Tuesday, 5 November 2013

AOTW #3: AJ Church(Nov 3rd-9th)

Welcome to Author of the Week! Every week on my book group, an author member is chosen to be Author of the Week and will be featured here, tweeted on Twitter, shared on Google Plus and Pinterest and generally treated like royalty! Group members are asked to do features and talk about our AOTW to help each one to promote his/her work to the book community. 

This week: AJ Church!

As a Floridian since the age of 12, I enjoy perpetuating the myth that we're all crazy down here. I love snarky, smart-mouthed heroes, twisted humor, and watching the underdog beat the snot out of his tormentors. I'm told I do my best writing when I'm on a rant, and since I seem to be perpetually in that state, there's no way I'm not the next (female) Stephen King. Unfortunately, the universe doesn't seem to be aware of that yet. But then, what does the universe know?

Where can I find AJ?







My name is Laec Matthews. An orphan dumped on the steps of a small church and raised by its hell-and-brimstone minister and his wife. Grew up a good kid; polite. Honest. Trustworthy. A little quiet.
And then I found out why.
Turns out I’m something that’s not supposed to exist. A wolf in sheep’s clothing. Abomination, in my father’s dictionary.
Believe it or not, there are those who insist I was actually brought into this world for a purpose. Guess what I think of that idea?
I am what I am. As far as I’m concerned, that sucks about as much for me as it does for you. Too bad. Because I’m tired of hiding in the shadows. I want answers, and I’m about to bust out of my cage to get them.

Where can I buy this book?




My Review:
*I received a free copy of this book from the author through Smashwords in exchange for an honest review*

Laec was an orphan raised by a minister. Laec discovered that he was part demon and has to fight to keep that side of himself secret and under control. But now the forces of good and evil both want to use him to find a young witch about to come into her powers and the demon within might be all that keeps him alive.

I liked the concept of the story with the guy who wants to be normal having to keep his true nature secret even from his adoptive brother, and who must keep his inner beast caged for the safety of everyone. I liked the personality of his beast 'Iggy'. He was the most interesting of the characters for me and the constant battle for control between him and Laec allowed decent character development. The variety of monsters and creatures that both sides of Laec have to deal with are also fun and the action scenes are well thought out and put together. There is a decent flow to the events in the story as well. I didn't always fully connect with Laec though as he and the other characters were pretty dark. Iggy was much more fun and it was good when he was in charge of events. The book certainly improved as more action took place and the last third was by far the best.

I do have some negatives which keep this book as a 3 star. I found it over descriptive with big info dumps about things that don't really add to the story. For example, not only is there a description of every building Laec passes in every part of town, we are also told what these buildings used to be, which streets are safe and dangerous, which are seedy or not...then on the next page Laec gets to his destination and these places are never mentioned again. I felt that too much time was wasted on things that were irrelevant to the story. I get that the author was world-building but it was just too much information that I didn't need. There was also a lot of history about angels and demons battles, Laec's childhood and city history that could also have been shaved down to just the essential stuff which was Laec and his allies battling evil.

I was not a fan of the very frequent bad language in the book either. I'm far from prudish about book content as I read lots of gory horror books with lots of violence, but Laec just seemed to swear for the sake of it and I just found it a bit annoying after a while. I feel that this may have been an attempt by the author to add to his tough guy image but I didn't think that it was needed, personally. I prefer when swearing is used for effect and not as the norm.

This is a dark urban fantasy book with violence, magic and demons and it should appeal to most readers of the urban fantasy/dark fantasy genre. If you like a book with lots of gritty but grim characters and descriptive world-building then you should enjoy it.

star rating photo: Three Star Rating 3stars.png

You have to be tough to survive the streets of Lower Erebus, something Red knows all too well. Orphaned at the age of nine, she learned early on how to take care of herself. Now a thief by trade, she specializes in locating and retrieving unusual artifacts for the supernatural community.

In her line of work, she thought she had seen just about everything man or monster could throw at her. However, when she witnesses the drive-by shooting of an innocent man, Red finds herself drawn into a battle between beings far more powerful than anything she has previously encountered, and a revelation about her own origins that could change her life forever.

Where can I buy this book?

My Review:
*I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Red is a thief who steals to order and doesn't ask questions but when she intervenes in a drive by shooting she finds herself knee deep in evil wizards, mafia voodoo people, half fey partners and giggling hobgoblins. She must unlock the secrets of her past to defeat the evil that is trying to destroy her now.

This is book 2 in the series and many things have changed. We are following a new group of characters who I liked much better than Laec and co from book one. Red is tough and feisty, with a knack for screwing up and getting into trouble and I liked her for the most part. It was the supporting cast in this book that made it better-Bob and Charlemyn were cute and funny, Spriggan was amusing and I'd have loved to see more of him, plus Red's allies were all interesting and more importantly, likeable. The big difference between books one and two in the series is that I cared about what happened to all of the characters this time. Again I did find the book a bit slow to get started, and a bit too descriptive in a few places again but not on the scale of book one, which I was pleased about. It made it much easier to get into the story and stay connected with it. I feel that the author has tightened up the story in this second visit to the city and it has come forward as a series since the start of book one. There was more humour in this book especially with Bob and Charlemyn and I felt that it really added something to the story. The action was frequent and well written and the story moved along at a good pace.

My big down side in this book is something that I didn't like in book one-the frequent swearing from the main character. I don't mind swearing when it adds to the story or is used for effect but not in this frequency. Red doesn't just swear when she is interacting with people, she is swearing her head off when she is just telling the story and sharing thoughts in her head. It really bugs me and did spoil the book a bit for me. Jazz annoyed the hell out of me as well, but that is just a personal little niggle and doesn't affect the book rating. The other small niggle is that on a couple of occasions, whole scenes were repeated ie the dream sequence and the memory of the cult sacrifice scene. This didn't really need to be aired twice for me as I got it first time round. There was also a scene repeat near the start describing Red's situation but this may have been an editing mistake so that isn't a big deal.

Overall this was an action packed urban fantasy book with dark bits and funny bits, interesting and entertaining characters, good plot and adds a bit of mythology and fantasy into the mix as well. This will appeal to people who enjoy paranormal, dark fantasy, fantasy, mythology and urban fantasy. This can be read as a stand alone book as the cast and plot are all new from book one. If the series were to continue with the characters in this book, I'd probably keep reading it.
star rating photo: 35 star rating 3-5-stars.jpg

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