Book Review: Catalyst by Paul Byers

2405631Title: Catalyst
Author: Paul Byers
Genre: Thriller, Spy Thriller, Historical Fiction
Age Group: Adult (18+)
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Goodreads, Amazon

In the waning months of World War II, the allied armies advance upon the crumbling German war machine like a juggernaut. In a final desperate bid to save the Fatherland, a plan is conceived that could turn the tide of the war-the completion of an advanced jet-propelled bomber capable of delivering a deadly payload to the shores of America. Captain Griff Avery of the OSS has just botched the defection of a prominent German physicist, a man crucial to the Nazi end game, letting him fall into the hands of the rogue SS General masterminding the plot. But Avery’s troubles have only just begun: overwhelming evidence points to the woman he loves as the German spy who foiled the defection. Now under suspicion himself, Avery sifts through the lies and deceit, uncovering the treacherous German operation. Against orders and on the run, Avery is forced to wage a secret war of his own, recruiting the crew of a B-17 Flying Fortress and a reckless group of flyboys and their P-51 Mustangs to help him hunt down the secret SS cell and prevent the slaughter-no matter what the cost.

Catalyst starts out promising with a scary, suspenseful air battle that immediately sets the tone for the rest of the book. We meet Griff Avery, our protagonist, who is commanding officer for the flight forces, and whose mission fails. He’s confronted by a guilty conscious over losing his men for the first time, because this time around he’s directly responsible. He struggles with a secret plan he’s helped put into motion, a new relationship that puts him on edge because the woman in question may be involved in a German spy plot, and the world around him is slowly crumbling to pieces.

This book is reminiscent of movies like Inglorious Bastards, a sort of what-if scenario if world war two went differently. I read some reviews on Amazon that tackle the author’s supposed lack of research, but I don’t think that’s what the author was trying to do here. I mean, if this is a what-if version, one must allow an author some creative freedom. The plot for Inglorious Bastards never worked out in real life either, and nobody’s gone off to bash the movie about its terrible research. In Catalyst, it’s obvious that the author has an extensive knowledge of aviation during World War two, and in his what-if version of the war, places the Russians in France at a time when they obviously weren’t there, and does some other things that aren’t historically correct. But this is a spy thriller, not non-fiction, so give it a break.

Anyway, moving on, I kind of liked the build-up of this book. It started out slow, deliberately taking the time to introduce us to the main characters, but then the pace picks up, and we’re sent from an England devastated by bombings to the relatively unharmed USA, back to the heart of the war in Germany. I haven’t read a lot of spy novels before, but I might have to pick them up more often, because I really enjoyed the spy aspect of this book.

That aside, while the plot is strong and well thought-through, there were some things that annoyed me enough to fret over them. I’m not keen on deus-ex-machina, or on coincedences. It gets almost laughable when a German officer spreads classified secrets by talking about them to another officer, in English, with an English captive standing right there. Forgive me if I’m not busying that. And sometimes the rescue missions were a bit too coincedental, while this could’ve easily been avoided.

Avery was a decent character, a mishmash of strength and weaknesses, definitely not a straight about hero, but rather a forced-hero type. I liked his no-nonsense attitude, and his abillity to keep his cool in desperate situations. I rather liked Lincoln as well, especially his laid-back humor. Strovinski was another like for me. His personality was build up of contradictions, which I really enjoy reading about in characters. However, there were lots of other characters we’re introduced to that never reach above the name-on-a-page phase, which was a bit of a dissapointment.

I finished this book in about three sittings, because this is the kind of book that demands a break every now and then to wrap your mind around what happens. By about a third into the book, the pace really picks up and so many things start happening that it’s hard to keep track of what happens first. I enjoyed the fast-paced hunt for the spy, the flight to prevent the attack, and the many action sequences. This book would make a great movie, if anyone ever decides to buy the movie rights.

Book Review: The Awakening & Other Stories by Emma Meade

Cover ArtTitle: The Awakening & Other Stories
Author: Emma Meade
Genre: Short Story Collection, Horror
Age Group: Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Goodreads, Amazon

Put on the kettle, close the curtains and curl up by the fire. Dive into 8 short tales, each with a slice of the paranormal.

Ghost Story – Who is the shadow in the window of the abandoned house, and what or who is he waiting for?
The Awakening – It’s time for Sabrina to wake up and face the light.
End of the Line – Cassie wants to die. When midnight rolls around, she stands on the tracks waiting for the train to come.
Milsa Loris – The once magnificent kingdom of Milsa Loris comes alive one night each winter. The King’s witch is brewing up a little magic, sure to make the soup all the tastier.
The Old Vampire – Hailey spent her life dreaming of a dark prince falling in love with her. He never showed up, until now.
The Knocking – Alison’s grandfather has one eye on the next life. After all, he’s heard a lot of rapping at his door lately.
The Boy on the Beach – Kate’s grandmother warns her about the boy with the green eyes. Will she pay heed?
Snowglobes- It’s busy at Calvin’s Cabins this Christmas. Eddie and Maggie are a young couple in trouble. Not to fear, Calvin is always ready to lend a hand.

The Awakening & Other Stories is a quick, deliciously scary anthology to read through. It comes up at around 70 pages, and offers eight stories. I think I finished it in under an hour. The stories fit nicely together. They’re all themed around horror, paranormal horror in particular. I like anthologies that have one central theme or topic, and that was certainly the case here. I’m going to talk about all the stories in detail, and then give a general opinion at the end.

Ghost Story – This was one of my favorites. Like the title suggests, it revolves around a ghost. Two girls, Jessica and Michelle, go into a haunted home, where supposedly a man killed himself. While Jessica’s grandma warned them not to go in, they go in anyway, and there Jessica has a heartfelt, although slightly creepy encounter with the ghost. I loved this ghost story, although it was a tad bit predictable, it reminded me of what ghost stories used to be like before Hollywood entered the scene. A nice read.

The Awakening – This was more like a kind of vampire / Sleeping Beauty story. Sabrina dreams about being another girl, but the lines between dreams and reality shift, and the ending is pretty creepy. This was one of my favorites as well.

The End of The Line – Cassie has been trying to commit suicide for a while now. She’s depressed, and she can’t seem to snap out of it. She jumps in front of a train, but instead of dying, she ends up on board of “The Death Train”. It’s inhabitants are people who died on the train racks, and they tell her their stories. By the end of the night, Cassie has two choices: go back, and live the rest of her life, or stay dead. I loved the concept of this, but felt like the execution was a little rushed at times. This story had enough meat to be turned into a novella;

Milsa Loris – I wasn’t too fond of this one. It’s different all right. A city is captured by tragedy, death and despair, and an old witch tries to stop the inevitable from happening. It was a nice read, but I couldn’t grasp the characters.

The Old Vampire – I actually liked this one. Hailey has always been a fan of paranormal romance books, and she’s dreamt her entire life a vampire would come and grant her eternal life and beauty. Now she’d old and withered, and the vampire has finally come…But is it too late? I liked this take on vampire stories. Very original, and I liked Hailey’s voice.

The Knocking – This was another win for me. Alison is taking care of her old grandpa, who’s suffering from illness, when she starts hearing knocking sounds on his door. When she opens the door, there’s no one there. The knocking continues, growing in intensity…Who is coming for grandpa? I loved this story, it gave me goosebumps, and had a nice build up.

The Boy on the Beach – Not too fond of this one. I liked the beginning, but the story fell a little flat toward the end. Kate has been warned to stay away from him, but she’s drawn to him all the same, and well, things go haywire from there. I didn’t like Kate, she was too superficial for my liking.

Snowglobes – Another winner. I thought this was perhaps my absolute favorite. Calvin rents cabins to young couples, some of them trying to work on their relationships, others happy with each other. When another young couple arrives, Calvin believes he has to save their love, before it ends. This was an original, intriguing, delightfully creepy story.

Overall, this anthology had a decent collection of solid stories. Most of them are related to ghosts or supernatural powers, and one to vampires. I liked the variety, and that even though the stories vary you can still see the theme. The writing was decent, although here and there the pacing was a little off. Like “The End of the Line” for example. It was a great concept, but the build up before the suicide took too long, and afterward everything was rushed. This story could’ve easily been made into a novella. My favorites are Snowglobes and The Old Vampire, but really, I liked all of these stories. Milsa Loris would be last on my list.

If you’re looking for a quick, ghostly, creepy read, then The Awakening & Other Stories is a great choice.

Waiting on Wednesday (22)

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill from Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases bloggers are eagerley anticipating. These can be debut novels, sequels, eBooks,…as long as they aren’t released yet.

Click HERE to view all my ‘Waiting on Wednesday‘ posts.

I’m waiting for…

   

Does anyone else tihnk the cover for “If I Should Die” looks horrible? Like the person on the cover isn’t even a real person. Either way, I’m looking forward to reading the final installment of the Revenants series. After finishing “The Indigo Spell”, I can’t wait for “The Fiery Heart”. GO ADRIAN!

Book Review: Terra (Terrestrials #1) by Gretchen Powell

terra-final-ebookTitle: Terra (Terrestrials #1)

Author: Gretchen Powell

Genre: YA Dystopian

Age Group: Young Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Goodreads, Amazon

A broken and desolate Earth. A young girl struggling to survive. A lost boy with a powerful secret.

A discovery that will change everything.

In the distant wake of a plague that has decimated the Earth’s population, humanity is split in two: The rich and powerful live in skycities that float overhead, while those who remain on the ground have gathered in settlements strewn across a dying planet. Eighteen-year-old Terra Rhodon is a terrestrial–a denizen of the barren groundworld–who makes her living as a scav. Long abandoned by her father, her caregivers gone, Terra supports herself and her younger brother, Mica, by scouring the earth for discarded scraps and metals to recycle for profit. One day, while on a routine scavenging run, she discovers something that shocks her home settlement of Genesis X-16. When the value of her discovery is revealed, Terra’s world is turned upside down.

Terra suddenly finds herself asking questions no one will answer. Her search for the truth leads her to Adam–a beguiling skydweller unlike any she has ever met. But Adam has secrets and a quest of his own, and with him by her side, the world Terra thought she knew begins to unravel. Soon her discoveries unearth a terrifying conspiracy that has the potential to shatter everything–a revelation that will test the bonds of loyalty, family, and love.

I have to admit that I went in, not expecting too much from this book. The synopsis sounded all right, and I liked the cover, but well, dystopian novels kind of have this way of being either ‘above and beyond’ or ‘under and way under’. Terra was a pleasant surprise, offering engaging, sometimes even sheer amazing characters, a well-constructed dystopian world and a great plot.

After a plague, earth is split into two parts. The sky is inhabited by skywalkers, the rich people of the world, who live in floating cities more amazing than you could even imagine. On earth all that’s left are the terrestrials, and Terra is one of those. I really loved her name, because of the symbolism (Terra meaning Earth in Latin). She lives there with her brother Mica, and in true scavenger-like fashion she searches what’s left of the earth for anything they can use to survive. Then there’s the supreme goverment, who’s basically evil, and well, it was pretty much like the Hunger Games reinvented at that point. Thankfully that turned around rather quickly, as the author kept on pouring more and more original elements into the story.

I liked the idea of the floating cities and the terrestrials left on earth. I also liked Adam, and the mystery surrounding him. Especially with the plot twist toward the idea, which left me dumbfounded, and actually made me enjoy the book a lot more. It’s filled with all these little plot twists, some of course more surprising than others, but it’s clear the author put a great deal of work into this book.

Talking about the book itself, for an indie published book, the editing is stellar. I read a lot of indie and self-published books, and only about 5% of them reach the editing level I found here.

Back to the characters now. I liked Terra, because she showed initiative and ambition, but at times I felt like she needed a desperate wake up call. She was a well-developed character though, and I enjoyed reading about her and the world around her.

What impressed me most however was the setting. The author obviously has a lot of creativity, and her world-building is amazing. My only ‘bad’ point here would be that there’s a lot of info-dumping going on at the start, and you have to bite through that to get to the story. But once you get there, it’s a fast-paced roller coaster filled with action scenes, romance and suspense until the end.

If you’re a fan of dystopian novels, or young adult in general, Terra is a great choice. It’s a highly creative, well-written, enjoyable read.

Teaser Tuesdays (21)

Teaser-TuesdaysTeaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. In this meme, we grab our current read, open it to a random page and share two teaser sentences from somewhere on that page with our readers.

Click HERE to view all my ‘Teaser Tuesdays‘ posts.

Here is my teaser:

I thought about what Aunt Prue said to me. The Wheel of Fate…It crushes us all.
I looked my mom in the eye and noticed her face was streaked with tears, just like mine. “What is it, Mom?”
“Not it, my sweet boy.” She touched my cheek as she began to fade softly back into the warm darkness. “Who.”
~ p. 212 Beautiful Chaos (Caster Chronicles #3) by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Starter Day Party The Reluctant Goddess

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We’re hosting the starter day party for fantasy novel The Reluctant Goddess today. The Reluctant Goddess will be touring from March 26th to April 26th.

Tour Schedule

March 26th: Starter Day Party @ I Heart Reading

March 27th: Review, Excerpt and Giveaway @ Passionata Encounters

March 28th: Book excerpt @ Regina May Ross’ Blog

March 29th: Guest Post @ Marsha A. Moore

March 30th: Book Review and Interview @ Books, Books and more Books

March 31st: Book Excerpt @ Hollow Readers

April 1st: Author Interview @ The Single Librarian

April 2nd: Book Excerpt @ Robin Danner

April 3rd: Book Review @ Forever Book Lover

April 4th: Author Interview @ Sara in Bookland

April 5th: Book Excerpt @ Witchy Contessa

April 6th: Book Review @  I Heart Reading

April 7th: Book Review and Giveaway @ Engel Sigh

April 8th: Author Interview @ Cassidy Crimson’s Blog

April 9th: Book Excerpt @ Regina May Ross.net

April 10th: Book Review @ Bookaholic Ramblings

April 11th: Book Excerpt @ Flirting with Romance

April 12th: Author Interview @ Majanka’s Blog

April 13th: Book Excerpt @ The Book Daily

April 14th: Book Review @ Darlyn and Books

April 15th: Book Excerpt @ 365 Days of Reading

April 16th: Book Excerpt and Interview @ Beautiful But a Funny Girl

April 18th: Author Interview @ Andi’s Book Reviews

April 20th: Book Review, Excerpt, Interview and Giveaway @ Deal Sharing Aunt

April 22nd: Book Excerpt and Giveaway @ Nazish Reads

April 24th: Book Review @ I’m an Eclectic Reader

April 26th: Author Interview @ Books and Tales

About The Reluctant Goddess

ebook-template-trg3v3Title: The Reluctant Goddess

Author: A.F. Firebird

Genre: Fantasy

Ellena Ripley is a bookshop owner from a rural town in the south of England – or so she thinks. But lately, she has a growing sense that life is not as it seems. At night, she dreams of a serene man who appears to be trying to tell her something; In the day, she can’t shake a feeling of expectation. But of what?

Meanwhile Hector, servant of LIFE and the man from Ellena’s dreams, has a dilemma. How do you tell someone they are a goddess? His previous attempts have met with disaster so he must be cautious, particularly when his new trainee, Boudica, formerly Queen of the Iceni tries to help. The question is can they succeed before it is too late?

Author Bio

A.F. Firebird is the alter ego of a sociologist/psychologist turned web developer from the UK. While A.F. Firebird has worked in several fields her primary focus is the exploration of six virtues: appreciation, forgiveness, compassion, humility, understanding and valour. Her first novel, The Reluctant Goddess, numerous short stories and children’s books, all investigate aspects of these virtues.

Media kit and high resolution images can be found online:

http://www.posegroup.org/books/trg/media-kit/index.html

Where to buy:

paperback or kindle: http://www.posegroup.org/books/trg/buy/index.html#buy

paperback or kindle:

http://www.amazon.com

http://www.amazon.co.uk

Also available on itunes

Other ebook formats upon request here:

http://www.posegroup.org/books/trg/forms/contact.html

Book Review: If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

15793231Title: If You Find Me
Author: Emily Murdoch
Genre: YA Contemporary
Age Group: Young Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Goodreads, Amazon

There are some things you can’t leave behind…

A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey’s younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and two strangers arrive. Suddenly, the girls are taken from the woods and thrust into a bright and perplexing new world of high school, clothes and boys.

Now, Carey must face the truth of why her mother abducted her ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won’t let her go… a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn’t spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down.

If you want me to tell you one characteristic of If You Find Me, then it’s this. It’s EMOTIONAL. This book is so freaking sad I practically cried from start to end. And it’s beautiful too. Sad and beautiful, and sad again.

Carey grew up in a broken-down camper in the middle of the woods, with her Mom and younger sister Jenessa. It’s clear from the start Carey’s Mom was mentally ill, or at least some of the time, and the girls struggled to survive, sometimes left alone for weeks on end. Their Mom disappears again, and this time around, longer than ever before. Carey grows worried something bad might’ve happened to her Mom. When she begins to suspect her Mom might never return, two strangers arrive at the spot, and even though they’re friendly, Carey doesn’t trust them. They take them away from the only home they’ve ever known. They go to live with their Dad and his new family, and they have to begin from scratch. They’ve never been to school, and are behind on nearly all subjects. Then there’s all those people, fancy restaurants, and all those things Carey and Jenessa aren’t used to. And most of all, they have to deal with the past and what happened the night Jenessa stopped talking.

This book was haunting. Beautiful. Amazing. I have trouble describing it because it was so darn good. Then why only four stars? Because whereas the drama was complex and interesting, it kind of lost its touch halfway through, and then picked it up again toward the end. Also, at the beginning when Carey and Jenessa first meet their Dad, the pace is slow and the dialogue a bit repetitive. The flashbacks weren’t always clear either, and sometimes made me lose the connection with the story. I struggled to keep reading halfway through, but then the emotions of Carey and Jenessa’s journey sucked me back in. However, this lowered the rating from a five stars to a solid four stars.

The best part about the book was Jenessa and Carey’s relationship, which is beautiful. I also liked how their Dad tried to make them feel at home, and his new wife did everything she could for them as well. Not all stepmoms are like that, but they aren’t all wicked either. I liked to see a nice stepmom for a change, especially since Jenessa and Carey hadn’t had much luck with their own Mom. I also liked how the flashbacks explained what happened before they disappeared, and how they showed more about Carey’s past. While I liked Carey, and her journey for self-discovery as she adapted to this new world, I liked Jenessa even more. Everything about what she went through broke my heart. And even though so, she was still a happy, lovely child.

I liked the writing. Emily Murdoch has a natural-sounding but lyrical writing voice, which is an odd combination, but works wonders. The pace was decent most of the time although, like I mentioned, it dragged in the middle part. This book conjured all sorts of emotions within me, and I even cried at some point. That shows the book’s strength. It’s a debut novel, and there may be some small flaws, but it’s a strong, splendid, emotional read. I recommend this to everyone who wants to read a darker, rawer YA contemporary novel.

Starter Day Party The Awakening & Other Stories

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We’re hosting the starter day party today for short story collection The Awakening & Other Stories by Emma Meade.

Tour Schedule

March 25th: Starter Day Party @ I Heart Reading

March 26th: Book Excerpt @ Flirting with Romance

March 28th: Book Review @ I Heart Reading

March 29th: Book Excerpt @ Reviewing in Chaos

March 30th: Book Review @ I’m an Eclectic Reader

March 31st:  Author Interview @ Cassidy Crimson’s Blog

April 2nd: Book Review and Promo Post @ Unshelved Reviews

April 3rd: Book Excerpt @ Loup D’Argent

April 4th: Book Review @ Forever Book Lover

April 5th: Author Interview @ Majanka’s Blog

April 6th: Book Review @ The Single Librarian

April 7th: Book Review and Excerpt @ Reader Girls Blog

About The Awakening & Other Stories

Cover ArtTitle: The Awakening & Other Stories

Author: Emma Meade

Genre: Paranormal

The Awakening & Other Stories by Emma Meade

Put on the kettle, close the curtains and curl up by the fire. Dive into 8 short tales, each with a slice of the paranormal.

Ghost Story – Who is the shadow in the window of the abandoned house, and what or who is he waiting for?
The Awakening – It’s time for Sabrina to wake up and face the light.
End of the Line – Cassie wants to die. When midnight rolls around, she stands on the tracks waiting for the train to come.
Milsa Loris – The once magnificent kingdom of Milsa Loris comes alive one night each winter. The King’s witch is brewing up a little magic, sure to make the soup all the tastier.
The Old Vampire – Hailey spent her life dreaming of a dark prince falling in love with her. He never showed up, until now.
The Knocking – Alison’s grandfather has one eye on the next life. After all, he’s heard a lot of rapping at his door lately.
The Boy on the Beach – Kate’s grandmother warns her about the boy with the green eyes. Will she pay heed?
Snowglobes– It’s busy at Calvin’s Cabins this Christmas. Eddie and Maggie are a young couple in trouble. Not to fear, Calvin is always ready to lend a hand.

Author Bio

Author PicEmma Meade lives in rainy Ireland. She loves vampires, slayers, witches, ghosts, aliens & shadow men (or at least the youngest of the Shadow Men), and regular people who live extraordinary lives (think Slayerettes and you’re on the right track).

Books, DVDS & TV show boxsets take up lots of space in her home, and she collects all the Point Horror books she can get her hands on.

Writing supernatural stories and watching marathon re-runs of Buffy are some of her favourite ways of escaping reality.

Connect with Emma

Blog: Emma’s Ramblings on Supernatural Fiction emmameade.com

Website: emmameadebooks

Twitter

Goodreads

Facebook

Amazon

Buy Links

Amazon.com

Amazon.uk

Smashwords

Barnes & Noble

iTunes

Diesel

In My Mailbox (45) / Mailbox Monday (54) / Stacking The Shelves (10)

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The purpose of this meme is to share the books that came into our house last week with our readers. These can be ARCs, books we purchased ourselves, books requested for review by authors and publishers, eBooks, free reads we stumbled upon and audiobooks. The only thing that doesn’t count are library books.

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.

Click HERE to view all my ‘In My Mailbox’ posts.

In My Mailbox

   

Book Review: Succubus Rising by B.R. Kingsolver

cover600Title: Succubus Rising (The Telepathic Clans #3)
Author: B.R. Kingsolver
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Age Group: Adult (18+)
Rating: 3 stars
Purchase: Goodreads, Amazon

The Goddess has plans for Brenna and Rebecca, and the Goddess has a wicked sense of humor.

Rebecca Healy is a true wilder, growing up with no contact or knowledge of other telepaths. Discovered by a Clan member on the streets of San Francisco, she felt like she’d hit the jackpot. Finally, she knew what she was, or at least she thought she did.

When Brenna O’Donnell, long-lost heir of the O’Donnell Clan, and the strongest telepath in history, is returned to her family, she and Rebecca form a tight bond. Brenna has it all, looks, money, power, and men falling all over her.

Rebecca isn’t jealous, but it would be nice to find someone who would really love her and stick around in the morning. She’s intrigued by a handsome South American general, but of course, he has his sights set on Brenna. Carlos de Vargas wants more than love. His Clan has its back to the wall, and they hope for an alliance with O’Donnell. An alliance that would lead to war.

The story began in The Succubus Gift and continued in Succubus Unleashed. In Succubus Rising, questions are answered and new mysteries are revealed.

I’m not a fan of succubi. Every time I read a story based on succubi, I want to like it, but in the end, I never really do. It’s like, they’re just over the top. I’m not again some displays of sexuality, and I can live with a ménage thing, or even more than that, but succubi just never know when to quit. The reason why I started reading Succubus Rising was because a) I wanted to give them another chance and b) from the synopsis, the story seemed to have a great plot. At the end of the ride, I can safely conclude I’m still not the world’s biggest succubus fan, but Succubus Rising had enough plot and storyline to keep me entertained for the three-something hours it took me to read this book.

First of all, this is the third book in a series, and I should’ve started with book one and two, but things caught up with me, and well, I started with this one. It wasn’t that difficult to follow. Toughest parts were the vast array of characters. Some of them were probably recurring from the first books, but since I didn’t read them, I had no clue who they were. It wasn’t really an issue though, so if you want to read this one without reading the first two, it works as well.

The world B.R. Kingsolver has built around the characters is pretty impressive. The author displays a vast array of world-building skills and imagination. I enjoyed getting to know the world of the succubi, Protectors, telepaths, and their Goddess, and the gifts the Goddess bestows upon them. The novel also talks a bit about politics, and how the succubi run a law firm and lobbyist firm and deal with influencing politicians and such, and I thought this was really interesting materials; good stuff. It brought the imaginative, magical world in contact with our real day-to-day world, making it less further away and less difficult to imagine.

The downside? Main character Brenna. I hated her so much that if I had a bazooka, I’d probably shoot at her. And it’s not just Brenna. I disliked all of the succubi, simply because it’s all they are. Succubi. They seduce men (and women) like it’s a sport, without ever taking into account what happens to their victims when they’re under their succubus curse. They flaunt their sexuality in an almost gross way. And while it wasn’t as bad here as in some other books, it still made me cringe. But even with the succubus part aside, what really threw me about Brenna was her Mary Sue – personality. Brenna is just perfect. All guys want her, all girls dream to be her. Even if she screws up, like killing a politician by having sex with him, she gets off with a slap on the wrist. Everyone dones on her and loves her like she’s a special cookie with a flavor you only come across once in a lifetime. Color me unimpressed.

But then there’s Rebecca. I loved Rebecca. The only thing I disliked about her was how she couldn’t see Brenna wasn’t worth her time or friendship, but that aside she was perfect. Human. Or maybe not human, but she acted like an actual human being, a person with feelings and emotions, and most importantly, flaws. She wasn’t little Miss Perfect, and that made her a lot more interesting. I’m glad she got the screen time she got, but in my opinion, more about Rebecca and less about Brenna would’ve been an excellent option.

The writing is okay. The pacing is pretty solid, although it dragged a little at the start. The secondary characters didn’t really get a lot of personality traits, except maybe Carlos. I didn’t really mind though, there were so many different secondary characters I had trouble keeping track of them as is.

All in all, Succubus Rising was an okay read. For someone who dislikes succubi, I didn’t mind it that much, but it didn’t make me change my opinion about the female sex-demons either. I loved the world building and everything related to Rebecca, everything related to Brenna made me cringe. If you’re a fan of succubi and books related to them, give this book a shot; it’s one of the better ones out there.