Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Books of Note: September Reads

I've decided to continue with the format for my books of note that I did over the summer and list all the books I read as well as bought and then of course, the reviews for my favorite books as usual. I've also decided to link the reviews for the books I don't review directly on the blog to Goodreads. Because I actually do review most books that I read so if you are interested, you can read them on Goodreads.

I read nine books this month, still not as many as I wanted to, but a lot of them were 400+ pages, so I let myself off :P I also managed to read only books I own this month, so no library books at all, and I got through a lot of new releases and series books I have wanted to read for a long time.

Books I Read:

1. Gates of Thread and Gold by Lori M. Lee (Giveaway win) (2/5 stars)
2. Deathwish (Cal and Niko #4) by Rob Thurman (4/5 stars)
3. The Madness Underneath (Shades of London #2) by Maureen Johnson (3/5 stars)
4. Blood of My Blood (Jasper Dent #3) by Barry Lyga (5/5 stars)
5. Cup of Blood (Crispin Guest #0.5--prequel) by Jeri Westerson (4/5 stars)
6. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin (4/5 stars)
7. Found (Mickey Bolitar #3) by Harlan Coben (3.5/5 stars)
8. Slaves of Socorro (Brotherband Chronicles #4) by John Flanagan (3/5 stars)
9. Inkheart (Inkworld #1) by Cornelia Funke (re-read) (5/5 stars)

Books I Bought:

1. Blood of My Blood (Jasper Dent #3) by Barry Lyga
2. Roadkill (Cal and Niko #5) by Rob Thurman
3. Jackaby by William Ritter
4. Found (Mickey Bolitar #3) by Harlan Coben
5. The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Favorite Reads of the Month:

Jazz Dent has been shot and left to die in New York City. His girlfriend Connie is in the clutches of Jazz's serial killer father, Billy. And his best friend Howie is bleeding to death on the floor of Jazz's own home in tiny Lobo's Nod. Somehow, these three must rise above the horrors their lives have become and find a way to come together in pursuit of Billy. But then Jazz crosses a line he's never crossed before, and soon the entire country is wondering: "Like father, like son?" Who is the true monster?
The chase is on, and beyond Billy there lurks something much, much worse. Prepare to meet...the Crow King.


I'm going to have to break my normal review format for this one because I honestly don't even know how to go about reviewing this book, and I'm going to try to do it as well as I can without spoiling it, which means it's going to be short.

This was a ridiculously hard book to rate. There is so much in this that is not okay, but it all works out into the story, so I can't really complain and the end really clinched it for me. I'm going to be honest, horrible stuff happens in this book, and when we find out about Jazz's past it gets even worse, but it's not okay in the book, just as it's not okay with the reader and it's supposed to be like that, so while I don't care to read about stuff like that, because it wasn't there to be gratuitous I can deal with it and just feel bad for what poor Jazz went through.

This was a non-stop action book, I read it in two days and only stopped to sleep. The writing as with the previous books is amazing, the twists and turns are wonderful, and leave you wondering whether or not everything will actually turn out okay in the end, and I love that because it's usually so obvious that everything will end well in a book. The twist about Ugly J and the Crows was great, and though I pretty much had figured it out by that time, I thought it was revealed really well. Billy Dent is whack, there's nothing else to say, he was just so creepy.

As for the outcomes, I loved them, I was reading with bated breath, not knowing where it was going, or where Jazz was going, and all I'm going to say is that I was not disappointed. The conclusion was wonderful, way better and more solid than I expected it to be, and overall I am really happy I read this series. Barry Lyga is an amazing author and one of the best when it comes to writing crazed, delusional serial killers. And I do always appreciate that. I really do.

So, yes I ended up rating it five stars in the end, because what else am I going to do with a book that makes me feel the way this one did?

When a corpse turns up at his favorite tavern, Crispin begins an inquiry, but the dead man turns out to be a Knight Templar, an order thought to be extinct for 75 years, charged with protecting a certain religious relic which is now missing. Before he can investigate, Crispin is abducted by shadowy men who are said to be minions of the French anti-pope. Further complicating matters are two women: one from court with an enticing proposition, and another from Crispin’s past, dredging up long-forgotten emotions he would rather have left behind. And as if all that weren’t enough, a cunning young cutpurse by the name of Jack Tucker has insinuated himself into Crispin’s already difficult life. The deeper Crispin probes into the murder, the more it looks like the handiwork of an old friend turned adversary. With enemies from all sides, Crispin has his hands full in more than murder.


I was hoping that Jeri Westerson would write a prequel for the Crispin series to tell us how he and Jack actually met, and I was not disappointed with this book. It was a very good prequel (and I'm always a fan of those) and it was nice to see Crispin and Jack get to know each other from the beginning. I have always loved their relationship because it's a bit different from what you normally get with mystery novels, Jack being so much younger than the typical side-kick character you find in the genre, but it works really well with the series and with Crispin's character.

The storyline of this one was really cool too, and I loved how all the mysteries seemed to be separate but kind of intertwined throughout the story to where you were left wondering whether it was all just a coincidence or whether everyone might be involved. It wasn't super hard to figure out, but there were still a couple twists that I didn't see coming, and I still enjoyed the book despite that because I read these for the characters more than anything.

As for secondary characters, I loved seeing Wynchcombe again, I actually really enjoyed his character. He is a baddie, but he's interesting too because half the time he's trying to kick Crispin's head in and the other half, he's helping him. He was one of my favorite sheriffs in the series. I did not care at all for Lady Vivienne, in fact, I found her annoying. That didn't bother me though, because she was supposed to be. What really bothered me was that Crispin was such an idiot about her. I mean, seriously, man, you can't think all ladies are so innocent, can you? And even after she duped him several times, he still fell under her spell. Just several head-shaking moments there, but I think it taught him lessons for later in the series. De Marcherne was a pretty cool baddie though. He was so cold and evil, and French. I enjoyed him a lot.

All in all, another really enjoyable Crispin Guest mystery. I really look forward to seeing the next book in the series, and continuing Crispin and Jack's adventure where they left off!

From internationally bestselling author Harlan Coben comes this third action-packed installment of his bestselling young adult series.

It’s been eight months since Mickey Bolitar witnessed the shocking, tragic death of his father. Eight months of lies, dark secrets, and unanswered questions. While he desperately wants answers, Mickey’s sophomore year of high school brings on a whole new set of troubles. Spoon is in the hospital, Rachel won’t tell him where he stands, his basketball teammates hate him . . . and then there’s Ema’s surprise announcement: She has an online boyfriend, and he’s vanished. 
As he’s searching for Ema’s missing boyfriend (who may not even exist!), Mickey also gets roped into helping his nemesis, Troy Taylor, with a big problem. All the while, Mickey and his friends are pulled deeper into the mysteries surrounding the Abeona Shelter, risking their lives to find the answers—until the shocking climax, where Mickey finally comes face-to-face with the truth about his father.


Thoughts on the Overall Book: I've loved the Mickey Bolitar series a lot so far, and while this one might not have been quite as action packed as the previous two, I still did enjoy it and it had a few really good twists that kept me reading it straight through. Anytime I read a novel straight through I have to give marks to the author for that.

Cover--Yea or Nay: No. I really hate these new covers. They are terrible.

Characters: Mickey was always a really enjoyable character. He does what he has to and he doesn't sit around moping about it. I also loved Ema and continue to do so in this one. She never comes across with an attitude and is a genuinely good friend to Mickey. Spoon was less weird in this story and I actually feel like we got to know him a little better. He surprised me. I'm not going to say much more for fear of spoiling the story, but I'll just say that I liked how we got to see some more of the characters and how they played their parts in the plot.

The Romance: Not really any romance though part of the plot is that Ema met a boy online and that's whatever you want to call that. I still think there will be a romance between her and Mickey, and I wouldn't be unhappy with it, but I don't mind them being friends like they are now either.

Writing Style: Same as the others. First person past tense from Mickey's POV. I enjoy his narration, I have no complaints with being in his head. As I said previously, Harlan Coben does so well with suspense, keeping the reader occupied. Granted, it's not a long book anyway, but I read it in a night and a day and it definitely felt like it went super fast unlike some books that drag on forever. It's the kind of thing I look for in a suspense novel (and I have read 'suspense novels' that did not make me sit down and read them cover to cover). The story wasn't quite as awesome or engaging as that of the previous two books, but it was still enough to keep my attention through the whole thing. It was more of a personal story for Mickey and Ema, dealing with things closer to home.

Accuracy/ Believability: No complaints. Obviously, there's not a lot of problem with this in contemporary.

Problems/What bothered me: Nothing really bothered me. I could say I was mildly disappointed that we didn't get to see more of Luther but the way this one ended up (and I won't say anything!) the next book--which I assume we will be getting?--will be more about that plot line.

Conclusion: 3.5 stars. Not quite as action packed as the previous two books, but still very enjoyable.

Recommended Audience: Fans of suspense and thrillers and that kind of stuff would enjoys these. If you liked the Jasper Dent books and want something a little less dark and desperate, this is a good series to read as a recovery. Guy read but can also be a girl read ages 14 and up.

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