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Review – Sanctum – Sarah Fine

sanctumSanctum
Author: Sarah Fine
Series: #1 in the Guards of the Shadowlands series

Description:
“My plan: Get into the city. Get Nadia. Find a way out. Simple.”

A week ago, seventeen-year-old Lela Santos’s best friend, Nadia, killed herself. Today, thanks to a farewell ritual gone awry, Lela is standing in paradise, looking upon a vast gated city in the distance—hell. No one willingly walks through the Suicide Gates, into a place smothered in darkness and infested with depraved creatures. But Lela isn’t just anyone—she’s determined to save her best friend’s soul, even if it means sacrificing her eternal afterlife.

Review:
Its times like this, that I am thankful for recommendations from friends on Goodreads – because I can say for certain that I would never have found this book, let alone read it, without their recommendation. I am still conflicted over my final star-rating, but it has the potential to be one of my first 5-star reads for the year (and yes, I know its already 3 months into the year…) At first I was skeptical how the theme of youth suicide would be handled, especially when mixed with a fantasy type world – but I felt that the author managed to walk the fine line pretty well. It wasn’t until I looked at her biography and realized that she was a child psychologist that I realized why she did it so well – it (youth suicide) is obviously a topic that she is passionate about and has done research about/likely worked with children who have been affected by it.

It did raise a lot of thought-provoking ideas – most religions, if not all, have a form of heaven – but how many of them address whether people who commit suicide end up there – are they buried on un-consecrated ground (like the Catholic church) or what happened? And is there anyway for them to move from where they end up to heaven for real. I know that I had never really considered any of it until reading Sanctum – which to me is a sign of a great book.

However, about 2/3 of the way through, it did start to hit a bit on the teenage angst that was fustrating – I think the book would have automatically been a 5 star without that, and from how it ended, I have to admit that I am a bit concerned about where book 2 in the series is going to go…hopefully it will stay clear of the total teen angst/love triangle that seems to be so prevalent in a vast majority of YA books recently…Right now, I think I am going to give it 4.5, but rounding down to 4 on the Goodreads scale.

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2013 in Book Review

 

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Review – Collared – L.A. Kornetsky

collaredCollared
Author: L.A. Kornetsky
Series: #1 in the Gin & Tonic series

Review Copy Provided by Galley Books via Edelweiss

Description:
Ginny Mallard and her shar-pei, Georgie, are about to run out of kibble and cash, unless she digs up another client for her private concierge business. So she heads to her neighborhood Seattle bar, Mary’s, to sniff out an opportunity. Or a gimlet or two. The bartender, Teddy Tonica, is usually good for a round of challenging banter, and Georgie is oddly fond of his bar cat, Mistress Penny.

Before she can say “bottoms up,” Ginny lands a job tracking down some important business papers that have gone missing—along with the customer’s uncle. If Ginny hopes to track him down, she’ll need more than her research skills: she’ll need a partner with people skills—like Tonica.

This is one dangerous case that’s about to go to the dogs—unless man, woman, cat, and canine can work together as one very unconventional crime-solving team.

Review:
I’ll be the first to admit that I am both a cat and a dog person – and have not only 3 dogs, but 2 cats in my home (yes, I might be slightly insane…) – so when I came across the ARC for Collared on Edelweiss, I was intrigued. I wasn’t sure if it was going to fall into the Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown kind of theme – which I didn’t really enjoy (maybe because I picked up book 5 in the series…but that is a story for another day). I like it when dogs act as dogs, and cats as cats (as stand-offish as that might be) rather than animorphizing them – so when I was first introduced to not only Penny (the cat) and Georgie (the dog), I was happy to see that their parts were told through their eyes and what they observed. I do think that the author managed the nail the character of the cat (the no one is their owner) kind of feeling without going too overboard.

Then there were the humans, Virginia “Ginny” the personal concierge and Tommy Tonica, the local bartender (yeah, don’t laugh too much that was really his name…ok, well, laugh some, I know that I did when he was first introduced). But then, at the same time, I have come to expect slightly cheesy names in cozy mysteries and this was definitely one of those. Overall, I don’t have too many complaints about how the mystery panned out – as with any cozy mystery I have read in the past, there were a few times that I wanted to slap by Ginny and Tommy upside the head (a la Gibbs style) for something dumb that they hadn’t done, or the fact that calling the cops, never seems to show up on someones radar…I mean, hello….but the ending was satisfactory and I have to admit that I am curious as to where this series might go in the future…are they going to open up their own PI business? Will Tommy keep tending bar? and why the heck is he so secretive about his past…what is he hiding?

Overall, I’d give it a solid 3 stars and recommend to anyone who enjoys cozy mysteries.

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2013 in Book Review

 

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