Daniel had an asshole for a father. He was an abusive drunk. When Daniel was 11(ish) his dad hit him, and he gave the old man a shove. The bastard fell down the steps, Daniel ran off, and his dad couldn't walk anymore.------>Fast Forward Several Years
Daniel is out of jail (failed robbery attempt stopped by Flash), and wants to reconnect with Iris (the only person he loves), but she blows him off because he refuses to forgive their father. This is just before he gets his Reverse Flash powers.
Seriously?! Why the hell is she so pissed at Daniel? He took the brunt of the abuse for years, snapped, and ran off to live on the streets. And she wants him to forgive their nasty-ass father before she'll let him back into her life?
?????
I could understand if she told him she had forgiven their father, and someday hoped (for his sake) that he could do the same. But to just cut him out unless he made nice with his abuser?
Me no understand.
Other than the above mentioned weirdness (and the fact that I want Patty outta the picture), this was a readable story with nice artwork.

Recommended for fans of Flash only.





Saturday, August 23, 2014

Review: The Deep (The Island #3) by Jen Minkman


Release Date: June 3, 2014
Publisher: CreateSpace
Source: Author
Author Links: Goodreads | Website | Twitter


‘The world is never-ending.
I never realized just how much space there is – how far and wide the water around our island stretches out. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I may have believed that a second Wall ran around Tresco, containing the infinite waters so we wouldn’t all wash over the edge and plummet down into the depths.’
Leia and Walt are on their way to the Other Side, where the legendary land of Cornwall awaits them. Tony, their new friend, has told them that all wars of the past have been forgotten and the citizens of Bodmin and Dartmoor live in peace. People adhere to the tenets of an old religion that preaches forgiveness and non-violence.
However, Walt and Leia soon discover that even a peace-loving, ideal society like this one may have its flaws. While on a forbidden trip to Exeter, the old city of their ancestors, the two Islanders discover more about the new world than they ever bargained for.
Secrets run dark and passions run deep in this thrilling conclusion to the Island novella series.



Warning: Spoilers for the previous books in this review.

When I originally read The Island, I never in a million years imagined that it would end up making a point. I thought it was just this weird little book about a group of people who based their belief system on Star Wars fanfic. I mean, come on, how are you going to turn that into a poignant social commentary?

Can I get an amen, folks?

Ok, Minkman. You got me. I get it now.
In the original book, Leia starts questioning the society she grew up in, and ends up turning their world upside down. She finds out that their 'religion' is based off of the diary of a young boy, who was one of the survivors of germ warfare that wiped out the world as we know it. The parents of the original inhabitants of the island died before they could reunite with their children, so the backbone of the two societies were founded by the twelve and under crowd. Eventually, the children split into two groups: the ones who believed their parents would come for them one day, and the ones who thought they had been abandoned.
Leia's side of the island followed the The Force, and revered The Book...which, in reality, was a wonky version of some Star Wars stories. To the inhabitants of the other side of the island, they were known as The Unbelievers.
On the flip side, you learn about Walt's half of the island in the second book, The Waves. Leia knows this group only as The Fools...as in, foolish for waiting around for someone to save them. And, in essence, that's what Walt's town does. Their 'religion' is more traditional, in that they worship a goddess named Annabelle, who has promised to return for them one day.
And that makes a hellava lot more sense than believing in the prophet Luke, and trying to find the Force within yourself!
Or does it?

The Deep takes off in another direction, as Walt and Leia make the journey across the sea to the Old World. And, once again, what they find there surprises them. The inhabitants follow the New Testament, and seem to have a finally come up with a way for everyone to live in peace and harmony.
But the price for no war doesn't come cheap, and it might be higher than either of them are willing to pay.
Meanwhile, back on the island, the Unbelievers and the Fools are trying to find a way to rebuild their societies. Two of the characters from the other books, Alisa (Walt's best friend) and Saul (the unhinged leader of the juvenile Unbelievers), play a large role in the story.
Alisa narrates the portions of the book set on the island, while Leia is our narrator for what's going on in the New World.
There's a buttload of themes that we've got going on between the two points of view. Redemption and personal freedom were both heavily featured, however, the surprising 'lesson' was something I totally didn't see coming.
The running theme of all three books is the blind devotion to their respective religious teachings.
In the first book, I laughed, because...Fanfic! Bwahahahaha! How stupid do you have to be?
The second book had a more plausible belief system, but it was still weird that all these people thought some magical goddess was going to sail up in a ship...and take them all away to paradise someday.
And in this one, Miknkman showed a twisted form of Christianity being abused by the people in power.
Ha! Like THAT could ever happen!
Sooooo.
*cough*
How laughable was it that Leia & Co. blindly followed a book that was written long ago?
In a galaxy far far away...
How stupid were they to believe in the undisputed truth to words that were written down by people no longer alive to explain their meaning?
Riiiiight.
And though Minkman calls into question blind faith, she does it without malice. Even while the characters are struggling with the realization that they've been duped, they still find solace in the belief that there is more out there than just what we can touch and see.

My suggestion is to read these books in order.
Wallow in the ridiculous nature of Leia's society's foundations.
Giggle when you read about Walt's belief in Annabelle.
Because it makes it all the more impressive when the rug gets yanked out from under you in this book.
Well played, Minkman. Well played.