Evocative Romance. Unexpected Evil.

An author with a dark side and a light side...happily exploring both.

Review: The Taker, by Alma Katsu


The Taker cover

No star rating for this one, just a DNF. I struggled with the POV switches and the present-tense narrative from the beginning. Made it as far as page 162 (chapter 19), when Katsu stopped the story dead in its tracks to give us a whole other character's back story. I personally don't like that particular story construct and wasn't invested enough in the book to continue wading through it.

Review: The North, by Sean Cummings

The North cover


I loved so much about this book, I don’t even know where to start. The story is about what the world looks like after the zombie apocalypse — and it’s not pretty. Our hero is a 16-year-old kid who’s in charge of a group of army cadets who have holed up in the city until now, but if they’re going to survive, they have to get out…and the zombies (or creeps, as they’re called in the novel) are just the beginning of their problems in doing so.

The post-apocalyptic world that Cummings has created is incredibly detailed and all-too-believable. The characters are tough (yes, even the girls!) without being over the top, and they strive to maintain their continued humanity in the face of unbelievable odds. And the action? A non-stop, edge-of-your-seat, must-read-just-one-more-chapter, relentless pace.

About the only complaint I have is with regard to back story. THE NORTH kicks off six months after the apocalypse happens, and I would have liked a little more info on how it all came about, what caused it, etc. I’m hoping these details will be forthcoming in the next two books (this was the first of a trilogy), but it would have been nice to have more up front.

If you like zombies and dark, gritty, no-holds barred apocalyptic fiction, you’re going to love this. Heck, I DON'T like zombies, and I still loved it.

(The full review text can be found on my blog at http://www.lindapoitevin.com/2014/09/18/review-of-the-north-sean-cummings/)

Review: Hollowland, by Amanda Hocking

Hollowland cover

Why I read it:

I picked this book up for two reasons: (1) it was on sale; and (2) I was curious about Amanda Hocking after her meteoric rise in publishing.

What I liked about it:

I really liked how Hocking hit the ground running in this. She writes a good action scene, and there was plenty of action in this book. The world-building was also solid, and I loved the main character, Remy (at least, throughout most of the story), finding her toughness and determination plausible given the circumstances.

What I didn't like:

At about the 3/4 point, the story started to fall apart for me. Hocking had made all her characters more or less three dimensional until that point, but then she introduced a new one who behaved too much like a puppet for my taste, seeming to exist only to help her get the story to where she wanted it to go. The ending itself was a disappointment as well, feeling loose and rushed and not really fitting with Remy's character. The book could have used a heavier copyediting hand as well, especially with regard to misused words.

Final thoughts:

Hollowland was a decent read, and I think Hocking has some serious storytelling potential. I'd be interested in reading her later works (I had the impression this one was from earlier in her career), but I won't be continuing this series.

Anybody read hard science fiction?

Reblogged from Lost In A Book:

It's not my genre of choice, but this book needs reviewers for its tour.  If you click the picture it'll take you to the sign-up page.



Review: The Watch

The Watch - Tyner Gillies

Overall, a fairly solid thriller and an enjoyable read, though I did have a couple of problems with it. First, I would have liked to see the language significantly toned down. Yes, cops swear (a lot, to be honest), but I found the amount and colour of the language used in the book to be more than a little distracting. It wasn't necessary to the story, and I think that Gillies limits his audience with keeping it as strong as he has. Second, as one who has worked in the RCMP as a civilian member (dispatch) and who is married to a cop, I had issues with some of the relationships between the officers in Gillies' book. In particular, the animosity between the major crimes unit and the uniformed officers...in my experience (and that of my husband), it just doesn't exist. Rather, they rely on each other and work together without the rivalry Gillies describes. Despite its shortcomings, however, the story did pull me in and hold my attention. Recommended for fans of supernatural fantasy.

Review: Deadroads, a novel of supernatural suspense

Deadroads - Robin Riopelle

Deadroads is Riopelle's debut novel and it's a far cry from your usual fantasy/horror. I keep finding myself wanting to call it a slow read--not because of a lack of suspense, because there's plenty of that, but because of its richly nuanced language and tightly woven characters. You can't rush this one without missing out on both critical details and overall experience.

Centred around three main characters, all siblings, the story is as much about a coming to terms with personal demons and past ghosts as it is about dealing with the physical kinds. The story struggles a bit to get going, but once it finds its stride, you find yourself tugged along much as if you're caught in a deceptively gentle river current that keeps picking up speed, heading for rapids you know are there but can't quite see coming. 

All in all, a vivid, languorous, chilling tale of the supernatural. Recommended for fans of dark fantasy and horror, especially if you enjoy a more literary approach to your fiction.

One note of caution to prospective readers: Riopelle employs a liberal use of French words and expressions, particularly in the opening of the book (the characters are from the Bayou). For the non-French speaker, this could be both distracting and off-putting, but if you're willing to give up actual meaning in favor of tone, you should be okay. And the story really will be worth the effort.

Review: The House of the Scorpion

The House of the Scorpion - Nancy Farmer

This is actually a re-read for me, as I first read the book several years ago when one of my daughters brought it home from the library. I'm happy to say that it's just as good (and maybe even better) than it was the first time around.


Farmer pens a chilling tale of clones and drug empires that pulled me in from the very first page and didn't let me go until the end. This YA dystopian has it all: relatable characters, plenty of suspense, excellent pacing, and absolutely stellar world-building.


As I finished the re-read, I remembered that I've been meaning to pick up the sequel, The Lord of Opium...which is now at the very top of my TBR list.

A solid debut

Nightshade: An Only in Tokyo Mystery (Intermix) - Jonelle Patrick

This book had both good and mediocre points for me. I found the mystery itself to be quite predictable, but this could be because I write suspense myself and am forever guessing whodunit in books and movies well before most people (I drive my husband nuts with this). I also found it hard to connect with the characters on an emotional level, often finding that Patrick's choice of words created distance between me and the story.


What I really enjoyed however -- and I mean really enjoyed -- was the portrayal of Japanese culture. Patrick absolutely shone at describing her setting; and her depiction of the Japanese way of life, their traditions, and the subcultures such as Lolita was utterly fascinating. I'll most likely be seeking out the next in the series. 

30 Days of Holiday Magic GIVEAWAY

giveaway poster

Review: The Desert Spear

The Desert Spear  - Peter V. Brett

Hm. This is the sequel to The Warded Man and it's...very different. Much of it is told in flashback form, giving us the stories behind characters we met in the first book. I'm not a big fan of flashbacks and very nearly set aside the book because of that structure. The story itself is compelling, however--and it draws intriguing parallels to the present-day spread of certain religious fanaticism. It's also a chillingly accurate depiction of human nature. *sigh*


Long story short, I didn't like it as much as I did the first book, but I ended up pushing through and then buying book 3, because I'm really, really hoping there's a semi-happy ending! 

Review: The Warded Man

The Warded Man  - Peter V. Brett

This isn't a book I would have picked up on my own, but I'm so very glad that it came into my hands via a book bag at last year's World Fantasy Convention. I loved it.


On the surface, it seems to be a fantasy, but it has an air of realism to it that makes you think it could almost be a dystopian instead. Fast paced and with the kind of character growth I like to see in a book, it held my attention from the start. So much so that I set aside a (very rare) day for reading...and when I finished, I promptly downloaded the sequel to my Kobo.

A New Book Trailer!

Sins of the Lost (releasing October 15) has a new book trailer up on Youtube. Check it out if you have a minute. :)


Live Chat tonight on Writerspace!

I'm chatting tonight from 9-10 ET about Sins of the Lost at Writerspace! Other Berkley Jove authors scheduled to be online include Nora Roberts, Yasmine Galenorn, Maya Banks, Meljean Brook, Lauren Dane, and many more. Please stop by to say hi (I've heard rumors of prizes!).  

(To sign in, click on "Readers Chatroom", enter your preferred screen name, and "join chat." Looking forward to seeing you there!

Fans of Mike Mullins' ASHFALL take note!!

Reblogged from Mike Mullin, Author:

Darla's Story is available on Kindle a month earlier than promised! (Thanks, Emlyn Chand.) It has also been sent to Nook, Kobo, and the iStore and will show up on those soon. Only $0.99 to spend another 60ish pages with Darla. Enjoy!

A Booklikes Giveaway!

I'm celebrating my new-found home on Booklikes with a giveaway of 2 copies of Sins of the Angels, the first book in the Grigori Legacy series. Open internationally. Check out the giveaways page to enter! (ends October 10)



Currently reading

The Lightness of Being: Mass, Ether, and the Unification of Forces
Frank Wilczek