ARC: The City of Lost Fortunes by Bryan Camp

The Lost City of Fortunes

Rating: 3/5
Release Date: April 17, 2018

***This book was given to me for an honest review, but all my thoughts and opinions are my own***

It took me forever to get to this book and not because of what you think, because you know, life gets in the way of reading sometimes. I was suppose to read this back in March, but March and April were not good months for me. So I definitely took it upon myself to read this book for May, and I think forcing myself to read this book made me draw back from the reading experience. I’m not entirely sure what about the book that took me forever to get into it, but I just could immerse myself in the world or the characters.

I usually ask for ARC’s that draw my attention and one that I know I would enjoy, that’s why I seldom ask for ARC’s, because I don’t really enjoy giving bad reviews. If I know that a certain book is not up my alley, I really don’t bother asking for a copy. I think it’s unfair for myself and the author to ask for a book I know I will never pick up. So when The City of Lost Fortunes came my way, I grabbed the chance to get an ARC. Not only is it set in New Orleans, a location I haven’t read from, but it also incorporates the magical realm of voodoo culture and the fantastical aspect of the city. Unfortunately, I have to say it, but this book was not for me. I can’t really pin point the exact reason this book didn’t work for me, but its the small little details that added up as the book progressed.

I really enjoyed the setting of the book. I haven’t really picked up a novel set in New Orleans and I think it was a fantastic idea for Camp to include his hometown in his novel. Me not being familiar with anything New Orleans, it was a bit difficult for me to picture where the book is set. I would have enjoyed a more in depth description of the world of our protagonists. It would also help if there were a bit more fantasy elements within his New Orleans world. In many of the other urban fantasy novels I’ve encountered there has always been a ‘veil’ around the human world that the regular people are made to see, compared to the reality of it in the magical world. I know that Camp was trying to be original and depict a more realistic fantasy world, but I did miss that.

I do applaud Camp on his use of different fantastical creatures/characters. It’s amazing how many he tried to incorporate within this book and there really isn’t any black and white characters. Each have their own agenda and all are willing to play dirty for the ultimate goal. I would have enjoyed more in depth coverage on voodoo magic, but maybe I’ll look elsewhere to get my fix. I must admit though, I wasn’t really a fan of any of the characters, no one really jumped up to me to be a favorite. Everyone is so morally grey, that it’s really difficult to see who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. Then again in Fantasy novels, you are never 100% certain. I’m actually surprised that I’m not that fixated on the protagonists. He’s really the type of character that I’m usually fond of, but in this book, I found him to be a little bit flat, and repetitive. I think that’s one of my major concern on this book. Our main character, Jude, would venture off on his own, but then when he meets up with someone, he would repeat all his adventures, which is basically us readers, reading his actions twice. Which got a bit frustrating after a few chapters. For me, Jude was a bit bland, he was neither a hero or antagonist, so he’s just there, solving a mystery.

The mystery is really what got me through the end, I really wanted to know what happened, how it happened and why. So I had to finish the book. I would have wished it went a little bit faster and I would have enjoyed the book more if the pace of the events when a bit faster. Although I do commend Camp on his use of various characters from all over the world, I would have wished he didn’t use every folk story he knows of in every chapters. I understand all that research needed to be used, but I hope on the next book he tones it down a bit. They’re all interesting facts, but I think really unnecessary for the story line.

That being said, I hope Camp doesn’t tear my review into pieces. I understand why some people would enjoy this book, but this one wasn’t really for me.

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ARC: The Fourth Monkey by J.D Barker

the fourth monkey

Rating: 4/5
Release Date: June 27, 2017

***This book was given to me for an honest review, but all my thoughts and opinions are my own***

This is my first ever ARC and I was really excited to receive it. The first time I read the synopsis of this book, I was definitely hooked and was really excited to pick it up. Unfortunately, I really wanted to read it closer to the release date so that I can write a review closer to the date.

As seen in my rating, it’s obvious that I enjoyed this book. I admit there are a few things that bothered me, but overall, I’m really glad that I received this ARC.

Let’s start with what I enjoyed about the book. The main reason why I requested for this book is because the mystery aspect really did intrigue me and I wasn’t disappointed. From the beginning to the end, it was none stop guessing game, and it was awesome. The way the author set up his novel is similar to a Criminal Minds episode, each person in the team is dedicated to a specific task which they must accomplish and contribute their findings. This part of the book is pretty well done and different because most mystery novels I’ve been reading lately is done either individually or solved by an amateur sleuth. Although, we do get one protagonists, I feel that his team is able to contribute to the story and you get to see their personalities shine through. I also love the friendly banter between the colleagues. I’m a fan of Porter. He’s actually quiet different from other heroes that I’ve read before and it’s a nice break from the cliched ‘distraught hero’. I actually wish that Barker will make this a series rather than a standalone since I really did enjoy the cast that he has created.

As for the mystery, like I’ve said before, it was amazing! All the twist and turns that the author included made me enjoy the story overall. Yes, the end is a bit trope-y, but I feel that it works for the story plot. Even though you know who the serial killer is at the start, the diary that is presented to the detectives still gave you the chill factor. I wasn’t too interested with that side story, but it does help explain a lot of things by the end of the novel. I’m actually disappointed and hopeful with the Epilogue, since it does leave us hanging onto something that might not pan out. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the author will continue the story of Porter and his group.

I don’t really want to leave this review on a bad note, but I do have to explain why I gave this book a 4 star instead. I think the one thing that bothered me the most is that there were some down time, not a lot, but enough for me to notice it. I understand that background stories need to be explained and I would have understood the extent of the explanation if this is going to become a series. As a stand alone, I feel that the author didn’t need to spend too much time on Porter’s wife, but rather use those pages for a bit more intrigue on the serial killer. Now, don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed it and will continue to watch out for more books that Barker releases.