ARC REVIEW: Under Dark Skies – by A.J. Scudiere

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Title: Under Dark Skies
(The Nighshade Forensic Files #1)
Author: A.J. Scudiere
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Fantasy
First published: 2014
Finished reading: February 3rd 2015
Pages: 378
Rating 4

“Regret for things he had not yet done reminded him why he was here. Though he had personal goals, those didn’t change the fact that the job was to tip society back toward the sane, the safe, the wishful.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I always seem to enjoy crime/thriller/mystery novels, so when I was contacted with the question if I would like to read Under Dark Skies, I immediately said yes. It’s the first time I’ve read something by A.J. Scudiere, and I must say I’m impressed. There are so many crime novels out there, that it is hard to stand out from the rest. But I think that with this first book in The Nightshade Forensic Files she is able to do just that. A.J. Scudiere combines a supernatural touch with a fast pace and easy-to-read prose which makes you just want to keep on reading. Missing children, murder, forensic investigation, werewolves… The different elements go together so well I would say she nailed it. The characters weren’t all exactly to my liking, but the other elements make up for it. Definitely recommended for crime/mystery/thriller and fantasy lovers!

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Eleri Eames suffered a mental breakdown while she was working for the FBI and she was forced to take some time off. But one month before her planned release, the FBI contact her again. They want her to be part of a special FBI dvision called Nightshade, and they need her right away. Eames doesn’t seem to have a choice in her own early release… Her new boss introduces her to her partner Donovan, a former medical examiner with a shocking secret. Together they have to try solve their first case: the leader of a cult called the City Of God seems to be involved in various old kidnapping cases, and the FBI wants him. But can Eames trust her partner and her boss for that matter? Both men seem to hide something.

Slowly they try to discover more about the true location of the City Of God and the missing children. One of the cult members shows up dead, and Donovan is using is very unusual skills to track down the location of the cult. When he rescues one of the kids in his true form, Eames starts to suspect something is off. Suspicions that are confirmed when she visits Donovan at his place… Eames has her own secret though, and together they try to find a way to use their special gifts to solve the case. Will they find the location and the missing children on time?

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The supernatural elements in Under Dark Skies make the novel stand out from other forensic crime novels and it is without doubt a refreshing read. The crime and fantasy genre are both among my favorites, and this novel by A.J. Scudiere is a perfect blend of both. The pace is fast and the forensic and fantastical elements are mixed together in a way neither becomes boring. The novel is full of action and while I couldn’t connect to all the characters, the rest of the story makes up for it. I am definitely looking forward to the release of the second book in the future!

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WWW Wednesdays #25 – February 4th

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Originally featured at Should Be Reading and now hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words, WWW WEDNESDAYS is still about answering the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?

allegiantI decided to put And The Mountains Echoed on hold for a while and read other books first… It was really good so far but I’m not exactly in the mood for it, so I prefer leaving it be for now. I’m currently reading Allegiant by Veronica Roth, the last in the Divergent series. This one has been on my TBR pile for ages, mostly because I’ve heard a lot of complaints about the ending and I didn’t really enjoy the second book as much as Divergent either. But, since one of my reading goals is to finish various series I’ve started previously, I decided to finally pick up Allegiant. I’m about a third into the book right now and so far it’s ok, although I still wish there would be less romance scenes between Tris and Tobias/Four.

  • What did you recently finish reading?

underdarkskiescharlieandthechocolatefactoryI’ve done a Roald Dahl reread after seeing the Johnny Depp movie version of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory last Saturday. Although I didn’t enjoy it as much as I did when I was a kid, I still think Dahl was a genius and his books are perfect reading material for children. Great to read to them with funny voices! Yesterday I was also able to finish Under Dark Skies, an ARC novel by A.J. Scudiere I ended up loving. It’s a forensic mystery/crime novel with a supernatural twist; definitely recommended!

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

thesecretgardencrownofmidnightLike last week, I’m still not sure what to read next. I have book two and three in the Throne Of Glass series lined up and waiting for me, but I should also make a dent into my TBR pile challenge list. A possible title could be The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett; the outcome of my latest attempt of using the TBR jar…

Teaser Tuesdays #28 – February 3rd: Under Dark Skies

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TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly book meme originally featured at Should Be Reading. To participate, just open the book you are currently reading to a random page, and choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page. (no spoilers!)

I’ve decided to put And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini temporarily on hold even though I’m loving this novel so far. I’m just not in the mood for it and I don’t want to spoil this read. I’ve now picked up Under Dark Skies by A.J. Scudiere instead, a forensic mystery novel that has been kindly provided to me for review. I’m not too far into the story yet, but until now it’s promising.

underdarkskies“He was glad to pack up and get out of the deer-head-heavy Inn at Circle T. He didn’t like woodland creatures watching him from dead eyes. And he’d rather suffer a generic print of a forest or a lake than a metal cut-out of a praying cowboy, complete with horse, hanging over his bed.”

 

What are you reading right now?

Friday Finds #21 – January 30th

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FRIDAY FINDS is originally featured at Should Be Reading and showcases the most interesting books I’ve encountered during, in this case, the last three weeks and have added to my neverending TBR list on Goodreads. I’ve been away on vacation and I admit I haven’t had that much time to browse for new books… Plus, I’m technically on a book buying ban so that doesn’t help either. 😉  I still found some interesting titles though, but before I continue first some happy kitty news! My cat Jazmin turned out to be pregnant AGAIN and two days ago four lovely kittens were born! ❤ The funny thing is that she’s all white and the four kittens all have different colors… I’m considering keeping the black one if it’s a male; the tip of its tail is white, too cute! 😀

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On to my finds:

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WWW Wednesdays #24 – January 28th

wwwwednesdays Originally featured at Should Be Reading and now hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words, WWW WEDNESDAYS is still about answering the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?

andthemountainsechoedtuckerpeakI started Khaled Hosseini‘s newest novel And The Mountains Echoed the other day. This novel has been on my Goodreads list for ages and I thought it was about time to finally tackle it. I’ve had great experiences with his previous work and so far And The Mountains Echoed is living up to expectations. I’m also in the middle of Tucker Peak by Archer Mayor, a crime paperback that has been on my TBR shelf for too long… I’m about halfway done and so far it is ok. The pace is a bit slow and I don’t really like the characters, but is is good enough to continue reading.

  • What did you recently finish reading?

????????????????????????thehundredyearoldmanwhoclimbedoutofthewindowanddisappearedI have been away on vacation and I didn’t manage to read that many books, but I was still able to finish both Paper Towns by John Green and The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. While the prose and teenage dialogues in Paper Towns were great as usual, I wasn’t really able to connect to the characters. Also, I can fully understand the those who say that there are way too many similarities between the various books that John Green has written… I think I will take some time to ‘de-Green’ and put his other novels on hold for now. The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared was simply brilliant and I have a feeling it will appear on my favorite 2015 reads list in the future…

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

underdarkskiesthesecretgardenI’m not sure yet, but it will probably be Under Dark Skies by A.J. Scudiere, a forensic mystery novel I have received for review and I’m looking forward to be reading. Either that one or The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett; the outcome of my latest attempt of using the TBR jar… I know I will read this classic at some point this year because it’s also part of the two TBR reading challenges I’m participating in, but I’m not sure if I’m in the mood to read it right now. Who knows?