Bucket list…

This is kind of an American concept I think, at least the name is; the ‘Do Before I Die’ list has been around for a long, long time. I’m just getting to the stage in my life when I want to do amazing things that I had either dismissed or never even considered before now.

Here are a few…lantern valentine car  body paradise thai butterbeer chanel dance canyon vegas 1 class sistine yacht kissing lotto1 taxi book2 NY times square tiffany liberty cuddles hotel tattoo tower ikea cali polish shirt owl Hogwarts2 pisa balloons fmae book paper spa limo heels hair pink soldier Roadtrip 1 Platform Hogwarts Puppy Photo US states Glitter NY live NY Kiss NY Xmashappily ever after

You know, just a few things… There are many more.


Book Review- Jaz Parks Series Finale.

I’ve just finished the final book in the series and wanted to share thoughts…

Jasmine Parks is an assistant assassin for the CIA working alongside the CIA’s most highly coveted “national treasure” Vayl. Vayl is nearly three hundred years old. He’s also a vampire.

This last installment centers around Jasmine’s fight to rid herself of a Domytr by the name of King Brude who shacked up in her unconscious somehow, unbeknown to anyone reading the last book, on that last mission. Her head of department at the CIA was murdered and their dept shut down so her team are pretty much going rogue on this one.

Each and every book is a new mission and if you miss a book, you miss a little of what’s going on in the next as the author assumes you’ll read the lot.

The pace of storyline is good (good being okay-good and not exceptional-good) but a couple of books seem hurried and Jasmine’s inner dialogue is either choppy and confusing or just plain over the top and boring. Also, some character interaction in a couple of the earlier books is a little hurried and I don’t feel for these people. It feels a bit too forced and I genuinely don’t believe Jaz when she keeps telling the reader she loves her crew. I just don’t feel it.

Jasmine’s character is the main focus here I know but I just feel it’s too big for the proper development of any of the others. For someone who’s keeping her heart locked away due to past traumas (in this latest book Jaz mentions losing her last fiance Matt only 18 months before) she certainly jumps into new relationships quickly and whole heartedly.

She ‘gets’ things and figures situations out without that irritating inner monologue explaining it for the reader but explaining far less interesting/intriguing plot moments instead. She jumps from mission to mission with her crew having only a couple of days or weeks in between yet we are supposed to believe her people can just look at her and know exactly what she’s thinking even when they’ve only worked together a couple of months? Hmm.

Also, and this is probably one of the most awful things about this series; the strange and weird creatures the crew come up against. Knomes? With big blue noses and tails? Is that not just bloody ridiculous when trying to write an almost serious story? And the way Jasmine (therefore the CIA by extension) know the names and known whereabouts of the most bizarrely or poorly described bad guys yet have either A, no powers to do anything about said weird bad guys or B, knowing who they are and where they are have no idea who they are or where they are? Confusing no? The team has lots of information of absolutely no relevance and assume quite a bit or they have no information and manage to make decisions quickly and easily and get the assassinations done.

Jasmine also heads the missions when she’s only the assistant assassin? Rardin (the author) gives her all the power and decision making and then has her making ditzy mistakes and lovey eyes at Vayl the next second. In some instances Jaz switches from ‘Off’ mode to ‘Working’ so quickly I wonder if she’s not a robot. There’s talk of her being able to switch, keeping her mind on the job and nothing else, like an obsession and then she flies off the handle at the slightest annoyance.

There are silly side-plots (like saving Aaron’s Dad’s ghost) that I kinda didn’t understand what they were there for. Other than the only reason this man had to be included in the story was because he is the reincarnated soul of one of Vayl’s sons who he has been dying to meet again for two hundred years and should meet before the end of the series. Quickly. The character has about as much personality as a used plastic sandwich bag and serves no purpose in the plot.

We also find out Vayl the vampire assassin has been watching Jasmine’s family for many a generation and he somehow had never met Jasmine until she worked for the CIA. Yet as we just discovered he’d had an eye on the family and kept them safe for two hundred years… Huh?

Don’t get me wrong, I read ALL the books in the series but it was a bit of a struggle at times. Maybe I just don’t like the main character Jasmine? But that’s really the whole point isn’t it? You have to care? Otherwise, SO WHAT?

So what? might best explain my reaction to these books. I read them because I was waiting on something good to come up and after I bought three books I just went and finished the series. Within these stories there is nothing but the mission and really nothing going on in the world apart from Jasmine Parks and the people who make her feel better/do things for her/marry her brother…

It passes time but I wouldn’t read any of these books more than once and that’s pretty much the seal of dis-approval from me.

If I won’t read it twice, it wasn’t worth the price.


Book Review- Moon Called

As I’ve mentioned before I’m hard to please when it comes to a good book. I won’t read anything too depressing; think semi-auto-biographies  based on an abusive childhood for example… Not a fan I’m afraid. Or crime thrillers with a tortured male lead. Nope. Don’t care.

Give me the supernatural any day. Fantasy, no. There’s a difference for me. I don’t enjoy lots of long randomly named made-up places and the seemingly hundreds of similarly named characters created to inhabit these worlds. I don’t care for bows and arrows, shields and swords. The only fantasy worlds I’ve actually enjoyed reading about were the Dark Materials Trilogy, the Mortal Engines series and the Magicians Apprentice series (of which I’ll probably review in more detail later.)

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs is the start of a particularly favoured series of mine.

Centering around 30-something Mercedes Thompson, a local mechanic and Shapeshifter. The story introduces her nieghbours and friends and using intrigue and loyalty, tempts Mercy into an adventure that will set the ball folling for an extremely busy couple of years.

Mercy has tried to keep her head down. Ever since figthting her way out from her adoptive (and just as supernatural) extended family, she just wanted to fit in and get on. Buying her mentor’s garage and starting up her mechanic’s business was just that. 

Cover Appearance- 9/10 Depending on the edition (I have the american print) there are multiple versions of the main character Mercy on the front of the book, mine being a wonderful illustration by Daniel Dos Santos. I like good book cover design and as soon as I was able to get my hands on a computer or sketch book as a kid would redesign and examine book covers. It’s an old cliche that ‘you can’t judge a book by it’s cover’. Well I’m here to say that’s wrong.

A book cover gives you a fantastic canvas to snare potential readers with. Gone are the days when an agent would find a random piece of art and slap it over the content without any input from the author. COVERS ARE SO IMPORTANT. You can give tiny hints of a plot, a character, the overall mood of the plot, a twist, the title can be woven into a wonderful piece of art and time should be taken on this to get it right. There is no excuse. You put all your time into writing what you hope is a great story and when you manage to get it published (which in itself is no small task) you don’t give a damn and just slap something on the cover quickly?

Character Development- 8/10 The characters are witty and full. The relationships are real and gritty. There’s no silly idealistic romance or rediculous unprovoked angst. It’s full of laugh out loud lines and real history between characters. Great fun!

Plot Structure- 8/10 This is the setting-up-for-a-great-series book, although this is still a great standalone story.

You may think eight out of ten isn’t particularly high, despite my praise. It’s actually a very high mark as I really don’t believe any book is perfect, there’s a different story in those words for every individual who reads them and they’ll never be perfect. That’s the charm.

Would I re-read this book? Most definitely and I have done over and over and over, not neccesarily in the series intended order or in fact in a series at all, sometimes just reading it through in a couple of nights before bed.

Would I read the next in a series? Yes, again and I have done. The series is ever expanding and has a sub-series in the Alpha & Omega novels and the Graphic novels too.