Monday, April 15, 2013

Review: Demon eyes by Scott Tracey

Demon Eyes
by Scott Tracey
Published by Flux
Date of publication:  October 8th 2012
Source: gifted
Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis: Demons don't die without a fight...
After destroying the demon Lucien, Braden—son of Belle Dam’s most powerful warlock, Jason Thorpe—doesn’t need the power of his witch eyes to see that everything in his life is turning against him: friends, family, and even his visions. When disturbing nightmares of Lucien’s return haunt him, Braden discovers that the simmering feud between the city’s two witch dynasties is fast approaching its explosive boiling point.
While struggling to come to terms with his attraction to Trey, Catherine Lansing’s son who should be his mortal enemy, a diabolical plan starts to unveil before Braden’s eyes. Young women are disappearing from Belle Dam, and as he investigates, Braden is forced to explore the dangerous unknown power within himself. But when the truth about his family is revealed, Braden must pay a terrible price.

My thoughts

Expectations : my expectations aren’t mile high. Maybe that’s a good thing. I hope it will be better and here’s hoping there’s more history on the founding of Belle Dam.

Cover : The sequel has another floating head but a grey one this time and the lighthouse from book one is shown. I like it less than its predecessor.

Book : Living in Belle Dam has become more welcoming and the drama at the end of book 1 has settled a bit. He has made some close friends and a relationship with the person he has strong feelings for. But the ugly heads of literal and figuratively demons begin to rear their heads again in Belle Dam and in his life. Local girls have been disappearing and a silver smooth haired being has appeared. Town secrets and history are exposed, how the feud came to be is further clarified and doubt creeps in his life and relationship. The headaches are still a major pain. Will Braden ever have peace of mind?

I will address the dislikes and likes of the sequel the same as I did in the review of Witch eyes.

The positives: I longed for more town secrets and history in Belle Dam and my wish came true. Finding out how a lot was connected with each other including: the founders of Belle Dam, the kidnappings and the visions that motivated his traveling to Belle Dam, was fun.

2nd. I went with no real attachments towards the romantic interest starting book two but he has grown on me. I don’t know him like a character on his own and he’s still just the boyfriend of a paranormal creature,but. You start feeling compassion towards him after the ending of book two and learning of the effects the feud has had on him.

3th. Demon eyes should have been the first book in a trilogy. It started with a bang and closed with firecrackers though I have to admit the middle felt like it was fizzling out but still far better than the first. Kidnappings are often used and it was cool how to see how Mr. Tracey handled it. It is sad that he didn’t write that way in the first book. I’m not an editor or a language expert but I could notice his progress as an author. If the last book in the trilogy is even better, it improves my desire to read the last book in the trilogy.

The negatives has somewhat stayed the same.

Braden has kind of improved. He was a lot darker and was becoming a master of lies and that resulted in thinking that people he cared about were going to turn on him and Braden redeemed himself a little bit more than in Witch eyes. But the whining stayed and still not getting attached to him is the reason why he’s still a negative.

2nd. My feelings towards the towns people and the romance has stayed the same. The romance has developed slightly that’s a plus but it still feels forced.

My reading experience was a better than witch eyes but sadly there were still some parts that were annoying. It does not deserve a 4 out 5, hence I’m giving it a 3.5. Give it a try if you read the first.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Review: Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey

Witch eyes
by Scott Tracey
Published by Flux
Date of Publication: September 8th 2011
Source: gifted
Rating: 3/5

Synopsis: Braden was born with witch eyes: the ability to see the world as it truly is: a blinding explosion of memories, darkness, and magic. The power enables Braden to see through spells and lies, but at the cost of horrible pain.
After a terrifying vision reveals imminent danger for the uncle who raised and instructed him, Braden retreats to Belle Dam, an old city divided by two feuding witch dynasties. As rival family heads Catherine Lansing and Jason Thorpe desperately try to use Braden's powers to unlock Belle Dam's secrets, Braden vows never to become their sacrificial pawn. But everything changes when Braden learns that Jason is his father--and Trey, the enigmatic guy he's falling for, is Catherine's son.
To stop an insidious dark magic from consuming the town, Braden must master his gift—and risk losing the one he loves

My thoughts

Expectations : Reading from a male’s perspective is always fun. I heard of this book after I had just become part of the Goodreads community. . I love fictional family feuds and the inclusion of witches makes it all the better. I have had it on my wish list for a while and I immediately said yes when a kind popular blogger said she could gift me witch eyes and its sequel.

Cover : I’m not normally a fan of floating heads. But this one isn’t that bad. The Thorpe mansion is shown on the cover with an edge of the belle dam forest behind it. And the picture of the guy is really cute. I’m weird, I know.

Book : Braden hasn’t had the typical normal childhood. He lives with his uncle and exercises loads of magical spells and etc daily. And he is seen as the weird kid with glasses. He has eyes than can unravel spells, memories and emotions etched in places. A splitting headache havocs his mind every time he uses his ‘’gift’’. He left his uncle in the middle of the night to goes to Belle Dam. The place where has a decent clue of his heritage and family and his uncle would stop him if he knew. Braden meets this mysterious and interesting good looking brown shaggy haired guy and finds outs about the feud. Among all the people he meets there is someone who’s more interested than usual in this feud and could be the Big Bad. Finding out who could be difficult because everyone seems suspicious. And will the new love that sprung with Braden and the handsome stranger suffer or bloom in this seemingly across the surface calm town.

Let me start with the positives :
So let the negatives follow. Sometimes you have to take good with the bad. Writing a book is easier said than done and publishing one is even more so. And I congratulate Mister Tracey for that. Quite some people liked or loved witch eyes. I’m not saying it is badly written but nothing really happened in the 1st book of the trilogy. It was like a 2nd title in a series with second book syndrome. The last 3 or 4 chapters were fast paced and somewhat intense but it could not rejuvenate my interest for witch eyes after I got bored with it. I often finish a book no matter how boring.

2. Braden Thorne was an okay leading male, but he was whining quite a lot at moments in this book and being bad tempered and rude when stuff didn’t work out. He was awfully rude to his dad and uncle He redeemed himself a bit in the end. They try to be good parental figures.

3. I could not care that much for the rest of the characters. Expect for Riley, a perky school reporter, and Braden‘s uncle. They were just characters for the sake of being characters that where needed for the plot.

4. The romance was like any other typical paranormal YA romance. A girl and a guy meet somewhere. The guy is so mysterious and they fall and care for in each other in an instant. But in this case it’s two dudes. It was forced and to make it more entertaining make it forbidden. Yep, that’s the whole romantic plotline. Trey was just another pretty boy who was busy being chivalrous by protecting Braden from harm. The only positive were the cute/hot kiss scenes.

That’s all I have to say. My experience with Witch eyes was nothing special but if you want to, read it. Go ahead and give it a try. I don’t know if I would have given book two a try if I did not have it already. If witch eyes was better I would not have given it a 3 out 5.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Review: The Culling by Steven dos Santos

The Culling (The Torch Keeper #1)
by Steven Dos Santos
Published by Flux
Date of Publication:   March 8th 2013 by
Source: gifted
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis: Recruitment Day is here...if you fail, a loved one will die...
For Lucian “Lucky” Spark, Recruitment Day means the Establishment, a totalitarian government, will force him to become one of five Recruits competing to join the ruthless Imposer task force. Each Recruit participates in increasingly difficult and violent military training for a chance to advance to the next level. Those who fail must choose an “Incentive”—a family member—to be brutally killed. If Lucky fails, he’ll have to choose death for his only living relative: Cole, his four-year-old brother.
Lucky will do everything he can to keep his brother alive, even if it means sacrificing the lives of other Recruits’ loved ones. What Lucky isn’t prepared for is his undeniable attraction to the handsome, rebellious Digory Tycho. While Lucky and Digory train together, their relationship grows. But daring to care for another Recruit in a world where love is used as the ultimate weapon is extremely dangerous. As Lucky soon learns, the consequences can be deadly...
My thoughts

Expectations : I was in a dystopia and post-apocalyptic mood during a 2013 titles goodreads browse last year. And the mention of a LGTBQ relation and to be precise the G part of the acronym in the synopsis intrigued me . I have read some m/m fiction in 2012 but mostly in adult titles. That type of romantic relation is not that common in YA fiction. So I wondered if it would be as stereotypical as some YA titles that also highlight it.

Cover : The scene that the cover illustrates could be anywhere in the novel. But I think most likely during one of the trials. The dude on the cover is Lucian ‘’Lucky” Spark, the protagonist, the cover helped me paint a picture of him in my mind. The locator on wrist has a very important role during the trials. I love green, which I have mentioned at moments before and love the sickly greens used on the cover.

Book : There’s a city shrouded with smog and smoke. It’s called the parish. Workers slave away in the industrial borough. That powers the flickering gaslights. Most people don’t reach the age of forty and if they reach it, starvation or the Reaper’s cough struggle with each other to hand over that life to Mr. Death. The latter is caused by the smoke and stress in the factories and it has been rumored to be engineered by the Establishment. The Establishment, a big brother government in this novel, has the Recruitment day annually. Some ‘lucky ‘few get to be chosen, recruited to have a chance belonging to the elite military ops. Called The imposers or imps for short. 5 candidates are chosen in the recruitment. They face 2 months of excessive training before entering the trials. The recruit who places last after each trial will have to choose which incentive (the military term for loved one)will be murdered and if both incentives are expired, that recruit will be eliminated from continuing and immediately shipped off to work camps. This will go so forth till one recruit remains triumphant. This 16 year old fellow nicknamed Lucky is betrayed and accused of treason against the state. The only way to save his 4 year old brother is to win. Will he succeed?

When I read I try not to see similar storylines in books. Yes its sounds like THG at points. For example the recruitment day sounds as it was an adapted version of The Reaping. Some parts could be annoying to some readers if they don’t start with an open mind. This is not a rip off of The Hunger Games if you ask me but just a YA title with a totalitarian government with parts that seem similar to THG. This genre is crowed and of course you’ll find some similar plots or storylines along the way and it’s okay as long as they’re no copy cats. I have to admit the world building in THG was put together greatly and that’s where The Culling loses some points. The government and the world building were vague at parts. There are farms mentioned, are they outside the parish and I want to know the name of that region called. There are group of people that are miners and develop reaper’s cough when they’re older but it is mentioned that at age 16, the youth enters the normal military or the special ops. Lucians’ parents were miners and died of Reaper’s Cough. How does the Establishment get a hold of people to work in the mines or work camps? Let’s just say the new employees at the mines are former military personal, you have to replenish your livestock to do the manual labor because they die when they are a certain age from reaper’s cough. Can’t the former cadets fight back? Yes I have some problems with the word building but nothing other than that.

The negatives are out of the way, so let’s focus on the positives. The characters made The Culling what it is. A torture for the characters and the reader to experience scenes where their loved ones, are murdered. Whilst sending a message that love for the state is more important than loving people close to you. Getting attached to people is very dangerous because the Establishment will use it against you at any cost. Lucian and his fellow recruits, who he bonded and became close with, got to know. The manipulation and murders reminded me of high quality slasher movies. You are a very evil man Mr. Dos Santos for making me care about lucky’s competition.

You have to like the protagonist otherwise reading about him or her could be a chore. Lucian was very na├»ve at first but trough out the novel he became more level headed and I’m happy that he did not lose his kind heart. The remaining recruits are Digory, Gideon, Ophelia and Cyprus. Out of the remaining recruits, Cyprus tugged at my heart strings the most. She’s a female by the way and 17 or 18 with raven long hair. She came across as a bitch at times but if you read her back story and the situations she was thrust in you only feel sorry for her. She was hard like a rock but soft in side in the good meaning of the word. Another thing that I liked was the bond between the brothers. Lucky would do anything for his brother.

Hallelujah. Can I get an AMEN? The romantic angle was not forced, rushed or in your face. It was important to the story line but did not overpower it. And there was not a love triangle in sight but please don’t let there be one, it could be if you nudge it some. Digory and Lucian’s romance was slow building and I look forward seeing it grow more and more till it’s a crescendo in future books. There romance was handled Iike any other romantic love and not like HEY THIS IS A GAY LOVE.I read about 4 gay men in this book and none were stereotypical stick figure gay guys. Thank you Dos Santos. Digory was the kind next door type of guy. He has tawny wavy locks with blue eyes and 1 or 2 years older. Maybe in the next book some steamy kissing scenes. Poke, poke. (There aren’t any so far)

I whizzed through The Culling. There were some problems along the way and I hope that a love triangle will not be developed. I really want to know what happened to Digory. The ending was bitter sweet. I hope that there will be more details on the military, imposers, The Establishment and that thing that scares them. And more scenes with Lucky and Cole, his 4 year old brother would be lovely. Do want to read about loving someone and doing anything to save them. Even if it could mean sacrificing others loved ones. The bond between brothers and a slow building romance between two kind wonderful young men. Give The Culling a try.


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