Monday, December 5, 2016

Review: Winter Halo by Keri Arthur

Winter Halo

Author: Keri Arthur
Publisher: Signet
Series: Outcast #2
Pages: Mass Market Paperback, 368 pages
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: December 6th 2016


From the New York Times bestselling author of the Souls of Fire novels comes the second in the futuristic fantasy series that will make you want to keep the lights on...

When the bombs that stopped the species war tore holes in the veil between worlds, they allowed entry to the Others. Now, a hundred years later, humans and shifters alike live in artificially lit cities designed to keep the darkness at bay....

The humanoid supersoldiers known as the d├ęchet were almost eradicated by the war. Ever since, Tiger has tried to live her life in peace in hiding. But in the wake of her discovery that Central City’s children are being kidnapped and experimented on, Tiger’s conscience won’t let her look the other way.

The key to saving them lies within the walls of a pharmaceutical company called Winter Halo. But as she learns more about the facility, Tiger’s mission is derailed by a complication: Winter Halo’s female security guards are being systematically attacked by an unknown force.

Now Tiger must summon all her gifts to stop those responsible for both atrocities—no matter the cost to herself...


And just as so often I am not really sure how to rate this.. because there a clearly two different ratings to this book. The first half was simply too slow, basically little to nothing of note happens.
Then suddenly everything changes in the second half, loads of actions but also we get a few (mind you very few answers) There is progress in the romance, the mystery and there is character growth.
The first half to be frank is rather disappointing.
The second half is why I like the series in the first place..

The only thing I liked consistently so far is the world building. I love the idea of dechet. I love the backstory, the world and the different moral aspects that it throws up. It's an interesting take on dystopia with a paranormal spin.

I like Arthurs descriptions, love her writing style. And while Outcast is set a quite different world from what I have read by Arthur up to now, it clearly has Arthurs signature on it. Interesting, imaginative world building, strong female lead (that is a slight bit promiscuous) and strong male lead, that is shrouded in mystery. While I enjoy her descriptions I felt that there was a lot of repetition in the first half. I am not sure why Charles was thrown in the occasion, but the second scene with him, felt like rather the obligatory allotted smut, than anything else.

The character building was similar in that aspect. I found the first half rather uninspired. Looking back it was a repetition of the first book. We already went through all of that with the characters. Though some of it was essential to what followed, I found it too long wound and repetitive. In fact I found myself just annoyed with Tig and Jonas at their arguing.. until things changed.
I like Tig. And now even more than before. I grew to like Jonas, he suddenly looks like an enticing love interest. If you would have asked me about him about 35% I would have said, I am not interested anymore. Now I can't wait to see what else is happening between them. More importantly I wanna see what change has happened and how it will change them individually.
I love Tig's interaction with Bar and Cat. They as a unite have not changed, yet they all seeing thing from different points of view. It's a brilliant dynamic. Very clever done and really beautiful to read about. Their loyalty, compassion and love for each other and how the event affect them individually is simply wonderful.
Penny made a minimal appearance, yet I want to know more. There have been revelations and I am wondering where Arthur is taking this character.
The rest of the support cast, however stayed the same, no growth but that isn't really a negative thing. It kinda highlights, that the changes in the MCs are rather unique considering the circumstances and history.

The plot picks up right where the first book ends. As I said, in the first half not much of interest happens. Then the second half kinda explodes into super fast paced action and we are bombarded with new info and some twists.
Yet looking back, I feel that I wanted more. Not that much has happened, well it kinda has, but we could put it under two main headlines maybe three. I feel like I have loads of questions still, barely any of the ones I was left with after the first book have been answered.

So while the first half was a bit disappointing, the second half was captivating and brilliant.
Now all I want is get my hands on the next installment!


ARC was provided by Publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Review: Miss Frost Saves The Sandman by Kristen Painter

Miss Frost Saves The Sandman

Author: Kristen Painter
Series: Jayne Frost #3
Genre:Paranormal Mystery
Release Date: November 20th 2016


Welcome to Nocturne Falls, the town that celebrates Halloween 365 days a year.

Jayne Frost is a lot of things. Winter elf, Jack Frost's daughter, Santa Claus's niece, heir to the Winter Throne and now...private investigator. Sort of.

When the Sandman comes to Santa’s Workshop, the shop Jayne manages, to do his first ever book signing, it’s a major event. He’s kind of a supernatural celebrity and she needs to keep him happy.

All is well until trouble shows up at the party thrown in his honor. Trouble in the form of Luna Nyx, the Mistress of Nightmares and his creepy counterpart. The Sandman’s assistant says Luna is dangerous, and Jayne believes it when her dreams turn dark.

Can Jayne keep the Sandman safe from this gothic goddess? Or will Luna’s threats put them both to sleep for good?


As I was reading this two things occurred to me:
I keep thinking of this as a PNR. Basically I expect a standalone romance a la Nocturne Falls. The Jayne Frost series is simply neither. These are not standalone novel nor are the romances.
These are more what I think one could describe paranormal mysteries They have this cool little Agatha Christie meets paranormal vibe going. I enjoy that immensely. So once I let go of my expectation of romance, I really got into the story.
The other thing however, going to back to the romance part: I am just not into the love triangle we got going here. Because I don't much fancy either of the love interests. It puts a bit of a damper on the entire story. But while I let go of the romance expectations at least somewhat, let me just say this; I actually think Lucien would be a much more interesting subject. Just saying.

For me this is definitely not going to work as standalone, unlike the Nocturne Falls series, which is why I even bring it up. This should be read in order of the series, I also think it makes the books more enjoyable,since each book is a continuation of the previous one, even if we get a new mystery in each one.I found there was a lot of repetition in this book, explaining past stories. It slowed the first third of the book down for me, add to that the world building.. and the first third was considerably slower that the previous books. I would have prefered less explanation of past stories. Actually there was way less action in this one than in the previous ones.
I did however really enjoy the story. And I really got into the plot.
Gotta just say that I guessed who the culprit was right off the cuff. And I found Jayne's assumptions a bit frustrating, I kept thinking she is judging a bit too fast The solving of the mystery was a bit to rushed for me. I mean I still feel a bit iffy why the culprit did, what was done? And what happened to the other two? Basically I was left with a few questions. I do hope that they will be answered in the next installment.

The world building of the series has been consistently innovative and interesting. And Painter does deliver once more. And I am really looking forward to what Painter will add to the awesome world of Nocturne Falls next!
I have read a considerable amount of novels by Painter. And just like always I enjoyed her writing style.

As I said earlier, I am not a huge fan of the love triangle, then again I never am one for love triangles. But in this case, I am just not that smitten with any of the male love interests. I mean I like them well enough. They are interesting, well constructed characters. I just am not swoony over them.
Somehow I think they are too archetypal both of them for my taste. This is just personal preference. Yet I do love the character building.
Painter has done a great job at creating an interesting group of people. I like Jayne, though I find her a bit exasperating at times. I kinda feel about her like one does with an old friend. I know her shortcomings but adore her anyway, and am more than happy to overlook them. She feels real and relatable, even if she is a winter elf.
I can't wait to read more about her adventures and the entire support cast. Especially considering the ending of Miss Frost Saves The Sandman. While it isn't exactly a cliffy. Not at all. But it did blow things right open. And I am quite anxious to see where Painter is taking the story next!
Also I would like to just mention, that I really really hope there will be more about Lucien..



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