Book Review: Devoted in Death by J.D. Robb

Friday, 21 August 2015

Devoted in Death (In Death, #41)Devoted in Death by J.D. Robb
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Published in September 2015 by Piatkus (Little, Brown)
Buy: Amazon
ARC from Netgalley

Goodreads Summary

Eve Dallas tracks a couple whose passion is fueled by cold brutality in the newest crime thriller from the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of Obsession in Death and Festive in Death.

When Lieutenant Eve Dallas examines a body in a downtown Manhattan alleyway, the victim’s injuries are so extensive that she almost misses the clue. Carved into the skin is the shape of a heart—and initials inside reading E and D . . .

Ella-Loo and her boyfriend, Darryl, had been separated while Darryl was a guest of the state of Oklahoma, and now that his sentence has been served they don’t ever intend to part again. Ella-Loo’s got dreams. And Darryl believes there are better ways to achieve your dreams than working for them. So they hit the road, and when their car breaks down in Arkansas, they make plans to take someone else’s. Then things get messy and they wind up killing someone—an experience that stokes a fierce, wild desire in Ella-Loo. A desire for Darryl. And a desire to kill again.

As they cross state lines on their way to New York to find the life they think they deserve, they will leave a trail of evil behind them. But now they’ve landed in the jurisdiction of Lieutenant Dallas and her team at the New York Police and Security Department. And with her husband, Roarke, at her side, she has every intention of hunting them down and giving them what they truly deserve . . .

My Review

ARC received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

There have been plenty of murders and serial killers over the course of this series, I mean, of course there have. It’s a crime series. But this is the first time we’ve faced such an intimate pair of spree killers that abduct and torture their victims for the sexual thrill of the game. It was both extremely disconcerting and fascinating to see how two violent, sadistic individuals came together to commit such heinous acts and its reflection on their own belief system. Somehow it all comes crawling back to Shakespeare (and yes, Romeo and Juliet is not a romance. It’s a tragedy. Let this book be a lesson).

Robb always manages to find a perfect balance within these books; never overloading the reader with medical or psychological jargon. Finding the right amount of balance between all the murder and death and the friendship, love and loyalty that binds the lives of the main characters together. The facets of the relationships in this book and the dynamics that go along with it make this book (and all the others) an entertaining and interesting read. I love this gang. Every last one of them.

The highlight of every book and this book is no different is always the last quarter. Eve Dallas never fails to have the most epic of takedowns and interrogations with murder suspects. No matter how bad the first three quarters of any In Death book may seem, the end always makes it redeemable. Always.

Despite this being the 41st book in the series, don’t let that faze you. It’s pretty easy to jump into this series at whatever book strikes your fancy. There are only occasionally drips and drabs of history slid in here and there but it’s generally small and well explained. I would recommend reading from the very start (again, don’t let that number faze you) as this way, you’ll get the full glory of Eve/Roarke’s relationship. I could not recommend it higher.

To summaries this book: Gripping, sadistic, intense, fascinating; Eve Dallas comes out battling her way to justice.

On an aside, It will always irritate me that this series so often gets reduced to a ‘romantic suspense’ series when it’s most definitely a police procedural first and foremost.

TTT: Ten Auto-Buy Authors

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

(This is a weekly meme by The Broke and the Bookish)

1. Sarah J. Maas
I fell head over heels in love with the Throne of Glass series and absolutely adored ACOTAR so I can safely say I would buy whatever she wrote.

2. Samantha Shannon
She may have only had 2 books in the Bone Season series published but they were so insanely well written and plotted out that I'd buy anything else she decided to write until she wrote so horrendous that I'd have to stop (which seems unlikely).

3. Colleen Hoover
I need more Colleen Hoover. All of her books are sitting sweetly on my iPad feeling loved and read and I need more. After racing through all of her books in a week I highly recommend everyone read them all (particularly Maybe Someday, Ugly Love ad Slammed).

4. J.K. Rowling
I mean DUH, COME ON. Do you even need a reason? No? I thought not.

5. J.D. Robb
After reading all 52 eBooks of her novels and novellas I will continue to buy and read this series even if it reaches the 100s. The quality has not ceased. My love for all of these characters has not faltered.

6. Richard Castle
I will never not read a Richard Castle book. They're all wonderfully written and live for all the sly references that appear in the TV show, Castle, and vice versa. I highly recommend everyone read them and watch Castle. Yes.

I can't even think of ten authors. These six wonderful people will have to do.
Who have you included in your Top ten auto-buy authors list?

TTT: Ten Authors I've Read the Most

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

(This is a weekly meme by The Broke and the Bookish)

1. JD Robb: 52 books read
Yes, yes, yes. I highly recommend everyone read the In Death series by JD Robb (or you may know her better as Nora Roberts), if you can't get enough of take-no-shit badass ladies. The writing never falters, Robb is always on top of her game even 52 books down the line.

2. Cate Tiernan: 16 books read
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Tiernan when I was younger, particularly the Sweep series which I'm not sure whether I finished in its entirety or not. Tiernan doesn't seem to be writing anymore books now.

3. Lemony Snicket: 13 books read
What is a list without Lemony Snicket? A Series of Unfortunate Events was my childhood.

4. JK Rowling: 13 books read
Ah yes, Queen Rowling. This number would be 2 books higher if I could manage to finish a Cormoran Strike novel. I'll finish The Cuckoo's Calling at some point.

5. Colleen Hoover: 11 books read
I cannot get enough of Colleen Hooever and November 9 needs to be released already because I am terribly impatient.

6. Roald Dahl: 11 books read
I never realised that I've read as many Roald Dahl books as I have done but no chhildhood is complete without having read at least a minimum of five Dahl books.

7. Charlaine Harris: 11 books read
I ploughed my way through all the True Blood/Sookie Stackhouse books which I absolutely adored unlike the TV adaptation which went in too much of a random direction for me to handle after a couple of seasons.

8. Richard Castle: 11 books read
All bow down before Richard Castle. I absolutely adore all of these books and I cannot wait for the next Nikki Heat book to be released. I'm pretty bummed about the fact that no Derrick Storm book was released this year and I'm also intrigued as to discover who the real identity behind the Richard Castle books are.

9. William Shakespeare: 11 books read
Good old Shakey baby. I will not rest until I have read evey single Shakespeare play and at least one tv/film/theatre adaptation of it. Reading Shakespeare is a requirement of life.

6. P.C. Cast: 8 books read
Just like Queen Rowling, this would have been much higher if I had finished the House of Night series. I'd like to read her other novels but I'm waiting for one to completely catch my eye.

What are your most read authors?

Book Review: Obsession in Death by J.D. Robb

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Obsession in Death (In Death, #40)Obsession in Death by J.D. Robb
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Published in February 2015 by Piatkus
Buy: Amazon

Goodreads Summary

Lieutenant Eve Dallas walks the thin line between love and hate in the latest thriller from #1 New York Times bestseller J. D. Robb....Eve Dallas has solved a lot of high-profile murders for the NYPSD and gotten a lot of media. She - with her billionaire husband - is getting accustomed to being an object of attention, of gossip, of speculation.

But now Eve has become the object of one person's obsession. Someone who finds her extraordinary, and thinks about her every hour of every day. Who believes the two of them have a special relationship. Who would kill for her again and again. An aggressive defense attorney who's sparred with Eve in the courtroom is the first victim, but she isn't the last. The messages left for Eve at the crime scenes chill her and turn her stomach. It doesn't get much more personal than this - and Eve refuses to hand the investigation over to anyone else. With a murderer reading meaning into her every move, handling this case will be a delicate - and dangerous - psychological dance.

And eve knows that underneath the worship and admiration, a terrible threat lies in wait. Because the beautiful lieutenant is not at all grateful for these bloody offerings from her "true and loyal friend." And in time, idols always fall....

My Review

I was really excited for this book, especially since the last two were such a drag. This book was like a breath of fresh air. I tend to enjoy every book in the series even when the less than awesome ones are a huge let-down because Robb (Roberts) is always able to write a fantastic ending. Obsession is Death was amazing from beginning to end, there's no doubt about that one.

This is the fourtieth book in the series (not counting all the novellas) and Nora Roberts is able to put every author who has written a sham of a trilogy to shame because this series has not lost momentum and it has not lost its ability to continually deliver above par storytelling. Robb is able to come back again and again, maintaining that three dimensional appeal and growth of all of her characters.

This latest instalment was tense and the stakes were set high as Eve Dallas faced down her secret admirer, who killed people who had wronged Eve, seeing is as a favour between friends. This book showcased just how far Eve has come from 'Naked In Death', the differences she has made in her own life, the circle of friends she has grown and are now a part of her family. No one is safe in this book and that makes it just that extra bit gripping.

I highly recommend everyone dive into this series because it is well worth it. Don't let the number of books scare you off. It may just be the best decision you've ever made to start this series, (I know it was mine). I also hope this series makes it to the big 50 because I cannot wait to see what Nora Roberts has in store for that milestone.

Book Review: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1)Graceling by Kristin Cashore
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Published in october 2008 by Harcourt
Buy: Amazon

Goodreads Summary

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight - she's a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king's thug.

When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po's friend.

She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace - or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away...

My Review

This books was truly wonderful. I absolutely adored it (despite the problematic feminist agenda behind it).

This book centres around a young female heroine who has been 'graced', in other words you have two mismatched coloured eyes and an exceptional talent. In the case of our female lead, Katsa, she has the exceptional talent to kill (or to survive as we learn later on in the book). Katsa is a fighter who is unbeatable and unconquerable in strength and talent. She could take down a room of armed men before the first man to throw a knife has even batted an eyelid. We see her constantly adjusting and being challenged and it was somewhat refreshing to see a lead female so in tune with her capabilities and ability to take no one's shit. I suppose it helped that everyone was scared shitless of her?

I loved loved loved the love story throughout this book. Po was charming and sweet and that extra dash of smart-assery (and maybe he was a bit of a two-dimensional doormat at times but that didn't bother me). Katsa was the focus. Po's sense of character never needed to outweigh or push the female lead to the sidelines. The outcome of their relationship left my heart in a squeeze and dying for more because I want to see how the remainder of their journey play out. How does Po's mum react to his new 'condition'? How does Randa react to Katsa's new demands?

My only distaste with this book was this ideal of femininity or feminism that Cashore proposed, which is something I've noticed frequently in books written about a 'strong' female lead. This notion that to have long hair, wear make-up and dresses and to make yourself beautiful somehow detracts from your strength. Femininity becomes a weakness and it's something I strongly disagree with. I understand Katsa's desire to not wear dresses when she's traipsing about on horseback and fighting for her survival. I see the practicality in that. But that strong distaste to putting on a nice dress for a formal dinner somehow transforms her from a badass killing machine to a pathetic, superficial housewife and that's an extremely problematic idea to push forward.

I admired Katsa's strong stance on refusing to marry and to not have children despite the flawed logic behind it:

"If she took Po as her husband, she would be making promises about a future she couldn't yet see. For once she became his wife, she would be his forever. And, no matter how much freedom Po gave her, she would always know that it was a gift. Her freedom would be not be her own; it would be Po's to give or to withhold. That he never would withhold it made no difference. If it did not come from her, it was not really hers."

Cashore presents this idea that to marry is to lose your freedom, your control is passed along to your spouse. In my opinion, that's a completely old-fashioned and (for what some call a 'feminist' novel is utterly) unfeminist ideal. Po has only ever admired Katsa's strength of body and character.

Cashore's intent to empower Katsa only ever falls flat in a number of places throughout this book. She does, however, present us with a wonderful friendship between two young females who battle for their own survival and do it without a single man in sight. These are your two 'I'm not taking a single piece of your shit because I can get my own motherfucking shit done' ladies. This is the representation of feminism that I wanted to see. This appreciation and support amongst women, celebrating each others successes with no bullshit. Katsa teaches Bitterblue to fight because although she may never need it, she deserves the right to know how to defend herself without relying on a knight in shining armour to arise and protect her.

Ultimately, the pacing was right and the writing was strong. The world building itself was pretty on point. This is a must-read and I highly recommend everyone read it.

Just the beginning

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

So my writing journey has begun and I'm 4,340 words into writing my first novel. I beat the writing goal in my last post by 800+ words which isn't much but still something; a chapter and a half. So I've got this writing thing down. I think. For now at least. It feels so exhilarating, to sit down and place yourself in the mind of another and write, and I hope to never loose that feeling. My biggest issues right now are probably my difficulty to carve out set writing hours and to do so without procrastinating. I'll get there eventually I'm sure.

To make these segments a little less lame I may start posting snippets of text from what I've written over the latest writing week - a line or two, nothing more. Just to spice things up and keep it interesting. I may also begin posting a weekly playlist full of all the songs that are currently inspiring me in this writing adventure.

My next writing goal is probably going to be less ambitious as I'm going to be extremely busy between now and Monday/Tuesday with friends and my dissertation (deep sigh!). Writing goal: 5,500 words by August 11th.

Thanks for reading and until next time,

June/July roundup

The last couple of months have been extremely hectic - with my Bloomsbury internship and moving back home - and yet I've still managed to read a ridiculous amount of books. It felt really good though, to get out my fanfiction reading funk to enjoy some books. I'm now miles ahead of my reading goal this year so maybe I'll be able to reach 100 books again like I did back in 2013.

June reads
June aka my Colleen Hoover binge reading month. In all honesty I don't read a lot of romance novels but I couldn't get enough of Hoover's novel. I highly recommend everyone read Maybe Someday - this book will spoil every other romance novel you will ever read. It also has a soundtrack to go with it, all songs sung by Griffin Peterson and I recommend you all listen to that too and then every other song he has ever song. Utter eargasm. As a PSA, don't bother reading Concentr8. Seriously. Don't bother.

July reads
This was the month that I finished all the In Death books that have been written since 1995 (40+) so I'm now all caught up and awaiting the release of the next novel in September, and I hate it. I'm having a serious case of post-series depression. I highly recommend everyone reads them because they're badass and that extra hint of sexy. Shadow and Bone (for me at least) didn't live up to the hype that surrounded it. I'm not sure if I'll read the remainder of the series so we'll see. As for the Throne of Glass series, holy freaking mother of Albus Dumbledore. Everyone needs to read those books. Everyone. So beautifully crafted with such depth and characterisation. I cannot get enough of them and can't wait for the next one.

I'll try and write up some book reviews when I have the time. But for now, I highly recommend every one of those books I read (except Concentr8) so happy reading and until next time...

aspiring author attempting world domination with a bit o' magic and some kickass moves.