Friday, July 19, 2013

Cathy Reviews: Written in Red + London Falling

I'm pleased today to welcome my wonderful mother in law Cathy back to the blog to share with us her thoughts on a couple books she was nice enough to take off my plate and read in my stead. As always, a huge thank you to her for sharing in this blogging experience with me!

WRITTEN IN RED
The Others #1
Anne Bishop
Adult Urban Fantasy
433 pages
NAL
Available now
Source: Finished copy from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut—a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg’s Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard—a business district operated by the Others.

Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she’s keeping a secret, and second, she doesn’t smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she’s wanted by the government, he’ll have to decide if she’s worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.


CATHY'S THOUGHTS
In Written In Red, Ms. Bishop gives us an Earth we could imagine really existing. We first see all the characters in human form, but sense something very different about them. A different energy, animalistic in its undercurrents. We find out that in this world the Others, who have most of the controlling power, are something more. They are shapeshifters, vampires, and elementals, all coexisting with humans though on very shaky terms. These characters are so cleverly written. Ms. Bishop does a wonderful job maintaining the threatening nature of the Others while adding a humorous edge to their animalistic forms. For instance, Jenni, a member of the Crow clan, has a hard time putting change in the bookstore cash register because it's just so shiny.

In this first installment, Meg appears in the part of town designated to the Others even though she's human. We can tell she has a secret and that she's terrified, but yet she's willing to venture into a part of town that's dangerous to her. I won't go into depth on this because I don't want to spoil anything and Ms. Bishop thoroughly entangles us in a spiderweb of mystery. Meg is a very endearing character, not only do the Others come to protect her and take her under their care, but some of the human detectives feel the need to watch out for her as well. She's like the eye of a storm, existing in the middle while everything else spins around her.
 

This book has great story and character development. Even though this is urban fantasy, the characters are so well developed that you have a connection to them that draws you into the story. The line between good and evil is blurred, just like in real life. And there are lots of twists.
 

This book truly has something for everyone. There is mystery, tension between the Others and the humans, lots of paranormal cleverness and maybe a budding romance. I really enjoyed this book and the best part is this is the first book in a series, so I get more of these characters to whom I've become so attached.

Rating: 4.5/5


LONDON FALLING
Paul Cornell
Adult Urban Fantasy/Mystery
402 pages
Tor
Available now
Source: Finished copy from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Amazon)
Police officers Quill, Costain, Sefton, and Ross know the worst of London—or they think they do. While investigating a mobster's mysterious death, they come into contact with a strange artifact and accidentally develop the Sight. Suddenly they can see the true evil haunting London’s streets.

Armed with police instincts and procedures, the four officers take on the otherworldly creatures secretly prowling London. Football lore and the tragic history of a Tudor queen become entwined in their pursuit of an age-old witch with a penchant for child sacrifice. But when London’s monsters become aware of their meddling, the officers must decide what they are willing to sacrifice to clean up their city.

CATHY'S THOUGHTS
London Falling is an urban fantasy that reminded me very much of a Stephen King novel. Everyone in this book is going about their daily lives while only a very select few can see the true dangers that surround them. This story takes place in London and teams up four detectives to solve the mysterious deaths of soccer players. At least that's what the general public thinks. What is really happening involves black magic and witches. There are touches of humor in the book – they name their case Operation Toto, referencing the Wizard of Oz since they are chasing a witch – but for the most part, this is a dark story with some gruesome murders.

Mr. Cornell does a very good job in developing his detectives' characters, and throughout the book their layers are slowly peeled away, allowing us to become even more invested and attached to them. They start out as a mismatched group we think has nothing in common, and we simply can't figure out why they were chosen to see this mystical underworld. As they investigate these murders and stop questioning their "powers" however, it truly becomes a detective novel and we anxiously wait to see how it will be solved. We also learn why these four have been chosen to become a unit.
 

At the start of the book, I was a little confused because it seemed to start in the middle of the action without much of a lead-in. And since it's set in London, some of the terms were unfamiliar. Now, if I was the type of reader who immediately turns to the back of the book (you know who you are Jenny!), I would have seen the glossary there and that would've been helpful. I'm glad that I kept reading though because Mr. Cornell has written a very good detective story with fantastical elements.
 

The plot line is resolved for the most part in this book, but it does leave us with some questions which I'm hoping means Mr. Cornell is hard at work writing book two. I would like to see more of our English detectives and whatever creepy things live in London again.

Rating: 4/5


 These books were sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my (or in this case, Cathy's) honest opinion.

44 comments:

  1. Oh Cathy!!! "Written in Red" sounds absolutely wonderful! I saw this book around but didn't really care enough to read the blurb or a review! And now, I am absolutely curious about what is going to happen!

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    1. I really enjoyed it and thought the author did a wonderful job with the characters. Well worth the read. Hope you are doing well, miss you :}

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  2. I have heard Written in Red is incredible and just got it on audio yesterday. I'm really excited to hear the story! The second book I haven't heard much about but it sounds great! I'm glad you found two good ones Cathy!

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    1. Enjoy the audio version. Also if you like detective stories, with paranormal, you would like that book as well.

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  3. After reading your review for Written in Red, I really want to read it now and can't wait for it!
    I haven't heard of the second one but I am so glad you liked it, it sounds very interesting!!

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    1. I wouldn't have picked up these books, if Jenny had not passed them to me and I am so glad she did!!

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  4. I want want the Bishop book, but I have book buy banned myself :/

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    1. I could never ban book buying---- I would find a "reason" to treat myself, I hope you find this book somehow.

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  5. Written in Red sounds awesome! The cover definitely isn't something that would catch my eye, but I love how the story pulled you in, Cathy, and kept you on the edge of your seat. These otherworlders make me intrigued! I also like the fact that it had blurred lines between good and evil--just as you said, it's like that in real life. Haha, I love you you pointed out that Jenny does this last page read. I know she likes to spoil things for herself to know what to expect when she goes into a story. I used to be the same, but now not anymore. I think the last one would suit perfectly for my mom. She loves her crime mysteries. Lovely reviews, Cathy!

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    1. Ms. Bishop did a fabulous job in creating the animal characters pulling no punches on their dark nature but the humorous touches were a pleasant surprise.

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  6. CATHY!!! HI!!! Miss your face! I haven't heard of either of these books, but the worlds sound phenomenal in both. Plus, the fact that the character development is solid really has me intrigued on both titles. Colour me sold. Lovely reviews, Cathy! :)

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    1. Melissa, sending a hug your way. I don't think you will be sorry reading either of these books. Thanks for the support. Jenny is very sweet to let me do this!!

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  7. Oh, Cathy! Wasn't Written in Red FANTASTIC?!? I just reread it -- and I want to do that again!! London Falling sounds really good, too.

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    1. Mary, how are you? I am so glad Jenny passed this book along. Glad you enjoyed it as well.

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  8. CATHY!!!!! *HUGS*

    Love your reviews! I'm very curious about Written in Red now - seems like my kind of book! :)

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    1. Hugs right back at you!! I don't think you would be disappointed. I will look for the next one when it comes out.

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  9. I can't wait to read Written in Red and I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I'll be moving it up my TBR for sure - not sure why it still sits unread on my shelf!

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    1. Definitely don't judge this book by the cover. Well worth the read.

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  10. Written in Red was and is my fave book this year. This book was amazing , and thanks so much for your review :)

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    1. Glad to hear I was on the same wave length with this book and review. Glad you enjoyed it.

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  11. These sound like some great book! Fun and adventurous. Thanks for sharing your great review.

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    1. Both books you would want to read and hopefully follow when subsequent books are published

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  12. I have heard so many good things about Written In Red and this has definitely solidified the fact that I need this book in my life. Thanks for the review, Cathy!

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    1. I don't think you will be disappointed. Glad Jenny passed it to me.

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  13. I want to read both of these, especially Written in Red since Cecelia likes it.

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    1. I hope you get a chance to read them both.

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  14. Oh these both sound fab! I've been wanting to read Written in Red for a while and so need to get it off my wishlist and onto my tbr. You have convinced me! Oh and that second one sounds so good too. I love a good mystery and so glad to know there is a glossary at the end. I usually don't turn to it unless the wording makes me totally lost... so I'm glad I can solve that bit of the puzzle. :)

    Brilly Reviews Cathy!

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    1. So glad you liked the reviews and these are not books I would have picked up if not for Jenny but I am glad that I did!

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  15. I've been really curious about picking up Bishop's book. I've read several reviews that loved the book and a few who thought it was just okay. You have me reconsidering picking up the book.

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    1. I am glad I peaked your curiosity!!!

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  16. Wonderful reviews Cathy, and you feed me just enough information to have me wanting both of these. I must admit they are both new to me, but urban fantasy is a genre that I very much enjoy and both sound equally compelling. Have you read Cecy Robson's Weird Girls series..I think you might enjoy it. Adding these to my list:)

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    1. Thanks and I am glad you liked the reviews. I have not read that series but I will look for it. Thanks for the recommendation.

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  17. I loved Written in Red (I hope you get a chance to read it Jenny, I think you would like it)

    Great reviews!

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    1. Glad you liked the reviews and I will make sure this book gets put on Jenny's stack!

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  18. Oh Jenny it seems that in your family all people write great reviews. I have heard of both of these and I can't wait to read Written in Red. Great reviews :)

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  19. Written in Red looks pretty awesome. And Cathy, you write reviews just as amazing as Jenny does - in depth and intriguing. I LOVE getting invested in characters as a story progresses, so I'm pretty sure I'll enjoy LONDON FALLING! Great reviews :)

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  20. Welcome back, Cathy! Oh, Jenny, you lucky girl. I wish my mother in law could be this cool.
    Written in Red is definitely one of my favorite reads this year. Like Cathy pointed out, I loved that all the characters existed in a gray area, i.e. that the lines between good and evil were sort of blurred, or even entirely absent. It was a great, challenging read. I can't wait for the sequel.
    Thanks for sharing, girls!

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  21. I've heard such great things about Written in Red! I initially brushed it off when I first came across it, but I'm forcing myself to reconsider now. I'm really glad to see you enjoyed it, Cathy. London's Falling sounds fantastic too. I completely adore the cover for that book. Thanks for sharing! :)

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  22. Written i Red sounds like my type of read- shapeshifters, vampires and other creatures. LOVE! Lately I'm in a paranormal mood, so this is something I'll surely pick up soon. Great review, Cathy!

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  23. Excellent reviews Cathy! I have to say that the idea of cutting my skin to see the future or a prophecy is a bit stomach turning. But you seem to have really enjoyed the characters which is what makes a book for me! I might have to put that one on my TBR.

    London Calling definitely gives a Stephen King vibe. So glad you enjoyed both books!

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  24. PLEASE be a budding romance in Written in Red! But I agree, a fantastic book without that. The world building just blew me away, especially how real and careful the author was in her details. LOVE That one.

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  25. Both of these books sound wonderful! I especially am excited about Written In Red, because I keep hearing such wonderful things about it and the budding romance definitely has me excited. Awesome reviews Cathy, thanks so much for sharing these with us!

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