Monday, September 30, 2013

REVIEW: Pandaemonium by Ben Macallan

Pandaemonium Pandaemonium by Ben Macallan
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I didn’t care for book 1, but at least it was interesting enough. Book 2, Pandaemonium, was downright horrible. The book was truly its namesake, full of wild confusion.

The book started out fine, picking up immediately where book 1 ended. This time around, however, the story was told from Desi’s viewpoint instead of Jordan’s. I liked Desi and thought she was a good kickass heroine in book 1, but I came to like Jordan a lot at the end of book 1 so I was disappointed that book 2 didn’t continue from his viewpoint. But hey, it was Desi. Kickass heroine. I expected my disappointment to quickly fade. I could not have been more wrong. Things went downhill — fast.

Desi was on the run because bad guys were after her. It was the same thing ALL OVER AGAIN from book 1 except book 2 had her teaming up with her ex-boyfriend Jacey instead of Jordan. I quickly tired of the story. I thought Jordan’s narration in book 1 was long-winded, but Desi’s narration in book 2 was worse. Way WORSE. Her narration was a stream of consciousness, which I abhor. It didn’t take but a New York minute for Desi to turn from one of my favorite characters of the series to one of my least favorite.

Although things were happening, the plot progressed very little. Very little made sense, either. Characters just seemed to do stuff for no rhyme or reason. Many times I would be thinking, “What the fuck are these characters trying to accomplish?” Around a quarter of the book, I skimmed because I couldn’t endure the shitty reading any longer. I couldn’t believe how far in the book it took for Desi to learn who were the bad guys that were after her. I couldn’t believe how much time Desi spent thinking about her romantic drama crap with Jacey and Jordan towards the end when they were about to confront the bad guys. Woman, have some priorities!

Only at the end did I finally stop skimming, and what happened there confirmed my decision to skim as a smart one. Not much was resolved, especially not the love triangle. Though the bad guys were finally dealt with, it was lackluster and not worth reading the entire book to get to there. It was definitely not worth reading the entire series either. Desi’s character growth, the kind that should have started in the beginning of book 2 if not all the way back in the middle of book 1, finally started in the last chapter... of book 2, the end of the series. What a PISSER, and here I thought book 1’s ending was a pisser. I didn’t realize the book 2 was trying to outdo itself in angering me.


I rate Pandaemonium 1-star for I didn’t like it. At All. Stories should be as long as needed, but this one had absolutely no reason being dragged out as a duology. This one was one of those cases where the editor or the publisher should have insisted the story to be a standalone and have the book 1 and 2 just be ONE book.

I do not recommend this series. It’s a waste of time.

Goodreads | Amazon

Monday, September 16, 2013

REVIEW: Desdaemona by Ben Macallan

Desdaemona Desdaemona by Ben Macallan
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book could have been a lot better. I had more excitement reading the book description than I did reading the book itself. Oh, there were exciting parts in the book but they were scarce. Most of the book was about the characters’ emo issues. *rolls eyes* It was not what I signed up for.

+ the characters

Jordan was the main character and the narrator. I didn’t mind how he deliberately kept the reader in the dark about his identity... at first. It was not until the middle of the book that I came to realize there was absolutely NO reason for him to do so. Most of the characters knew who he was from the start. When he finally told the reader who he was, it came as a passing matter of fact, not as a plot twist or like anything that was supposed to astound the reader. My patience with Jordan quickly wore thin, and I was already struggling with his long-winded narration. On the bright side, I was glad he actually did things beside just running away and hiding behind Desdaemona and used his brain.

Desdaemona, I liked. I found consolation in the familiarity of her attitude as a kickass heroine. I loved how she was utterly confident in her abilities to kick ass and protect Jordan. She cautiously approached danger and fought enemies strategically. What happened at the climax, I didn’t fault Desi for becoming the person she wanted to be and why she what she did.

+ the world building

The world building was murky as shit. It was a chore to even learn surface details. Surface. For example, readers learn a small group of powerful families ruled over the hidden magical world. What readers do not learn are who all of them were, what they ruled over, why they ruled over what they ruled, and so forth. Learning a few of their names and that that their names were not to be spoken lightly should not (seemingly at least) constitute HALF of the information given about these families.

Underdeveloped world building is rarely ever an issue for me because my imagination can fill in the gaps, but these weren’t gaps. They were fucking canyons. The world building was very disjointed.

+ the ending

The ending was a PISSER. The bad guy our characters fought wasn’t EVEN the main bad guy, and formidable as that bad guy was, the battle should have been a simple case of numbers. The book spent an inordinate amount of time building how each of those characters were powerful, but when it came to the final battle those characterizations were thrown to the wind.

To add insult to injury, the book had the audacity to end abruptly with nothing resolved and a new issue at the last minute. The “The End” mocked the reader. It FUCKING mocked me. If I didn’t have book 2 on hand and value my stuff, I would have spent days cursing the book out and smashing things.

In Conclusion

I rate Desdaemona 2-stars for it was okay. I was never so bored that I felt compelled to skim (the pacing was surprisingly brisk), but I was annoyed with the narration and angered by the ending. The 2-stars is conditional on the fact that I had book 2 on hand to read next.

After reading book 2 and thus finishing the series, I can firmly say I do not recommend the series whatsoever. Avoid.

Goodreads | Amazon

Thursday, September 12, 2013

REVIEW: The Eldritch Conspiracy by Cat Adams

The Eldritch Conspiracy (Blood Singer, #5)The Eldritch Conspiracy by Cat Adams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reading book 5, it’s easy to forget things used to be really angsty in the beginning of the Blood Singer series, and I was more than happy to forget it. Celia rocked my world!

+ the heroine

The heroine still battled the same personal issues from the beginning of the series, such as the issue of being a vampire and, on top of it, a Siren. However, she didn’t let the issues get in the way of her life as she often used to. I really liked how far Celia has come in accepting herself. It was about damn time. Better late than never!

I was amazed by how much she could shine when she got a tight grip on her issues. Celia was focused, prepared, and vigilant. She tempered her bleeding heart with pragmatism; there was no stupidly rushing into danger trying to save people when she’s likely to get killed along with the victims let alone saving anyone. She heeded advice and future visions. Yes! She cooperated and adapted. Double yes! Holy shit! Praise to Cthulhu when an Urban Fantasy protagonist actually listens and makes good choices because that shit does not happen often in Urban Fantasies as much it should. The short version of my accolade: Celia was a badass! WOOT!

The only thing I didn’t like about Celia was how she continued to roll in guilt trip shit, and unlike the guilt trips in previous books this one was definitely needless. For some stupid contrived reason, towards the end of the book readers suddenly learn that Celia has stabs of conscience for using her Siren power to psychically attack bad guys at the end of book 2 in self-defense and to save the world. The fuck? It was in self-defense AND to save the world against bad guys. They were PSYCHOPATHS for fuck’s sake! Why was this brought up all the way from book fucking 2? I was peeved by Celia’s double standard with supernatural attacks and human weapon attacks as if shooting a bad guy to death with a gun is better than psychically attacking a bad guy to indefinite coma. No, Celia. NO. Thankfully, the guilt trip shit was limited to a few pages and didn’t have any impact on the plot. Obviously, I shouldn’t reasonably expect Celia to quit guilt tripping cold turkey.

+ the romance

The other thing I didn’t like, the thing most, if not all, reviewers on Goodreads didn’t like, was the romance. Book 4 left Celia and Creede in a really good place, but in book 5 readers quickly learn they broke up between book 4 and 5 and the romance pendulum swung back to Bruno. Say what? On one hand, I recognize romance are messy and never linear. On the other hand, it’s fiction, it’s book 5, and there’s creative liberty on the table. Take it! How long must the love triangle be dragged out? At this point, I don’t really care who Celia ends up with. Creede, Bruno, or some other random dude. I just want the love triangle to go away. It’s tiresome. Stop it.

On the bright side, the romance was a minor plot line so there was little stupid drama. Unfortunately, the catch was that there was no romantic resolution to be had either. The love triangle crap continues!

+ other things to note

I didn’t care much for the happy ending as I would have liked. I found it abrupt and in great need of an epilogue.

The title is a bad one because the Eldritch thing was not relevant and there was no conspiracy to it. In fact, there was hardly any conspiracy to be had, let alone an Eldritch one. Evil schemes, yes. Conspiracies, no.

The issues with the ending and title are trivial but the thing is these were the same trivial issues I had with book 4... Hmm. I hope these issues will be fixed in book 6.

In Conclusion

I rate The Eldritch Conspiracy 4-stars for I really liked it. I wasn’t troubled by the romance crap as other readers were so it had little effect on my rating, which is why the rating is as high as it is.

Unfortunately, as much I liked this book, I get the feeling it’s a fluke and that the next book will put the series back to its usual angsty, stupid self. Here’s hoping not.

Goodreads | Amazon

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

REVIEW: Spook Squad by Jordan Castillo Price

Spook Squad (PsyCop, #7) Spook Squad by Jordan Castillo Price
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

CAUTION: spoilers, rant

Man, what a disappointment. I pray to Cthulhu this is not the last book of the Psycop series because it would be a GIANT disappointment. GIANT. “Throwing the book across the room” giant. It took me a few books into the series before I finally liked one enough where I could firmly rate it 3-stars without waffling between 2-stars and 3-stars and get a streak of solid good books running. That fun ride sure ended quickly because book 7 put me back to waffling with the rating. Correction: there wasn’t even waffling so it was worse. Did I mention Spook Squad is book 7? I don’t expect every book of the series to hit the mark, but once you hit book 3 of a long series, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect a minimum of... Well, I don’t know what the right word to use here so I’m going to say “quality” ill-fitted as it is. Maybe “entertainment”? You get the idea.

Things I Didn’t Like

The biggest problem I had with book 7 was the pacing. It was slow as a snail. The speed did not pick up till the last third of the book, and even then, yikes. There was just no hiding the problem that the plot MEANDERED. I knew Victor paying his debt to FPMP with an exorcism wasn’t going to be a simple task, obviously. However, the way the plot tried to make the matter a complicated task was strained and convoluted. I love head games but the head games between Dreyfuss and Vic in book 7 were inane and unbelievably dull.

Now, I wouldn’t have minded the plot much if there were “good” interactions between Victor and Jacob. By good, I mean scenes with relationship development, emotional connections, and maybe a few physical connections to satisfy my smut cravings. Intimacy, essentially. There was barely any intimacy in the book. The mm-romance aspect was halfway to nonexistent much, much to my dismay. There was one romance scene, a pretty lengthy sex scene to boot (woot!), but it was token.

My goodness, Vic and Jacob didn’t even have the talk about why Jacob joined the FPMP. Considering book 6 ended on that plot twist, I would have thought book 7 would begin with the talk. Instead, what I read was Jacob having the talk with Carolyn, his ex-police partner. She appeared in the beginning and disappeared after a couple chapters, never to be seen again for the rest of the book. What the hell? There was no resolution with Carolyn whatsoever and it bugged me.

What bugged me Ten Times More was Vic. Dude fucking regressed a handful steps back to his junkie ways, trying to score pills off of Dreyfuss. Uh, I thought we were fucking past that. Apparently, not. *facedesk* I know drug addiction is a life-long battle, but ugh. This was just... I can’t... Stupid! It’s book fucking 7. S-E-V-E-N. I wanted to smack Vic on the back of his head for not taking Dreyfuss up on his offer to recieve alternative medicine that would come with no string and no cost to Victor except only his time and patience. Aaack. Damn you, Victor. I know, I know. Flawed protagonist and all that shit. But this was some maddening shit.


Lisa and Dreyfuss dating, WHAT THE FUCK? Then at the end they got engaged? What?!!! Contrived doesn’t even begin to describe this shit. What the hell was Lisa thinking? Oh right, she wasn’t thinking. Woman was camping out in Vic and Jacob’s living room in a fucking tent like some hobo, I kid you not. Suffice to say, I was very disappointed in Victor and Jacob for not doing enough by Lisa. Not to say they didn’t try to help Lisa (they did), but they could have done way more in my opinion. Woman needed a fucking intervention!

Runner up on the list of issues I had with Vic, second place to his junkie ways, was his gross insensitivity towards Richie. I was astounded and irritated how Victor did not know Richie had a developmental disability till now in book 7. How oblivious can he be? And this a fucking detective character and a character who have known Richie since teenage-hood back in their Camp Hell years, my goodness. All this time Vic just thought Richie had a horrible odd personality? *facedesk* Casual ableism: NO.

Speaking about Richie, what was up with him quitting FPMP at the end of the book? The portrayal of FPMP led me to believe no one could actually quit, especially psychics because the agency needs all the psychics they could get, especially those like Richie who have some exorcist capabilities even if it’s mostly just BS. Beside, how would Richie support himself? Because it was not as if he could do anything else. Why am I the only one who seem to give an actual fuck about Richie? FFS.

To replace Richie, Vic joined the FPMP after so much hate for the agency. *raise hands* I give up.

Things I Did Like

I did like how there was little of Crash in book 7. I loathe the character.

I liked Dreyfuss’s character development. Nice to see dude wasn’t all that bad and that the FPMP wasn’t this evil secret government agency who disappeared people as I was half-led to believe. Not say they don’t do such things, but it’s never a matter of black and white.

In Conclusion

I rate Spook Squad 2-stars for it was okay. Book 7 is undoubtedly one of the worst books in the PsyCop series. Despite the rantiness of my review, I was mostly bored with the book, believe it or not. Each issue I had with the book by itself wasn’t bad enough to make me mad. At the very most, I was irritated. However, when put together to write my review, that’s when I got mad.

The short version of it: book 7 was boring and bullshitty.

*Buddy-read with Dlee.

Goodreads | Amazon