Review: Only the Good Die Young by Chris Marie Green

, by Kt Clapsadl

Only the Good Die Young by Chris Marie Green
Jensen Murphy, Ghost for Hire #1

You know the theory that ghosts are energy trapped when someone dies violently? It’s true. I know it for a fact...

My name is Jensen Murphy, and thirty years ago I was just an ordinary California girl. I had friends, family, a guy who might be The One. Ordinary—until I became a statistic, one of the unsolved murders of the year. Afterwards, I didn’t go anywhere in pursuit of any bright light—I stayed under the oak tree where my body was found, and relived my death, over an over. So when a psychic named Amanda Lee Minter pulled me out of that loop into the real world, I was very grateful.

So I’m now a ghost-at-large—rescued by Amanda (I found out) to be a supernatural snoop. I’m helping her uncover a killer (not mine—she promises me we’ll get to that) which should be easy for a spirit. Except that I’ve found out that even ghosts have enemies, human—and otherwise…

I'm really not sure why but I just could not get into this book. It really had a heck of a time keeping my attention, to the point where I was easily distracted and kept putting it down. Despite being intrigued by the blurb, and knowing up front that the protagonist was a ghost, I think that was a lot of the problem. I just had a hard time getting attached to the threats didn't seem real enough as she was already dead. Don't get me wrong, there were definitely threats to Jensen, and due to some energy issues it does get a bit hairy, but I just wasn't "feeling" it, so it didn't affect me or suck me in like I would have liked. Another issue I had was that this story seemed to be much more murder mystery, which isn't really my genre of choice. Sure, it's technically an Urban Fantasy due to the premise of it being told from a ghost's perspective, but it just didn't have the same feel. There were just too many questions left unanswered, and instead of drawing me into the story, it turned me off.

Speaking of being turned off, I had a lot of issues with the way Jensen had no problem causing fear and manipulation to get to the bottom of the murder. She didn't care at all who she hurt or what stood in her path, and it just left a foul taste in my mouth, disconnecting me even further from the book. The way she would just "enter" into the people to get her answers instead of actually interaction, felt like a cheat, especially as the people could sense what she was doing. It just struck me as wrong, and I didn't care for it at all.

All that being said, based on other reviews/ratings I've looked at, it seems that the response to this book has been largely positive. So, maybe it just wasn't the right book for me at the time as like many I do seem to have reading moods, and will work better for someone else, particularly fans of a murder mystery type plotline. So if the blurb sounds good to you, give it a try and don't let me discourage you.

(Received a copy from the publisher)


Order Links:

Other Reviews:
     a GREAT read
     Gizzmo's Reviews
     Short and Sweet Reviews

Kirsten Reviews: Neptune's Brood by Charles Stross

, by Kt Clapsadl

Neptune's Brood by Charles Stross
Freyaverse #2

Krina Alizond is a metahuman in a universe where the last natural humans became extinct five thousand years ago. When her sister goes missing she embarks on a daring voyage across the star systems to find her, travelling to her last known location - the mysterious water-world of Shin-Tethys.

In a universe with no faster-than-light travel that's a dangerous journey, made all the more perilous by the arrival of an assassin on Krina's tail, by the 'privateers' chasing her sister's life insurance policy and by growing signs that the disappearance is linked to one of the biggest financial scams in the known universe.

This is set in the same universe as Saturn's Children, 5000 years later.

Neptune's Brood by Charles Stross opens with a travel agent offering to amputate limbs to get a customer a better deal. If that doesn't make you laugh, then this book is not for you.

But, for anyone else who did a double take and perked up with curiosity, then this book, featuring manners, or a lack thereof, banking, explosions, all wrapped in an engaging sci-fi package is a definite keeper.

In fact, this book could be billed as a science fiction thriller, or an examination of the intricacies of accounting and interstellar banking.

The protagonist, Krina Alizond-114, is an accounting historian and a metahuman and a descendent of robots that at one time, served humanity. While traveling to the planet Shin-Tethys to find her sister, Ana Graulle-90, her ship is captured by pirates. The pirates' leader, Count Rudi, suspects that there is more to this search than familial devotion is correct. Both Ana and Krina are in possession of a half of the Atlantis Carnet, a powerful financial instrument which, if handled incorrectly, has the potential to topple a civilization. Krina decides to accept Count Rudi's offer to assist her in reaching Shin-Tethys, and in exchange, she will introduce him to Ana.

But, there's a wrinkle in this simple deal, and that comes in the form of an assassin who has been tracking Krina in order to retrieve the carnet and kill any witnesses. With all these elements, even large infodumps should bring the story together to a satisfying conclusion.

However, while the world is richly imagined and its main character interesting, few others are as fleshed out and the buildup to the big reveal and conclusion are abrupt and are something of a letdown in comparison to the rest of the book.

That being said, if readers have an interest in accounting, science fiction or pirates, they can easily dive in and see where FTL technology and sums carry them.

(Received a copy from the publisher)


Order Links:

Other Reviews:

Previous Books:
     1. Saturn's Children

Waiting on Wednesday (186)

, by Kt Clapsadl

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights an upcoming release we are greatly anticipating.

Our pick this week:

Stone Cold - Broken Magic #2
by Devon Monk
Publication Date: April 1st, 2014

This two-book series is set in the Allie Beckstrom universe. It takes place three years after the end of the Allie Beckstrom books. While it stands on its own and can be read without having to read the Allie Beckstrom novels, the experience may be even richer if both series are read.

The latest Broken Magic novel from national bestselling author Devon Monk.

Marked by Life and Death magic, Shame Flynn and Terric Conley are “breakers”—those who can use magic to its full extent. Most of the time, they can barely stand each other, but they know they have to work together to defeat a common enemy—rogue magic user Eli Collins.

Backed by the government, Eli is trying to use magic as a weapon by carving spells into the flesh of innocents and turning them into brainless walking bombs. To stop him, Shame and Terric will need to call on their magic, even as it threatens to consume them—because the price they must pay to wield Life and Death could change the very fate of the world...and magic itself.

Release Day Review: Night Owls by Lauren M. Roy

, by Kt Clapsadl

Night Owls by Lauren M. Roy
Night Owls #1

Night Owls book store is the one spot on campus open late enough to help out even the most practiced slacker. The employees’ penchant for fighting the evil creatures of the night is just a perk…

Valerie McTeague’s business model is simple: provide the students of Edgewood College with a late-night study haven and stay as far away from the underworld conflicts of her vampire brethren as possible. She’s lived that life, and the price she paid was far too high to ever want to return.

Elly Garrett hasn’t known any life except that of fighting the supernatural werewolf-like beings known as Creeps or Jackals. But she always had her mentor and foster father by her side—until he gave his life protecting a book that the Creeps desperately want to get their hands on.

When the book gets stashed at Night Owls for safe keeping, those Val holds nearest and dearest are put in mortal peril. Now Val and Elly will have to team up, along with a mismatched crew of humans, vampires, and lesbian succubi, to stop the Jackals from getting their claws on the book and unleashing unnamed horrors….

While I enjoyed Night Owls, I have to admit there was a good deal of frustration involved while reading this book. It suffers from very slow, yet extensive world building, something that unfortunately plagues many series starting books. Don't get me wrong I realize that these books have to introduce a whole new world to the reader, so there's a lot of set up involved, but the pacing more often than not seems to suffer in series openers, and that's exactly what happened here. I think a lot of those pacing issues were exasperated by the rotating third person perspectives. I just felt like I was in too many heads especially as the transitions were rather abrupt. First person narrative will always be my first love, but I don't necessarily mind third person , even rotating ones as long as there's only 2-3 total different voices in a book. In the case of Night Owls there were at least five, maybe more. I lost count. Granted it wasn't like I was ever confused as to whose head I was in, which is an impressive feat considering, it's just that I never really got the chance to settle into anyone and really enjoy things as it was constantly switching to the next person, making it really hard to connect with anyone.

Speaking of connection, I'm not shy about admitting that I really prefer there to be at least a hint of romance or at least the potential for some in my reading choices. Have I enjoyed Urban Fantasies without romance? Absolutely, but in those cases the rest of the book and/or character connection has to be incredibly strong to carry me without that romance element I love. Unfortunately that just wasn't the case here as there wasn't even a hint of romance (sure one character has a crush on another, but I honestly can't see it going anywhere.) and due to the rotation, I didn't grow attached to any of the characters.

Now that my complaints are out of the way, let's talk about why I did enjoy this book and despite the flaws, it earns a solid 5 from me. Remember me talking about the world building up there, how it was slow but heavy? Well despite the slowness, the world building probably was the best part of this book. I'm really fascinated with the different angles, factions, and species that are intertwined into this book. Between the Brotherhood, the Creeps/Jackals, the vamps, demons, and humans, there's a whole lot going on, yet it's woven together well. Add in the uniqueness, which is something that's not frequently able to be said about vampire novels, and it's a very intrigue and entertaining world. I do have high hopes for this series, as I'll largely admit I've felt rather mediocre to a lot of series opening books, and wound up loving the sequels immensely. So all in all, issues aside, Night Owls is a pretty decent start to a unique urban fantasy world that I'll be looking for more from.

(Received a copy from the publisher)


Order Links:

Other Reviews:
     All Things Urban Fantasy
     Between Dreams and Reality
     The Nocturnal Library

Labyrinth of Stars Blog Tour

, by Kt Clapsadl

*Where did you get the inspiration for Hunter Kiss series?

I had a deadline! And deadlines are great inspiration. I was in bed one night and a documentary on the Yakuza aired. I looked at all the amazing body tattoos, thought, “What if they could just…peel off the skin and come alive?” And that was the root of the series.

* How many books are planned for the series? Any hints for what's next?

Labyrinth of Stars will likely be the last full-length novel in the Hunter Kiss series. Are there still stories that need to be told? Absolutely. This isn’t the end of Maxine, Grant, and the boys. Their adventure is only just beginning. But as a writer, it’s time to step back and approach the series from a fresh perspective.

*If your books were to be made into a movie, who would be your top picks for the cast?

Oh, my. I’d say that Maggie Q would be a great Maxine. As for Grant, definitely Viggo Mortensen. Though I’d love to hear from readers. Who do you think should play Maxine and Grant?

*Could you tell us a little about the ups and downs you have experienced in publishing?

Finishing the writing of a novel, coming up with an idea, those moments when the words flow fast and hard – viewing cover art for the first time, getting revision notes back, seeing my book in print – there are so many joyous moments that it’s hard to contemplate the difficulties. But they’re there, of course. Deadlines can cause stress, along with poor sales, writer’s block – but that’s just part of the job. I wouldn’t give it up for anything.

*What are some of your favorite books in the paranormal genre?

I don’t know where to start. I guess it’s easier to give my favorite authors: Eve Silver, Lynn Viehl, Patricia Briggs, Ann Aguirre, Seanan McGuire, and many more.

*If you could tell readers one thing about yourself or your books, what would that be?

I have a weakness for images of cats on the internet. Also, I love writing about trust, love, courage, friendship, family, weaving all these things into a narrative that embraces characters who are outsiders, isolated, and gives them a place to call home.

*What is the craziest or at least most interesting thing you have ever done?

Quitting the practice of law to write full time? Plenty of people would call that crazy.

*Finish this statement: "You'll like the Hunter's Kiss series if...

…you enjoy reading about ferocious demons who cuddle with teddy bears, and who are the best, most loyal family a warrior woman could ever ask for.

Thanks Marjorie!

Author Info:

I was born in Philadelphia, spent my formative years in Seattle, and then attended Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin for my undergraduate studies, majoring in East Asian Languages and Cultures, with a minor in Biomedical Ethics. I went to law school at the University of Wisconsin. For more than 16 years I studied and traveled throughout Asia, working briefly at the US Embassy in Beijing, China — and in 2004 I gave up practicing law to become a full-time writer. I divide my time between the American Midwest, Boston, and Beijing, China.

Find Marjorie Online:
Website   *   Blog   *   Facebook   *   Twitter

Book Info:

Tattoos with hearts, minds, and dreams. Created to be the armor that protects my body, these obsidian shadows come alive at night—demons made flesh.

After the Aetar nearly kill Maxine’s unborn child, and a betrayal within her own ranks leaves Maxine’s husband, Grant, poisoned and dying, Maxine is forced to attack a race of beings that possesses almost unlimited power. Doing so will require she make a deal with the devil—the devil that lives inside her—risking both her sanity and her soul as she slowly transforms into something more than human.

But even that might not be enough to save Grant, because the very thing that Maxine is becoming is destined to destroy the world.

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Covet February Releases & Giveaways

, by Kt Clapsadl

Covets have all the sexiness, emotion, and happily ever after that readers have come to expect and love from Entangled. They are firmly grounded in the contemporary world, but each novel brings in supernatural twists, breaking the contemporary and paranormal rules, alike. To find out more about their titles, chat with authors, participate in special events, and to find out what books you’ll be coveting next, visit the Entangled website, follow them on Twitter, LIKE their Facebook page, and join the Book Club.

Today I'm happy to be featuring Covet's February releases:

Hot Rock by Annie Seaton

Special $0.99 Introductory Price!

Megan Miller is on a dream trip to research her doctoral thesis at a rock festival in England. When she arrives in town she’s stunned that her temporary neighbor is the spitting image of her 70’s rock idol, too bad he’s also a world-class jerk. So why can't she stop thinking about him?

Seventies rock star Davy Morgan is a man with a secret: rockin’ in one time and living in another. He holds his privacy close to his heart, so when a beautiful girl who not only loves but truly understands his music moves in next door, he works overtime to keep her at a distance. Easier said than done.

Megan follows Davy to the rock festival, but it’s not what or when it seems. The lure of the music draws them closer, but can their newfound love span across the decades, or will it get lost in time?

Pan's Conquest by Aubrie Dionne

Special $0.99 Introductory Price!

Syrinx pulled a fast one on Pan to escape his raging lust. The God of Chastity wasn't about to break her vows and succumb to his temptations. Transported to the twenty-first century, she runs a florist shop—fulfilling her fake, mortal life. Until the breathtaking Parker Thomas hires her to decorate his grand estate for a gala. Five hundred roses? Easy enough. Except Parker makes her feel things she can't ignore...

As the God of Fertility, Pan is used to maidens flocking in droves to his pastures. So when Syrinx denies him, he's determined to win the one that got away. He poses as a mortal to get close to her, but he doesn't count on falling hard for his conquest—hard enough to make a life and stay.

But Syrinx is falling in love with a man that doesn't exist. Can Pan hide his identity forever, or will the truth tear them apart?

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Edge February Releases & Giveaways

, by Kt Clapsadl

Edge, a digital-first single-title romance line from Entangled Publishing, takes its lead from their popular Select imprint but gives its novels an edge in the marketplace by bringing great stories to readers at reasonable prices in a quick-and-easy way. Whether sexy or sweet, traditional romance or love and lust with a women’s fiction bent, at the center of every Edge book is heart. From Urban Fantasy to Contemporary Romance to Science Fiction Romance, Edge has a book for all romance readers—and right at their fingertips! As they say, all’s fair in love and war. To find out more about their titles, chat with authors, participate in special events, and to find out what books are coming next, visit the Entangled website, follow them on Twitter, and like their Facebook page.

Today I'm happy to be featuring Edge's February releases!!

Mustang Sassy by Daire St. Denis

Special $0.99 Introductory Price!

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Jordan Michaels wants his car fixed, now, and he wants Sass’s auto body shop to do it. But the handsome blond has a secret−he’s really Jordan Carlyle of Carlyle’s Classics, Sass Hogan’s biggest competitor, and he’s determined to prove himself to his family. As Sass and Jordan get to know each other, the depth of the attraction has them falling in love. But a relationship based on lies will only leave them primed for the worst wreck of their lives.

Death Defying by Nina Croft
Blood Hunter #3

Special $0.99 Pricing on First 3 Books in Series!

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After five hundred years, Callum Meridian, founding member of the Collective, is bored out of his mind. Until he realizes he’s physically changing—into what, he isn’t sure. Callum is determined to discover the truth, but his own people will stop at nothing to prevent it from coming out. He turns to Captain Tannis of the starship El Cazador. Sparks fly as they work together to make it out alive, but can Callum really trust the one woman hell bent on using him? Defying death has never been more dangerous…or more sexy.

Bittersweet Darkness by Nina Croft
The Order #3

Special $0.99 Pricing on All 3 Books in Series!

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As payment for a debt, Ash Delacourt finds himself working with the Order of the Shadow Accords as the demon representative. It’s a chance to be near his daughter, make a new start, and—once he’s met the delectable Detective Connolly—maybe have a little fun. But Faith has a secret, and falling in love with Ash—one of the bad guys, albeit a stunningly gorgeous one, isn't part of her future. How can she ever let Ash close when her time is running out…?

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead by Patricia Eimer
Speak of the Devil #3

Special $0.99 Pricing on All 3 Books in Series!

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There’s never an end to the crazy when you’re demon spawn. Not that Faith Bettincourt’s complaining. She's patching things up with her angelic on-again off-again boyfriend, Matt, and saving kids from Death in her pediatric unit, one soul at a time. But when she's forced to take over as the Angel of Death, and then Matt’s ex comes back, bringing the Apocalypse with her, Faith’s not about to give up the world...or her man. When the chips are down, what’s a girl to do but take matters in her own hands, consequences be damned?

Monday Wrapup (186)

, by Kt Clapsadl

It's Monday! What Are You Reading, hosted by Book Journey, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

Reviews for the past week:

Killer Frost by Jennifer Estep (Early Review)
"While the ending is bittersweet as saying goodbye to these much loved characters is rather hard, the ending of KILLER FROST is more than satisfying and gives the series a great sense of completion. This is an absolute must read for fans of the series. Trust me you won't want to miss Gwen's final showdown!"

The Undead Pool by Kim Harrison (Early Review)
"THE UNDEAD POOL is a must read, and Kim Harrison should be on any Urban Fantasy fan's auto buy list. If you haven't read this series, well then you don't know what you are missing, and if you have, prepare to be amazed yet again at Harrison's skills in crafting a captivatingly excellent story. Bravo Ms. Harrison. Bravo."

Other Posts:

The Conception Blog Tour stopped by.
Salvage by Alexandra Duncan was featured for Waiting on Wednesday.

Upcoming List:

Night Owls by Lauren M. Roy  (Release Day Review)
Only the Good Die Young by Chris Marie Green

Kirsten Reviews: Neptune's Brood by Charles Stross

Early Review: The Undead Pool by Kim Harrison

, by Kt Clapsadl

The Undead Pool by Kim Harrison
The Hollows #12

Witch and day-walking demon Rachel Morgan has managed to save the demonic ever after from shrinking, but at a high cost. Now strange magic is attacking Cincinnati and the Hollows, causing spells to backfire or go horribly wrong, and the truce between the races, between Inderlander and human, is shattering.

Rachel must stop the occurrences before the undead vampire masters who keep the rest of the undead under control are lost and it becomes all-out supernatural war. However, the only way to do so is through the ancient elven wild magic, which carries its own perils.

Sometimes when it comes to this series and writing reviews, I feel a bit like a broken record as how many different ways can you express absolutely loving a book? But here I am again writing a review about a book in this series that I loved and could quite honestly turn right around and read again. Seriously it was that good. Not only is there an incredible amount of character growth, and considering the size of the cast, that's more than impressive, but there's also one heck of a main plot and side ones as well to boot. In fact, this is a game changer book, a rather major one in fact. Considering there's only one more installment left in this series, I'm almost baffled at the turn of events. Do I love the new directions? Absolutely, and a lot of them I have to admit I was hoping for, but there were many twists that I didn't see coming at all, which only made the read even better, and rather impressive to still be able to surprise me 12 books in. But that being said, the shake up will make things more than interesting, and probably rather jammed pack in the final installment as there's going to be a lot to resolve. But then again, I wouldn't expect anything less than a stellar bang from this series. Now, only to wait the year plus till it releases...

Now I realize that I've been very very vague in this review, but honestly there isn't much to talk about without spoiling, and trust me, you won't want anything spoiled. Thi especially when it comes to the many different character dynamics that you are dying to know about. (*Coughs* Rachel & Trent). So while I apologize that I haven't given away any juicy details, you'll thank me when you get your hands on the book and get to read it completely fresh and untainted.

So to sum things up, THE UNDEAD POOL is a must read, and Kim Harrison should be on any Urban Fantasy fan's auto buy list. If you haven't read this series, well then you don't know what you are missing, and if you have, prepare to be amazed yet again at Harrison's skills in crafting a captivatingly excellent story. Bravo Ms. Harrison. Bravo.

(Received a copy from the publisher)



Other Reviews:
     Fangs, Wands, and Fairy Dust
     Your Urban Fantasy
     The Demon Librarian

Previous Books:
     1. Dead Witch Walking
     2. The Good, the Bad, and the Undead
     3. Every Which Way But Dead
     4. A Fistful of Charms
     5. For a Few Demons More
     6. The Outlaw Demon Wails
     7. White Witch, Black Curse
     8. Back Magic Sanction
     9. Pale Demon
     10. A Perfect Blood
     11. Ever After

Waiting on Wednesday (185)

, by Kt Clapsadl

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights an upcoming release we are greatly anticipating.

Our pick this week:

by Alexandra Duncan
Publication Date: April 1st, 2014

Ava, a teenage girl living aboard the male-dominated deep space merchant ship Parastrata, faces betrayal, banishment, and death. Taking her fate into her own hands, she flees to the Gyre, a floating continent of garbage and scrap in the Pacific Ocean, in this thrilling, surprising, and thought-provoking debut novel that will appeal to fans of Across the Universe, by Beth Revis, and The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood.

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