Suramya's Book Review Cafe

May 26, 2010

Early to Death, Early to Rise (Madison Avery series Book 02) by Kim Harrison

Filed under: Young Adult Fantasy — Suramya Tomar @ 7:43 pm


Early to Death, Early to Rise (Madison Avery series Book 02)
by Kim Harrison

Description:

Seventeen, dead, and in charge of heaven’s dark angels – all itching to kill someone.

Madison Avery’s dreams of ever fitting in at her new school died when she did. Especially since she was able to maintain the illusion of a body, deal with a pesky guardian angel, and oh yeah, bring the reaper who killed her to his untimely end. Not exactly in-crowd material. It’s amazing that her crush, Josh, doesn’t think she’s totally nuts.

Now Madison has learned that she’s the dark timekeeper, in charge of angels who follow the murky guidelines of fate. Never one to abide by the rules, she decides it’s time for a major change to the system. With the help of some unlikely allies, Madison forms a rogue group of reapers who definitely don’t adhere to the rules of the heavens.

But as she grapples with the terrifying new skills that come with being a timekeeper, Madison realizes she may not be prepared for what lies ahead – unless she gets some seriously divine intervention.

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Review:This is the second book in the new YA series by Kim Harrison and is quite a fun read. The characters are well developed and even though the plot is quite simple and not very elaborate it is a good read.

I guess one of the reasons that the book doesn’t have a very heavy plot is that its written for young adults and if a book had too many twists and turns then it would loose its target audience.

Another point in the books favor was that you didn’t have to have read the previous book in the series to enjoy this one. Not saying that the book is a complete stand-alone and that it doesn’t enhance a reader’s enjoyment in the story if they know the backstory but still even if you haven’t read the first book you will still enjoy this one also.

Final recommendation: A good read.

May 25, 2010

SpellCrash (WebMage series Book 05) by Kelly McCullough

Filed under: Urban Fantasy — Suramya Tomar @ 7:35 pm


SpellCrash (WebMage series Book 05)
by Kelly McCullough

Description:

The WebMage books are a fantasy-cyberpunk hybrid set in a universe where an ever-increasing number of life threads has forced the Greek Fates to a upgrade the great loom of Fate into a computerized system that blends magic with programming. Of course, where there are computers there are also hackers. Enter Ravirn, a hacker/sorcerer, and his laptop familiar, Melchior. Ravirn is the grandson of both the Greek Fate Lachesis and Thalia the muse of comedy and comedic poetry, making him the end product of Fate and Slapstick. Together with Melchior he takes on Fate, Hades, Nemesis, and all other comers. The results range from disastrous to catastrophic with many side trips into the sublimely silly.

Ravirn is the best hacker around. But when the system controlling the multiverse needs a massive reboot, Ravirn must utilize all of his skills as a mage and prevent complete chaos-even if it costs him his life.

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Review:SpellCrash is the latest book in the WebMage series and is a book that I have been eagerly waiting for the last few months. The book was great and it brings everything that the past 4 books in the series built to head and to a resolution.

I always love books that are based on computers and when you have a book that combines computers with magic you have a win-win situation. Especially when the main character in the book is a hacker who uses both computers and spells to hack into the fabric of life itself.

The book does a great job of re-iterating all the major plot points from the previous books so I didn’t have to go back and re-read the previous books to understand this one, which is something I don’t like doing as I rather read a new book than re-read old books before I can start on the new one.

The characters at this point have been quite well developed and the plot was interesting. The book ended in a way that if the author decides not to write any more books in the series then the readers have a proper ending for the story but if he decides to write another story in that universe then there is enough of an opening left for that also. (BTW, if you haven’t figured out by now… I am rooting for the second option)

Final Recommendation: A great read

May 24, 2010

Amazon Queen (Amazon series Book 02) by Lori Devoti

Filed under: Urban Fantasy — Suramya Tomar @ 7:33 pm


Amazon Queen (Amazon series Book 02)
by Lori Devoti

Description:

Being an Amazon ruler just became a royal pain.Amazon queen Zery Kostovska has never questioned tribe traditions. After all, these rules have kept the tribe strong for millennia and enabled them to live undetected, even in modern-day America. Zery is tough, fair, commanding – the perfect Amazon leader.At least, she was. A new high priestess with a penchant for secrecy and technology is threatening Zery’s rule. Plus, with the discovery of the Amazon sons, males with the same skills as their female counterparts, even Zery can’t deny that the tribe must change. But how? Some want to cooperate with the sons. Others believe brutal new leadership is needed – and are willing to kill to make it happen.Once, Zery’s word was law. Now, she has no idea who to trust, especially with one powerful Amazon son making her question all her instincts. For Zery, tribe comes first, but the battle drawing near is unlike any she’s faced before … and losing might cost her both the tribe and her life.

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Review:Amazon Queen is the second book in the Amazon series and I really liked the book. Its written from the perspective of the Amazon Queen Zery who is more rules bound than her friend Mel who was the focus of the first book. However this adventure forces her to re-examine her outlook and make several decisions that her earlier self would not have condoned.

The plot was nice and complex and even though it took a lot of twists and turns it didn’t quite go to the realm of annoying. The characters were all quite well written including the secondary characters also.

It did get a bit confusing in the middle for me with all the characters but that could have been because I was pretty tired at that point and wanted to finish the book before going to bed.

Another pleasant surprise was that the author didn’t pad the story with loads of sex. If you have read some of her other books you know what I am talking about, if not then I suggest you try reading her Hellhounds series.

Final Recommendation: A good read. Waiting for the next book in the series.

May 23, 2010

The Demon in Me (Living in Eden Book 01) by Michelle Rowen

Filed under: Paranormal,Romance — Suramya Tomar @ 7:18 pm


The Demon in Me (Living in Eden Book 01)
by Michelle Rowen

Description:

Hell hath no fury like a woman possessed…

After her hunky police detective partner guns down a serial killer in front of her, “psychic consultant” Eden Riley realizes that she’s no longer alone. A voice in her head introduces himself as Darrak. He’s a demon. But not in a bad way. He was cursed 300 years ago and he wants to find a way to break free. Eden’s psychic energy helps him take form during daylight, and she’s going to have to learn to live with this sexy demon…like it or not.

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Review:I really liked this book which is the first book in a new series. Even the series name is a tongue in cheek reference to the fact that the demon is literally living inside Eden (the main character of the book)

The initial two chapters or so were a bit hurried and not a lot of details were provided initially when Eden faces off the serial killer but that was quite all right because all that did was set the stage for the remaining part of the book which is her dealing with a demon taking residence inside her body till death do them part…

Since it was the first book a lot of it is basically setting the stage for the sequels but at no point did it get to the point that I wanted to leave the book and wait for the sequel where the actual story would be progressed.

The characters were quite well written and even the secondary characters were defined enough that you got a feel of their personalities but not so much that you get bored.

Final Recommendation: A good read

May 22, 2010

Bound By Darkness (Soul Gatherer Book 02) by Annette McCleave

Filed under: Paranormal,Romance — Suramya Tomar @ 7:29 pm


Bound By Darkness (Soul Gatherer Book 02)
by Annette McCleave

Description:

Death’s warriors guard against demon soul thieves for one chance at redemption…Desire be damned.

Bound together by burning desire and a similar darkness in their hearts, Soul Gatherers Brian Webster and Lena Sharpe race against time to take back from a demon ancient coins that could destroy civilization. But as the truth behind a deadly bargain Lena made surfaces, Brian is faced with a desperate choice-save the one, or save the many.

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Review:Bound By Darkness is the second book in the Soul Gatherer series and I have to say, I have some mixed feelings about the book. The first 3-4 chapters were quite confusing and if this was the first book by the author or of the series that I was reading I would have stopped reading then and there. However once I got past the quite rocky start the story started to make sense and I got into the flow of the book.

I think the problem was that the author expected you to remember the story from the first book completely which I didn’t and thus I missed the undertones of the book that would have been visible to me if I had. But once I got into the plot it was quite interesting and the book turned into a decent read.

The book is not one for anyone who is a prude as there are some quite steamy scenes in the book. So if you are one of those then I suggest that you skip the book. They are not as explicit as some of the other books I have read (like the last few books in the Anita Blake series) but are enough to merit a warning.

Final recommendation: A decent read, but make sure you read the 1st book before you read this one.

May 19, 2010

Dead in the Family (Southern Vampire Book 10) by Charlaine Harris

Filed under: Urban Fantasy — Suramya Tomar @ 7:16 pm


Dead in the Family (Southern Vampire Book 10)
by Charlaine Harris

Description:

If you think your family relationships are complicated, think again: you haven’t seen anything like the ones in Bon Temps, Louisiana. Sookie Stackhouse is dealing with a whole host of family problems, ranging from her own kin (a non-human fairy and a telepathic second cousin) demanding a place in her life, to her lover Eric’s vampire sire, an ancient being who arrives with Eric’s ‘brother’ in tow at a most inopportune moment. And Sookie’s tracking down a distant relation of her ailing neighbour (and ex), Vampire Bill Compton. In addition to the multitude of family issues complicating her life, the werewolf pack of Shreveport has asked Sookie for a special favour,and since Sookie is an obliging young woman, she agrees. But this favour for the wolves has dire results for Sookie, who is still recovering from the trauma of her abduction during the Fairy War.

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Review:The newest installment in the Southern Vampire series picks up from where the previous book ended. The Faery War has ended but everyone is still recovering from it.

I really didn’t remember a lot from the previous books and so for the first few chapters was a bit lost. Plus the books are completely different than the TV series so that was another thing that confused things for me. It would have really helped if the author had written a short summary of the events till date before starting the new story. Unfortunately very few authors do that.

Thankfully a few chapters into the book enough was explained and I remembered enough from the previous books that I was able to enjoy the rest of the book without wondering what was going on.

Final Recommendation: A good read but it could have started off better.

May 18, 2010

Hard Magic (Paranormal Scene Investigations Book 01) by Laura Anne Gilman

Filed under: Urban Fantasy — Suramya Tomar @ 7:13 pm


Hard Magic (Paranormal Scene Investigations Book 01)
by Laura Anne Gilman

Description:

Welcome to P.U.P.I. – Private, Unaffiliated, Paranormal Investigations

A handpicked team trained to solve crimes the regular police can’t touch – crimes of magic.

My name’s Bonnie Torres. Recent college grad, magic user and severely unemployed. Until I got a call out of nowhere to interview for a job I hadn’t applied for. It smelled fishy, but the brutal truth was I needed the work – so off I went.

Two days later I’m a PUPI – me and Nick, Sharon, Nifty and Pietr. Five twentysomethings, thrown into an entirely new career in forensic magic.

The first job we get is a doozy: proving that the deaths of two Talents were murder, not suicide. Worse, there are high-profile people who want us to close up shop and go away. We’re sniffing out things they’d rather keep buried.

Looks as if this job is gonna get interesting. The only problem is, we’re making it up as we go along..

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Review:Hard magic is the first book in a new series based in the same universe as her famous Retriever Series.

The P.U.P.I (Private, Unaffiliated, Paranormal Investigations) is an organization that is mentioned a couple of times in the Retriever books but their origins and manifesto were never told. This book makes up for the lack and introduces us to the P.U.P.I and takes us through their first case.

The storyline was fun and clean and the characters were well defined. Even though its set in the same universe as the Retriever books none of the characters from them appeared in this book though it might change in the future books.

As this was the first book a lot of groundwork was laid before the actual story started but none of it was too tedious or boring, which was good.

The ending not one that answered all the questions but I think that was intentional so that the next novel has a base to start from. But even though it didn’t answer all questions it was a fun read.

Final Recommendation: A fun read

May 17, 2010

Ghostbusters: The Return by Sholly Fisch

Filed under: Paranormal — Suramya Tomar @ 7:08 pm


Ghostbusters: The Return
by Sholly Fisch

Description:

It’s been 2 years since the events in Ghostbusters II and the group finds itself neck deep in ghosts and ghouls as some of the most unsettling urban legends – like the hook-handed killer in lovers lane and The vanishing hitchhiker – all come to deadly life.

But the worse is yet to come for Ray Stanz, Egon Spengler and Winston Zeddemore – and quite possibly the people of New York. The ghost buster leader Peter Venkman has been chosen by an independent political party to be their candidate for Mayor!

With the city reeling under a supernatural reign of terror, can the Ghostbusters stop the arrival of an ancient fear-demon in time to save election day – or should Venkman start looking for another job already

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Review:This is the first book in a new series of Original stories featuring the characters in the Original Ghostbusters movies. The events in the book take place a couple of years after the second movie.

As a forerunner to a new series of books this book was a good choice, the book remained true (mostly) to the characters in the movie and still managed to get a decent storyline and plot in the process.

The plot remained interesting throughout and even the minor characters were well developed. Though he didn’t develop them to the point where a reader would get tired of it and start skipping portions of the book.

I really enjoyed the book and since this is the first book I have read by the author I will be making it a point to search for more books by him.

Final Recommendation: A good read. Waiting for the next book in the novelization series.

May 16, 2010

Gryphon’s Quest (Tales of the Order Book 01) by Candace Sams

Filed under: Fantasy — Suramya Tomar @ 7:06 pm


Gryphon’s Quest (Tales of the Order Book 01)
by Candace Sams

Description:

Druid Warrior, Gryphon O’Connor must retrieve the Rune Stones of the Tuatha De Danan, which were stolen from an ancient Irish burial site and will allow a person to shape shift. By the time he gets to New York where the stones have been taken, they’ve been used to commit a hideous murder. At the Manhattan Museum of Antiquities, Heather Green is an Acquisitions Assistant. To find the stones within the cavernous museum, Gryphon approaches her for help. His story about stolen rune stones is just too unbelievable, and Gryphon isn’t the kind of man Heather can trust. But if Gryphon reveals too many of his secrets it will cost him and Heather their lives.

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Review:Gryphon’s Quest is the first novel in the Tales of the Order series and also happens to be the first book by the author that I have read. So far I am quite impressed by her writing style and I really liked the book.

The characters were quite well defined and even though the plot wasn’t too involved and was a bit simplistic, the way she told the story covered all of that up and made the book into an engrossing story.

Since its the first book in the series it sets the stage for the next books in the series but thankfully doesn’t do it with a cliff-hanger or by leaving threads untied. I think this series is going to be a set of stories that happen to be set in the same universe rather than a continuing story line.

Final Recommendation: A good read.

May 15, 2010

The Red Pyramid (Kane Chronicles Book 01) by Rick Riordan

Filed under: Young Adult Fantasy — Suramya Tomar @ 7:03 pm


The Red Pyramid (Kane Chronicles Book 01)
by Rick Riordan

Description:

Since their mother’s death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane.

One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a “research experiment” at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives.

Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them–Set–has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe–a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family, and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.

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Review:In this first book of a new series Rick proves that he is a great author and that you don’t have to load your books with sex or violence to make it good.

The book is narrated to us by Carter and Sadie Kane who take turns to tell us the events in the story. The two are the typical brother and sister and the way they tell their story reflects that, with all the silly comments and fooling around the characters are quite real and well developed.

The plot is also quite interesting and I can’t wait for the next book in the series to come out. This was the first book that actually explained well how the Egyptian Gods were interrelated without bringing Incest into it. I like this take better than the standard one.

This is a problem I face with the really good books; I run out of things to write. i.e. I can’t think of items to talk about that don’t also include spoilers.

Final Recommendation: A must read.

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