Wednesday, December 26, 2012

In a Fix by Linda Grimes

Synopsis from
The start of an original new urban fantasy series starring human chameleon Ciel Halligan

Snagging a marriage proposal for her client while on an all-expenses-paid vacation should be a simple job for Ciel Halligan, aura adaptor extraordinaire. A kind of human chameleon, she’s able to take on her clients’ appearances and slip seamlessly into their lives, solving any sticky problems they don’t want to deal with themselves. No fuss, no muss. Big paycheck.

This particular assignment is pretty enjoyable... that is, until Ciel’s island resort bungalow is blown to smithereens and her client’s about-to-be-fiancĂ© is snatched by modern-day Vikings. For some reason, Ciel begins to suspect that getting the ring is going to be a tad more difficult than originally anticipated.

Going from romance to rescue requires some serious gear-shifting, as well as a little backup. Her best friend, Billy, and Mark, the CIA agent she’s been crushing on for years—both skilled adaptors—step in to help, but their priority is, annoyingly, keeping her safe. Before long, Ciel is dedicating more energy to escaping their watchful eyes than she is to saving her client’s intended.

Suddenly, facing down a horde of Vikings feels like the least of her problems.

My Review

Ciel Halligan is an aura adaptor, which basically means that she can change her appearance to that of any other person as long as she has had physical contact with them and has absorbed some of their energy. She has her own business standing in awkward situations for her clients so they don't have to deal with their own problems. Her current client wants her to get a marriage proposal from her boyfriend, but what starts off as a fairly straight forward job ends up being an absolute nightmare of one instead.

Ciel's best friend Billy and her long-time crush Mark as also adaptors and are also involved in her small job, which through Mark's job in the CIA turns out to be an international problem involving kidnapping, drug dealing and planned murder.

Although I enjoyed the light banter between Ciel, Mark and Billy, I did think she was a rather immature character. She played her role of the babied little sister very well and I half expected her to pout her bottom lip out all the time in a strop. She came across as a typical spoilt little rich brat and I got really irritated with her a lot of time. She was constantly told what to do to keep her safe by Mark, who was the leader on this mission, but she defied him at every turn and ended up being caught by the bad guys over and over again. When was she going to wake up and realise that she was making life difficult for everyone?! Although she did come in very handy towards the end, so she did redeem herself a bit!

I really liked the idea of the adaptors and would like to read another book in this series about a different character or Ciel again if she matures a bit more!

I would like to thank the author and publishers for allowing me to receive and review an ARC copy of this book through NetGalley.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Yamada Monogatari: Demon Hunter by Richard Parks

Synopsis from
In an ancient Japan where the incursions of gods, ghosts, and demons into the living world is an everyday event, an impoverished nobleman named Yamada no Goji makes his living as a demon hunter for hire.

With the occasional assistance of the reprobate exorcist Kenji, whatever the difficulty — ogres, demons, fox-spirits — for a price Yamada will do what needs to be done, even and especially if the solution to the problem isn’t as simple as the edge of a sword.

Yet, no matter how many monsters he has to face, or how powerful and terrible they may be, the demons Yamada fears the most are his own!

My Review
This was my first ever venture in reading anything about Ancient Japan and some of their mythology and I quite enjoyed it! Yamada no Goji is a demon hunter, but not the demons of modern day urban fantasy books, but ancient Japanese demons who can shapeshift into various forms, some of whom are dangerous and some can be quite helpful, for a price! Not knowing anything about this period of history I wasn't sure what to expect, but the author has obviously done his research and everything was explained fully and was well written too.

This book consisted of several short stories all revolving around our hero, who, with frequent help from his priest friend Kenji, aids those in need to solve supernatural mysteries. Yamada is well known for his discretions and his love of sake and whilst not a rich man, certainly knows his demons and ghosts! Each short story follows on from the previous and they all flow very well. I liked Yamada as a character - he was very realistic and likeable. Kenji, his almost side-kick was amusing at times too.

The only problem I had with this book was the female characters. There were no major female characters, which wasn't a problem, but those that did appear were not the strong characters I usually like to read about; they tended to be quite devious instead. I guess that is just a sign of the times in which this book was written in though.

I would like to thank the author and publishers for providing me with a copy of this book through NetGalley.