Random Musings by Frodosco

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Mini Review Monday: Five Empires: Wasps by Joely Black

MiniReviewMonday

Five Empires: Wasps

Summary From AmazonFive Empires - Wasps

Ayla’s test subject has escaped, and the others are dead. Lorasz is on the run, fleeing the deadly Master Assassin into the dangerous slum known as the City of Heaven. Placing his trust in the mysterious Keshwar spy, Tallis, he fears for his life as Ayla sends out spies of her own: deadly mechanical wasps.

And what of the test subject herself? Released from her prison, she is on the hunt for adventure. And prey.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews on Mini Review Monday! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

Wasps, volume two in the Five Empires series, just released so go get a copy here and get a copy of volume one, Escape, for free!

Wasps continues where Escape left off with Lorasz on the run from Ayla and the life he knew. He doesn’t really know what he’s got himself into and is blindly following Tallis hoping they’ll lead him to freedom, or at least a semblance of safety. We don’t really know much about Lorasz yet, he seems like he’s got some heart to him, after all he took some serious risks with the test subjects, but he’s just running with no idea where he is headed so I’m not sure how bright, or at least prepared the guy is.

Wasps introduces a new perspective, that of the test subject, and I absolutely loved it! You get to see this new being, and see it develop, grow as it is introduced to new surroundings, and really watch its brain work. Absolutely fascinating. However, just as the summary would suggest, the subject is on the hunt and when the prey is determined the ruthless, kick-butt action begins! Oh, and may I mention how much I love all the cool weaponry? LOOOOOVE

This series is playing out like a video game might, which is no surprise knowing Black’s love of them. The novellas are short but pack in a ton of fantastic action. The characters are intriguing but you can tell the overall picture, the cool fight scenes, and the plot are the focus. I can even picture the author planning it out so we get some dialogue, slam us with action, go back for a brief respite to the characters, and BAM a boss fight (epic clash) at the end! I can’t wait to read more of this wonderful series and I really encourage you to check it out! They are short but really well written stories and well worth your time. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #138/200

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Review: Wicked Intentions by Charity Langley

Wicked Intentions

Summary From GoodreadsWicked_Intentions_Cover_for_Kindle

Life was bad enough when Lauren DarPayne hit puberty and sprouted a set of fangs, but now it’s hell.

After almost killing her boyfriend Derik and turning him into a vampire, she quit college and moved from small town Louisiana all the way to Atlanta, Georgia to be a stripper at Wicked Intentions. It’s good money, a great place to hide, and an easy meal ticket… well, at least until a psycho with some interesting non-human abilities starts eviscerating her coworkers.

Now, due to her past ‘indiscretion’ with Derik, the governing body of all cryptid, the Abattoir, is giving her an ultimatum: play bait willingly, or by force.

(This book is first and foremost horror. The deaths are brutal, and there is a rape scene. This book is not for the faint of heart)

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I received an e-book copy of Wicked Intentions courtesy of Charity Langley in exchange for an honest review.

Wicked Intentions brings all of the standard types of supernatural creatures that we have seen plenty of lately (werewolves, vampires, and witches) but also expands into psychics, fairies and a couple surprises that I won’t spoil. You’ll get your fix no matter what is your favorite, though vampires and werewolves do make up the majority as is to be expected. There is also plenty of action for all of you readers that can’t stand slow buildups. Displays of supernatural powers? Check. Sexy scenes guaranteed to spice up your reading experience? You bet. Daring escape attempts, chases, and even haunting nightmares are all present in Wicked Intentions. Action junkies kick back and enjoy.

So what does that compilation sound like and what type of reader would enjoy it? Supernatural fans, especially those of varied and large casts are sure to enjoy it. Readers wanting a bunch of action to break up the story will be satisfied as well. Even the romance/naughty bits are taken care of. But read the part of the Goodreads summary that is contained in parentheses (it’s at the bottom), go ahead, I’ll wait. That’s right, the book is supposed to be “first and foremost horror”, that this book is not. Never once while reading Wicked Intentions did I feel any sense of foreboding, let out a gasp, feel a shiver down my spine, nothing. Every book has an identity, just as this one does, and while the book as a whole is quite good, horror it is not. Violence? Oh sure, and plenty of it, but it isn’t scary just as watching an episode of any Law and Order episode isn’t, but both are interesting nonetheless. Violence isn’t inherently filled with horror. Moving on.

The other issue I had with Wicked Intentions, unfortunately is the main character, Lauren. She is prone to jealousy at the drop of a hat, has absolutely no tact or compassion especially when it is needed most and in general tends to act like quite an arrogant and stubborn asshat. Yes asshat. I’m not saying every main character has to be likable, but having redeeming qualities that outshine the grating parts is recommended and Lauren’s don’t. Her supporting cast is actually pretty solid, and outside of a few repetitious bits involving one of the constants, Greg, the writing for them is great. They have depth, are easy to connect with and with some even relate to and supernatural or not they are believable. Lauren just doesn’t fit in with the rest of them. She has a few “excuses” for being the way she is, but they aren’t strong enough for me to give the way she acts at times in the book validity.

The plot is pretty old-school mystery (yes another genre thrown at you, but in this case it works). Crazy killer on the loose, cops, supernatural mostly, attempt to find them and catch/kill them (depending on what you read into it). It’s good, not overly formulaic with enough twists to keep you off guard (though one reveal was SUPER obvious) and the result was surprising enough. Not much to say about it really as far as specifics, just solid mystery meets supernatural.

My last comment is something that I made sure to clarify with the author before I posted in this review because honestly I thought something went wrong with my e-book copy. The ending was abrupt, like… did something get cut off somewhere, am I missing pages, what the heck kind of sudden. There is all this world building at the end and a bunch of things with central characters hanging in the balance and then… done. Yes this is book one in a series, I know cliffhangers and dramatic last lines can be fun, but the way it was left off left me cold. Sure I want to know what happens to the characters, yes even Lauren, but if I’m going to the length of confirming with the author if the copy I received ended prematurely you know that it wasn’t smooth. I’m really not trying to harp on it, I’m just flummoxed. Oh well.

Overall Wicked Intentions is a good, if perhaps an incorrectly classified, book that has pieces from all sorts of genres that for the most part blend quite well together. It’s a throwback to older mysteries while staying current with supernatural creatures both mainstream and rarely seen. The vast majority of characters are well done, they are relatable and believable as is the plot. There are flaws that could be corrected in the remaining books in the series, and Lauren’s character could use a major attitude adjustment, but I enjoyed the story. You’ll never get bored and the pacing the way Langley spaces out the action is excellent and keeps you enthralled. A good read. Thanks as always for reading and come back soon for my next review! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #97/200

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Day 5: Desert Rice by Angela Scott

Day 5

Summary From Goodreads:  

Samantha Jean Haggert is a beautiful twelve-year-old girl—but no one knows it. All they see is an awkward boy in a baseball cap and baggy pants. Sam’s not thrilled with the idea of hiding her identity, but it’s all part of her older brother’s plan to keep Sam safe from male attention and hidden from the law. Fifteen-year-old Jacob will stop at nothing to protect his sister, including concealing the death of the one person who should have protected them in the first place—their mother.

Sam and Jacob try to outrun their past by stealing the family car and traveling from West Virginia to Arizona, but the adult world proves mighty difficult to navigate, especially for two kids on their own. Trusting adults has never been an option; no adult has ever given them a good reason. But when Sam meets “Jesus”—who smells an awful lot like a horse—in the park, life takes a different turn. He saved her once, and may be willing to save Sam and her brother again, if only they admit what took place that fateful day in West Virginia. The problem? Sam doesn’t remember, and Jacob isn’t talking.

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I received a lovely signed copy of Desert Rice in a giveaway from Angela Scott herself about a month ago and now I (finally!) got the chance to read it. Without further ado, my thoughts on Desert Rice!

I’ll be honest, I haven’t read a whole lot of books with a 12-year-old girl’s point of view, so I didn’t really know what to expect in terms of how the character would narrate her story. My first impression of Sam was that she was woefully, and a tad annoyingly, ignorant of a lot of things. I don’t remember much about being 12, but I don’t recall being so unaware of the world as a whole. However, as I read Desert Rice I discovered more and more that what Scott was likely doing in showing that ignorance was highlighting the pathetic excuse for an upbringing that both Sam and her brother Jacob received. Sam is a character that Scott clearly poured a little extra of her writer’s essence into, she’s someone you instantly want to befriend and protect, and the lengths that her brother goes to do so seem justified by more than just their family link. She’s as innocent as they come, molding herself only by what she sees in the few encounters that she is allowed to have with the world but she has the typical stubbornness of someone her age which makes her feel all the more real.

Which brings me to Jacob. He has both of their lives on his shoulders, plus the additional weight of keeping secret what happened to them both from everyone they encounter, and from Sam as well. He puts on a brave face most of the time but some frustration does leak through, mostly fueled by what Sam had went through (can’t be any more specific, spoilers!), and a bit of a typical teenage male’s difficulty with being around his kid sister all the time. However, Scott makes it readily apparent that Jacob cares deeply for Sam so his occasional outbursts don’t demean him as a character, they even prove to separate him from other books where this character is often a cardboard cutout.

The plot might be the one complaint I have for Desert Rice, and keeps it from being among my favorites. It’s a bit obvious based on the summary where the journey is going to end up, even if the details to get them there aren’t clear. There is a slight twist at the end, don’t worry I won’t spoil it, but not enough of one to really shock you. I would also say that Sam’s indecision at certain parts, even for someone her age, was a tad ridiculous, maybe she thought she was doing what was best for them, but it was irritating to say the least. The pacing was good, though, and there was enough action in Desert Rice to keep the reader engaged while developing the characters at the same time.

There isn’t much to say about the world building as far as just the setting goes. I don’t know much about Arizona outside of the obvious, but Scott seemed to have a pretty good feel for what it is like there, and I’ll take her word(s) on it. The cowboy-type of people that were described at times were a little over the top, and though there may still be some smaller towns where these descriptions would be accurate, it just felt a little off. The setting at least felt realistic enough, so I guess I’d give this area a check mark for completion if not an outstanding (channeling my inner teacher there, weird I know).

Overall I enjoyed Desert Rice. The characters were the highlight of the book without a doubt, and I loved Sam, she was just excellently done. It was a quick and pleasant read and a big thank you to Scott for doing a giveaway so that I could enjoy the book. Thanks as always for reading this and I will see you tomorrow for Day 6! ^.^

Genre Reading Challenge #4/30 – Category – Adventure; Mount TBR Challenge #5/150+; 2013 TBR Pile #5/50; Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #5/365

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