Sunday, May 30, 2010

Our Most Anticipated Books for June

Ladies first...

Jane's pick:
I am a Stephanie Plum fan and will certainly be getting my hands on a copy of Sizzling Sixteen as soon as it's released. But the book that has me intrigued is A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff which will be released in the US on June 29th. Romance, mystery, a vintage clothing store in London, and wonderful quirky characters? I have no doubt that I'm going to enjoy this story. It's being released as a hardcover here but you might be able to find a paperback copy that was printed last year in the UK and Canada.

Jen's pick:

When I was looking for my pick, something kept nagging at me as if I was forgetting something. My upcoming releases page looked like something had been missing so I started trolling the bookseller websites and lo and behold, I found what was missing on How could I have missed this and not put it on my upcoming list?

I'm a bad book blogger. Bad.

Open Country by Kaki Warner has been a much-anticipated book for me ever since I read Pieces of Sky several months back (go HERE to see my review). It's the second of the Blood Rose trilogy and focuses on the middle brother, Hank. Hank is severely injured when he wakes and discovers that he's married to an unfamiliar woman who has children. His wife, Molly, is on the run with her late sister's children and has taken advantage of Hank's situation to insinuate herself into his life and hopefully, find safety. The third book, Chasing the Sun, is out in January 2011. I have already added it to it's proper page.

Best Book of May 2010

This is such a no-brainer it's not even funny but I'm going to hide it behind a jump anyway.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Review: Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews

Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren't for the magic. When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose.

Kate Daniels works for the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid, officially, as a liaison with the mercenary guild. Unofficially, cleans up the paranormal problems no one else wants to handle - especially if they involve Atlanta's shapeshifting community.

When she's called in to investigate a fight at the Steel Horse, a bar on the border between the territories of the shapeshifters and the necromancers, Kate quickly discovers there's a new player in town. One who's been around for thousands of years - and rode to war at the side of Kate's father.

>This foe may be too much even for Kate and Curran, the Beast Lord, to handle. Because this time Kate will be taking on family...

Hot damn! I loved this book! I just finished it so I'm still in that post-awesome book shock mode and all so please forgive all the exclamation points, okay? Bleeds is the best of the four Kate Daniels novels, I do believe, and that's certainly high praise since all four are astoundingly good. Great plot with an even better payoff at the end, Magic Bleeds is urban fantasy at its best.

To finish...The best line in the book comes a little early, page 114:

"Who's diving for clams now, bitch?"

So good.

Review: Something About You by Julie James


Of all the hotel rooms rented by all the adulterous politicians in Chicago, female Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Lynde had to choose the one next to 1308, where some hot-and-heavy lovemaking ends in bloodshed. And of all the FBI agents in Illinois, it had to be Special Agent Jack Pallas who gets assigned to this high-profile homicide. The same Jack Pallas who still blames Cameron for a botched crackdown three years ago—and nearly ruining his career…


Work with Cameron Lynde? Are they kidding? Maybe, Jack thinks, this is some kind of welcome-back prank after his stint away from Chicago. But it’s no joke: the pair is going to have to put their rocky past behind them and focus on the case at hand. That is, if they can cut back on the razor-sharp jibes—and smother the flame of their sizzling-hot sexual tension…

Julie James has once again created a story that is fresh, witty, and totally believable. It’s not often I sit down and read a book in one sitting but I absolutely could not put this book down. Cameron is my type of heroine. She’s smart, sassy, knows when to speak her mind but also knows when to back down. Jack is equally wonderful. How can you not love a tall, dark and glowering hunk of an FBI Agent who loves to read? The verbal sparring had me smiling throughout the story and the sexual tension between them was down right hot! This was Ms. James’ first attempt at a romantic suspense and I thought she did a fantastic job.

Oh and Ms. James, if you happen to read this, I would love to see Agent Wilkins (Jack’s side kick) have his own story someday. I give it an A-.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Obvious Post

Today has certainly been the day for book release day posts, hasn't it? About a certain book in particular that I, too, am excited about. I know I've certainly been looking forward to this day. I was so excited that I got to B&N before Magic Bleeds was even on their shelves and as a result made the bookstore people hunt for it in "the back". What surprised me even more was that the woman I spoke to, a woman who is in my age bracket of the prime childbearing years and works in a bookstore, wasn't familiar with Ilona Andrews. For shame! Have you ever heard of such a thing? Here, enjoy the marvelousness of what I bought:

I've had my eye on The Sweet Scent of Blood for-freaking-ever but it was impossible to catch anywhere. I guess they've rereleased it or something here in the US and I snatched that sucker up when I saw it today.

Another awesome aspect of the Kate Daniels series - each book is getting progressively longer. Magic Bleeds tops out at a whopping 347 pages! Magic Strikes was 320 pages, Magic Burns and Magic Bites were both 272 pages and I am all for more Kate and Curran. Give me as much as I can take :)

Now, I'll try to start Magic Bleeds tonight after dinner. I've had The Demon's Covenant in my hot little hands for several days now but haven't even managed to crack it open yet, if you can believe that. It's definitely not for lack of wanting either. Here's the deal: we brought home a new member of our family on Friday, a little girl kitten, and she has taken over our household. Our sleeping schedules have been out of whack and today I finally managed to regain a semblance of normalcy which is such a relief. I did get a little reading in, however, and hope to review some more of those books this week. I also want to talk a little about my experiences with a borrowed Sony eReader. I've started the first part of "Stopping Time," the short stories by Melissa Marr, on the little machine. The story is, of course, wonderful but do I like reading it that way? I guess we'll find out.

Review: Waking Nightmare by Kylie Brant


With a serial rapist loose on the streets of Savannah, hotshot detective Ryne Robel needs all the help he can get for his task force. And he needs it now, before another woman falls victim. But Abbie Phillips isn't what he bargained for. Sent from an exclusive group of the best criminologists in the country, she's smart, fierce...and distracting. She may be a brilliant forensic profiler, but Ryne needs answers, not psychobabble and head games.
However, Abbie convinces him that head games are exactly what this elusive suspect is all about. The seemingly random acts of torture are actually calculated to match each victim's darkest fears. And the stakes are rising. While they study the devious psychopath, he's watching them - the next objects of his horrifying obsession.

Well, hello Kylie Brant! I think we'll be having a long and entertaining relationship :) In case you missed it, Jane recently reviewed the third book in The Mindhunters series, Waking the Dead, and very much enjoyed it. That gave me the incentive to go ahead and try out the first book, Waking Nightmare, and I have to say that I agree with Jane about pretty much everything. Ryne and Abbie were interesting to watch as they worked together on the case but fought their chemistry. The setting was descriptive and realistic and made me decide that I could never ever live in Georgia since I hate to sweat. I didn't pick the right person to be the villain this time so congrats to Ms. Brant for tricking me. What I found most surprising about this book was that while it was a bit formulaic - the sequence of events in this book is quite similar to Waking the Dead - the bad guy wasn't a murderer but a demented rapist who made sure his victims survived their attack. That was something I wasn't sure I had seen before. I was extremely disappointed to discover this morning that my local B&N didn't have a copy of book two, Waking Evil. I hate when that happens.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Look at What Followed Me Home Today From the Library

Continuing the YA parade that's been through here lately we have:

From World Fantasy Award winner Jane Yolen and Mythopoeic Award winner Midori Snyder comes a tale of two worlds, two exiles, two lost souls - and the one destiny that binds them all.

Sisters Serana and Meteora are proud members of the high court of the Fairy Queen - until they discover a secret Her Highness would like to keep hidden. Cast out from court and stripped of their powers, they are banished to the coarse and brutish mortal realm of Earth.

Meteora bonds with the troubled young girl who lives in the apartment below her. But when she sees the ornate tattoo on the girl's neck, Meteora recognizes as a magic symbol that will surely draw evil to them. Serana, meanwhile, takes in a homeless boy whose mind is plagued by dark visions and nightmarish creatures - creatures that Serana recognizes as being from the world of her birth. The sisters know that these signs point to a force whose power is rising - one that threatens both the fairy and human worlds.

Vladimir Tod: Normal Eighth Grade Student? Or Powerful Vampire?

Junior high really sucks for thirteen-year-old Vladimir Tod. Bullies harass him, the principal is dogging him, and the girl he likes prefers his best friend. Oh, and Vlad has a secret: his mother was human, but his father was a vampire. With no idea of the extent of his powers and no one to teach him, Vlad struggles daily with his blood cravings and his enlarged fangs. When a strange substitute teacher begins to question him a little too closely, Vlad worries that his cover is about to be blown. But then he realizes he has a much bigger problem: he's being hunted by a vampire killer who is closing!

The first book in this ghoulishly funny series by first-time author Heather Brewer leads readers on a nail-biting adventure that is filled with dark characters and mystical glyphs, secret identities and hidden agendas, unearthly powers and teenage angst.

It starts with a phone call.
"I'm dying," a voice tells Dusty.

Who is he and how did he get her phone number? Dusty wants no part of this strange boy...until he begins saying things that only someone who knows her intimately could say. And saying things that lead her to think he knows the whereabouts of her brother, who disappeared over two years ago. Suddenly drawn in, Dusty very much wants to save this boy. Trouble is, she cannot find him - he won't let himself be found. He is too dangerous, he says. There are mobs of people who agree and who want to see this boy disappear...and who will hurt anyone who stands in their way. 

From Carnegie Medal-winning author Tim Bowler comes a gripping, hair-raising mystery about a boy not of this world, and girl determined to protect him. 

I also got these two:

I sure hope that Preston & Child don't kill off any other entertaining characters from the Pendergast series. I would find that to be most aggravating and I'm still not over what they did to Bill Smithback. The Christopher Moore looks amusing but I'm worried I won't be able to get through it. Ta!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Review: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa


Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth—that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

Bravo to Harlequin Teen for publishing this surprising book. Bravo to them again on the beautiful cover - can you believe how gorgeous this book's cover is? I bought this book back in February when I went to B&N to get the new Deanna Raybourn just because I loved the cover so much. I finally got around to reading it the other day and noticed that it seems as if everyone is also reading (and reviewing) this book lately. 

I recently saw a review for it on Writings Of A Wicked Book Addict (obviously a kindred spirit - click HERE to read her review) and would like to reiterate one of her points: this book would be a wonderful companion for students to read along with Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Really, teachers should add it to their booklists as it compliments Dream with a contemporary YA vibe that would appeal to teenagers. I'm certainly no teenager, thank God, and even though Shakespeare makes me cross-eyed I certainly enjoyed The Iron King. It's a modern fairy tale, less urban than Holly Black's fab Faerie trilogy and a little more wholesome but no less compelling. I would like to note that as a fan of Rob Thurman's Cal Leandros series, I was delighted to see a less adult version of Robin Goodfellow in this book. Puck goes from being a pervy used car salesman in Nightlife to a smitten high school student/royal bodyguard in The Iron King while not losing the best parts of his personality. Awesome.

It was pretty obvious yet sneaky the way Julie Kagawa manages to fit in a cautionary tale about technology and where it's going in both our world and in Faerie. In the Iron King's lands, acid rain actually will burn holes in you and rats become your best buds. Tech becomes something like what you'd see in The Terminator or The Matrix or (God help me) in Transformers, where ordinary conveniences have been turned into an absolute nightmare. Halting the progress of the Iron King's damage to Faerie has become priority number one to Meghan Chase and her friends and which I assume will continue in The Iron Daughter, Kagawa's second book, out on August 1st.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Calling All Vicki Pettersson Fans!

For all you Vicki Pettersson fans (of which I am one), head over to Kobo to get a free epub download of her first book, The Scent of Shadows. I admit, this format isn't my favorite, but I'm not one to stick up my nose to free ebooks :)

Update: This is also available on Amazon.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Retrospective Book Spot: Say Goodnight, Gracie by Julie Reece Deaver

There are friends we can't imagine living without.
Morgan and Jimmy were kids together, whirling around the porch on hot summer days. They've been friends forever, and by now they know each other inside out. They do everything together—from cutting high school to go into the city to coaching each other at dance auditions and acting workshops. They even argue well. A perfect friendship. Best friends. For life.

So how could life be so right and then be so wrong? After a terrible accident, Morgan suddenly has to face life alone. Without Jimmy around, though, it's like the best part of her has died. How could he do this to her? And why is love so hard?
I fell in love with this book when I was in middle school, seventh or eighth grade. My friend Morgan clued me into it and within a year, she was dead. She and her mother died in a horrific car accident that her little brother survived. Morgan and I were like book siamese twins or something; we traded books back and forth constantly. After her death, I made myself read this book on more than one occasion even though I couldn't get through it without bawling my eyes out. Of all the books that come to mind when I think of my friend, this is the one I see. 

It still makes me cry.

I was in a local bookstore in 2008, browsing around like all booklovers do, when I came into the YA section and saw this book. I snatched it off the shelf and was amazed - I hadn't seen a copy in years. I still haven't reread it since I'm too chicken but here's what I remember: this book is funny, poignant, eye-opening, and sob-inducing. I always liked to think that Morgan and Jimmy would have married later in life. They had that kind of connection that is very hard to find, like soulmates. Anybody who has lost someone dear to them should read this book. Heck, everybody should read it but I'm warning you - it will stick with you for a long, long time after.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Review Roundup

While I take a break from laughing at Tumbling Through Time by Gwyn Cready, I thought I'd go ahead and jot down a few things about some of the books I've read lately but haven't reviewed. I'm trying to be a good girl these days. *snort*

Archangel by Sharon Shinn was a provoking read. Definitely a different take on gods and angels and their interactions with humans. It also had one of the most stubborn women I've ever encountered in a book. Not that she didn't have some reasons to be but I thought to myself as I read Archangel that she could give a mule or jackass a run for their money! I do love those novels where the story comes full circle and so I loved the ending. I liked this book, as you can see since I have it an A-, but I'm not sure if I'll read the other two in the trilogy. Reading a blurb inside the front cover that I managed to avoid before I read Archangel, I got the idea that I'll probably not like what happens. As with Outlander, I'm thinking that continuing on with the series will make me like the first book less than I do now. We'll see.

The Poison Eaters by Holly Black is a collection of short stories. Some of them are a decent length seeing how there are twelve stories in a book that is 212 pages long. My main interest lied with anything related to her Modern Faery Tale books and I was curious if she would revisit Kaye and company. She does in "The Land of Heart's Desire," where we get to see the coffee shop that Kaye talks about opening in the end of Ironside. It focuses on Corny and Roiben surprisingly enough, and is good for a snicker or two. I also read "Going Ironside," a four-page ramble of the inner monologue of a faery who is jonesing for her next hit of what sounded like heroin. Cautionary tale perhaps? It didn't make much sense, that much I know for sure. The first story in the book, "The Coldest Girl in Coldtown," is about vampires and is rather sad. Once I read it (I started with it as it starts the book), I decided to skip through to the faery parts. 

Hero at Large by Janet Evanovich was surprising to me because it was a little more serious than her romances tend to be. A single mother's car breaks down one morning while on her way to work and the unsurprisngly handsome man that stops to help her insinuates himself into her life and her heart. However, he is not what he seems and has a lot to answer for. Can she forgive him and hopefully not break any more of his bones? It has the patented Janet Evanovich humor but wasn't as light as her other reprinted romances and not as entertaining either.

Lady of Light and Shadow by C. L. Wilson is the second chapter of her five-part series about the Tairen Soul. Faeries seem to be my thing these days and so I very much enjoyed this one. It takes a while for it to wind up and therefore drags a little for the first half of the book but it's a good continuation with a satisfying ending and so I can forgive the dragging. It ties up a few things and sets up the third chapter. Rain and Ellie finally marry and head back to Faerie for King of Sword and Sky. The last book, Crown of Crystal Flame, comes out October 26.

That's it people! I am now caught up. I will be doing the review for The Iron King by Julie Kagawa in the next few days and am now going to return to Tumbling Through Time. Thanks for reading!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Review: Waking the Dead by Kylie Brant


Forensic anthropologist Caitlin Fleming knows bones. So she is the first one called when seven sets of skeletal remains are found dumped in a makeshift graveyard in the Oregon wilderness. The skeletons bear the same distinctive marks -- and each is missing a skull...

Cait needs outdoor guide Zach Sharper for one reason only -- to help her find her way through the Willamette Forest as she pieces together clues. Despite the attraction that burns between them, Cait will let nothing shake her focus. Until the killer closes in to terminate the search -- and the investigators on the verge of unmasking him...

Oh how I love a good romantic suspense thriller, one that keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very last page. Waking the Dead did just that. This is an incredibly fast-paced, well-researched story that has plenty of twists and turns. I’ll even admit that I had no clue who the serial killer was until I was almost to the end of the story. Caitlin and Zach are both strong lead characters. In the beginning Zach was a bit prickly towards Cait and she was aloof but that seemed reasonable to me since they both had past issues. They certainly had great chemistry and I like that they tried to ignore it, putting work first. The author did a wonderful job depicting the Oregon wilderness, the town and it’s people, and especially the hot springs. I could have sworn that at times I smelled sulfur in the air! This was a quick, enjoyable read.

Waking the Dead is the 3rd book in the Mindhunters series. I still need to get my hands on the first two books, Waking Nightmare and Waking Evil. Kylie Brant’s website says the Mindhunters series will continue with another trilogy being released soon. Look for Deadly Intent due out Nov 2nd, Deadly Dreams in May 2011, and Deadly Sins in Aug. 2011.

I give it a B+.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Get Out of There!

I saw this clip on Meg Gardiner's blog this morning and got a laugh. Warning: it's not safe for work, people.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Review: White Cat by Holly Black

Cassel comes from a family of Curse Workers - people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they're all criminals. Many become mobsters and con artists. But not Cassel. He hasn't got magic, so he's an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail - he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.

Cassel has carefully built up a facade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his facade starts to crumble when he finds himself sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He's noticing other disturbing things too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him. As Cassel begins to suspect he's part of a huge con game, he must unravel his past and his memories. To find out the truth, Cassel will have to outcon the conmen.

Holly Black has created a gripping tale of mobsters and dark magic, where a single touch can bring love - or death - and your dreams might be more real than your memories.
Cassel's family Is. Messed. Up. Seriously. His mother is in prison, his father is dead, and his brothers are liars. He's the only one without magic in his family so he learned other things so he could feel connected: how to be a con artist. He's a pretty good liar and is absolutely scared to death that somebody will figure him out. But all that's okay because his life has been pretty normal and routine. Until the cat shows up and then everything gets tossed upside down.

I liked Cassel but mostly I just felt sorry for him. He worshiped his oldest brother, Philip, as a kid but could never get his affection and eventually spent most of his time being uberjealous of his other brother, Barron, who Philip noticed and respected. His mother is a sociopath who can manipulate emotions and used Cassel to steal things for her. The only person in his family that seems to genuinely care about his welfare and well-being is his grandfather, who lives not exactly nearby in another town. Put that together and what do you get? A smart seventeen year old who becomes his boarding school's bookie who craves normalcy. 

But that's not his biggest problem - he can't get over how he murdered his best friend, Lila. That's obviously the worst possible thing you could live with, being responsible for the death of your best friend, the girl you loved. See, Cassel's actually a decent person, filled with self-loathing as he is and bookie hobby aside. He feels remorse when he hurts others. He loves his family even though they're pretty much horrible people (except for Grandpa). But he can't get past what he did to Lila. 

Holly Black has yet again created a flawed yet honorable protagonist who can be a hero. Like Kaye and Val from her Faerie series, Cassel learns he is strong enough to stand up on his own and fight. I have to say also that these people that Cassel knows and is related to are particularly horrible. Many of them are mobsters, true, and are probably not nice on their best days, but still. I was appalled at what they did to Cassel and each other and out of all of them, his mother may be the worst. Don't expect much in the way of redemption in this book, folks. It just isn't there. I will be interested in what happens to Cassel in the next book though. Holly's livejournal blog says that the sequel is called Red Glove. I imagine it'll be out this time next year.

Review: Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews

When magic strikes and Atlanta goes to pieces, it's a job for Kate Daniels...

Drafted to work for the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid, mercenary Kate Daniels has more paranormal problems these days than she knows what to do with. And in Atlanta, where magic comes and goes like the tide, that's saying a lot.

But when Kate's werewolf friend Derek is discovered nearly dead, she must confront her greatest challenge yet. As her investigation leads here to the Midnight Games - an invitation-only, no-holds-barred, ultimate preternatural fighting tournament - she and Curran, the Beast Lord, uncover a dark plot that may forever alter the face of Atlanta's shapeshifting community...

The last time I read an Ilona Andrews book, it was before I started this blog in August of 2008. I had to look it up it had been so long ago. Now I know why I couldn't remember some things. I did, however, read the anthology Must Love Hellhounds in February that had a Kate Daniels-verse story featuring Raphael and Andrea. Here's what I thought:

"Magic Mourns" by Ilona Andrews pairs up Kate's hyena shifter friend Raphael and Andrea, Kate's replacement at work and hyena beastkin, a hyena-human hybrid that is not welcome in most shifter societies. Raphael and Andrea have a connection and while Raphael has been pursuing her without success, Andrea wants him. BAD. This was a great part of this anthology; it had the feel of its series, an interesting storyline, an even more interesting romance, and a giant hellhound. All-in-all, awesome. A
With Magic Bleeds looming on the book horizon for release on May 25, I figured I would catch up on Kate and Curran. I loved it, of course. I should really go back and reread Magic Burns and Magic Bites though. I couldn't remember Roland being that much in the forefront of Kate's mind. In Magic Strikes, she almost obsessive about him and I didn't know why. Ilona and Andrews have set up this whole Darth Vader/Luke Skywalker thing with Kate and it will make for good stuff in Magic Bleeds.

As for Kate and Curran, I'm not sure what to say about them. On one hand, I want to tell Kate to s**t or get off the pot already! She wants him, worries about him, trusts him. He's strong enough to handle what she is and can do and vice versa. On the other hand, if I was her, I might run. She would be the mate of the BEAST LORD. Talk about a headache, having to be the female alpha. As you can see, I'm undecided - but I'm leaning toward to the first scenario :) That's been the whole point of these books, right? Kate and Curran have been doing this little dance of theirs for three books and with all the bad stuff coming up in Magic Bleeds, they'll both need each other. It's going to be time for them to put up or shut up. I'm definitely not going to wait before I read it either.

Review: A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire

October "Toby" Daye is a changeling, the daughter of Amandine of the fae and a mortal man. Like her mother, she is gifted in blood magic, able to read what has happened to a person through a mere taste of blood.

Half-human, half-fae, outsiders from birth, most changelings are second-class children of Faerie spending their lives fighting for the respect of their immortal relations. Toby is the only changeling who has earned knighthood, and she re-earns that position every day, undertaking assignments for her liege, Sylvester, the Duke of the Shadowed Hills.

Now Sylvester has asked her to go to the County of Tamed Lightning - otherwise known as Fremont, CA - to make sure that all is well with his niece, Countess January O'Leary, whom he has not been able to contact. It seems like a simple enough assignment - but when dealing with the realm of Faerie nothing is ever as simple as it seems. January runs a company that produces computer fantasy games, and her domain is a buffer between Sylvester's realm and a rival duchy whose ruler is looking for an opportunity to seize control. And that is the least of January's problems. For Tamed Lightning has somehow been cut off from the other domains, and now someone has begun to murder January's key people. If Toby can't find and stop the killer soon, she may well become the next victim...

Seanan McGuire launched herself into the spotlight last year with her book Rosemary and Rue. What a wonderful book that was -  I even picked it for my best book of September 2009. I was afraid that she wouldn't be able to repeat the magic for A Local Habitation; Rosemary and Rue was so original and astonishing that surely she would have used up all her brainpower on the first try. Shows how much I know - A Local Habitation may be even better than Rosemary and Rue. Yes, it's that good.

You've got to love Toby. She's still trying to figure herself out and is working to be a human again: she's got her PI credentials back, she's socializing and is going out with friends on Girls Night Out. No particular prospects are looking up in her love life as long as she pretends there's nothing between her and Tybalt. Ah, Tybalt. Look at who Heather from Darkly Reading picked as her Tybalt. I think I said Holy Cow! when I saw those pics :) Hollered it, more like. You'd think that the Cat King wouldn't be so appealing but the way McGuire writes him is pitch perfect. It looks as if he'll be in An Artificial Night quite a bit, out in September. Goody.

I loved pretty much everything about this book. It had another freaky mystery for Toby to solve. We get to see even more Fae (I wish I could get Elliot to make a bi-weekly visit to my house). We get more of Toby's wonderful sense of humor, especially when she interacts with Quentin, her knight-in-training assistant Boy Wonder. I was surprised and yet not that there's little to no mention of her estranged family, her child and spouse/boyfriend. I guess it's a little too soon for that. Maybe in book three? C'mon September! And October :)

Review: Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris

A Fae War has left the supernatural community of Bon Temps, Louisiana, in chaos - and waitress Sookie Stackhouse mentally and physically drained. And still, the peace and quiet she so desperately craves is hard to come by...

Even with the blood of two vampires in her system, Sookie is having trouble healing from the terrible torture she endured at the hands of her great-grandfather's enemies during the brief but deadly Fae War. Worse are the emotional wounds - especially over the loss of her own personal fairy godmother and the near death of her first love.

Sookie is hurt and she's mad. Just about the only bright spot in her life - besides the fact that she is, after all, still alive - is the love she thinks she feels for vampire Eric Northman, who is under scrutiny by the new vampire king because of their relationship.

As the political implications of the shifters' coming-out are beginning to be felt, Sookie's connection to one particular Were draws her into the dangerous debate. And, unknown to her, though the doors to Faery have been closed, there are still some fae on the human side - and one of them is angry at Sookie. Very, very angry.
First, I would like to say that I didn't mean to read this book today. I wrote last night that I couldn't dump Magic Strikes for a Holly Black book and what do I do the first chance I get: read Dead in the Family as soon as I got it in my hands. I apologize to Ms. Black and to Ilona Andrews. I didn't mean to do it. The devil made me do it. No, the devil didn't really make me do it and I will be returning to Magic Strikes ASAP. OK.

I picked up DitF to read the inside flap of the dust jacket and before I knew it, I was on page ten. Then I figured, What the hell, and read the rest of it after dinner :) DitF is the tenth volume in the Sookie Stackhouse series and boy has her life become complicated since Dead Until Dark. I was surprised at how much Charlaine Harris crammed in this book and I had to really think about it because once I finished it, I had a thought that not much happened in this one. Certainly not like Dead and Gone. I was wrong and lots of things happen.

In much of DitF, Sookie goes Dark. Dark Sookie. That was a little disconcerting even though I liked Dark Sookie because I have always appreciated Sookie's character and how moral she is, or at least how she always tries to follow her moral compass to stay as close to the straight and narrow as possible. That's not to say she's a goody-goody but more like that she's just a good person that tries to do the right things for the right reasons. I love how she uses her grandma as her yardstick (the marks on that are getting blurry though). Here, she's finding that the effects of what happened in Dead and Gone are not just physical, like the flap says and I have a feeling that Sookie is heading for some kind of serious sea change, a radical shift in her associations. There's only so much that one person can take before they snap. I just keep wondering when she'll dump Eric for Sam. I keep hoping for that in each new book. You'd think I would have learned my lesson by now. Uh, nope. Harris certainly loves to keep Sookie's options open and there are appearances by Eric (duh), Bill, Sam, and even Alcide. Maybe she should just set everyone up like on Love Connection and pick one that way. 

I liked Dead in the Family but I love everything Charlaine Harris writes. I also love her blog. Check it out HERE. She's been busy lately and hasn't written for several weeks but usually has insightful remarks to make about whatever she's reading. Only another year to go before the next new Sookie book...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

NYCC, Janet Evanovich, Supernatural, and Bones

Ach, my life has been so crazy lately. I'm thinking I should take the "why should life get in the way of reading?" line off of my header lest I be accused of false advertising or some such :)

We're going to the NYCC this year. I couldn't remember if I had mentioned that before or not. It's getting so frustrating for me that the con's PTB are doing a sucky job of posting info of what to expect there this year. I'm just glad it's in October this time - we went in 2007 and froze our giblets in February. Just imagine: standing outside the Javits Center on a mid-Feb morning, catching that arctic wind that always whips through cities, especially by the river. Then you finally get inside and start sweating pints of water out of your body because you're dressed for cold. 


Well, I know that Sherrilyn Kenyon will be there but I just discovered who I should be getting crazy excited about...Jim Butcher! I know there will be no way that I'll get within a 100 yards of the man which is what it was like when we saw Stephen King there three years ago. I have a much better camera this time so there will be pictures this time. Or else.

Janet Evanovich's sixteenth Stephanie Plum book, Sizzling Sixteen, will be out soon and I haven't decided what to do about it. My grandmother died last year and she loved Janet Evanovich. We used to switch back and forth, taking turns buying that year's book. I bought last year's but still haven't read it. It may even be that there's two years of Stephanie sitting on my shelves, waiting to be read but I don't have any desire to do so. I can't imagine that there are that many years left of Stephanie Plum coming to bookstores everywhere each summer. The books my grandmother shared with me are coming to an end. Robert Parker died a few months ago and with him went Spenser and Hawk. Stephanie and Morelli won't be far behind I know. Should I keep the tradition as long as I can or let it go?

I don't watch that much television anymore. Used to be I was always recording something when I worked nights because I didn't dare miss an episode of Buffy or Angel (more on him later). Other stuff too but mainly those two. Now, there are only a small handful of shows that I watch while they air new episodes, like The Big Bang Theory and Supernatural. Project Runway and Modern Family too. My favorite is Supernatural, hands down. What's better than staring at Jensen Ackles for a whole hour? My sister-in-law prefers Jared Padalecki but I'll probably always think of him as Dean from Stars Hollow. Supernatural has been especially fascinating this season, dealing with angels and demons, Heaven and Hell. This week is the season finale and I'll miss the Winchester boys all summer long. Reruns just aren't the same.

Oh, Angel. I loved that show. Obviously, my favorite part was David Boreanaz. He was always great to watch and I could watch him read the phone book if that was all I was going to get. Now, I don't think I'll be able to watch Buffy, Angel, or even Bones anymore. We all know that celebrities have their own lives beyond what we see when they're doing their jobs but now a man that was definitely fantasy material is now a huge disappointment to me. How am I supposed to watch him be Seeley Booth, defender of the law, protector of the people, and future possible boyfriend/husband of Temperance without remembering all the scandal I've read about lately? *gag* I haven't checked out the ratings recently but I'll bet Bones has lost a big chunk of its female audience. Temperance should have run off with Eddie McClintock when she had the chance.

Monday, May 10, 2010

New to Me author: Holly Black

Most people have heard of The Spiderwick Chronicles I'm sure since they're making it into a movie but I wasn't familiar with Holly Black's work at all until I picked up Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale from the library a few weeks ago. I have since devoured Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale, Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie, and Ironside: A Modern Faery's Tale and today, after visiting the library again, I brought home with me White Cat and The Poison Eaters, both brand spankin' new books from Ms. Black. I am very excited to have them in my grubby little hands. I would drop the book I'm currently reading to start these babies but I can't do that to Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews. That would just be so wrong.

Welcome to the realm of very scary faeries!
Sixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother's rock band until an ominous attack forces Kaye back to her childhood home. There, amid the industrial, blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye soon finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms — a struggle that could very well mean her death.

When seventeen-year-old Valerie Russell runs away to New York City, she's trying to escape a life that has utterly betrayed her. Sporting a new identity, she takes up with a gang of squatters who live in the city's labyrinthine subway system.
But there's something eerily beguiling about Val's new friends. Impulsive Lolli talks of monsters in the subway tunnels they call home and shoots up a shimmery amber-colored powder that makes the shadows around her dance. Severe Luis claims he can make deals with creatures that no one else can see. And then there's Luis's brother, timid and sensitive Dave, who makes the mistake of letting Val tag along as he makes a delivery to a woman who turns out to have goat hooves instead of feet.
When a bewildered Val allows Lolli to talk her into tracking down the hidden lair of the creature for whom Luis and Dave have been dealing, Val finds herself bound into service by a troll named Ravus. He is as hideous as he is honorable. And as Val grows to know him, she finds herself torn between her affection for an honorable monster and her fear of what her new friends are becoming.
Bestselling author Holly Black follows her breakout debut, Tithe, with a rich, harrowing, and compulsively readable parable of betrayal, abuse, friendship, and love.

in the realm of faerie...
...the time has come for Roiben's coronation. Uneasy in the midst of the malevolent Unseelie Court, pixie Kaye is sure of only one thing—her love for Roiben. But when Kaye drunkenly declares herself to Roiben, he sends her on a seemingly impossible quest to find a faerie who can tell a lie.
Miserable and convinced she belongs nowhere, Kaye decides to tell her mother the truth—that she is a changeling left in place of the human daughter stolen long ago. Her mother's shock and horror sends Kaye back to the world of Faerie to find her human counterpart and return her to Ironside. But when Kaye returns to the faerie courts, a battle of wits and weapons is being waged over Roiben's throne, and she soon finds herself at the center of it all.

Cassel comes from a family of curse workers—people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they’re all criminals. Many become mobsters and con artists. But not Cassel. He hasn’t got magic, so he’s an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail—he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.
Cassel has carefully built up a façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade starts to crumble when he finds himself sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He’s noticing other disturbing things too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him. As Cassel begins to suspect he’s part of a huge con game, he must unravel his past and his memories. To find out the truth, Cassel will have to outcon the conmen.

From the dust jacket:
In her debut collection, New York Times best-selling author Holly Black returns to her Modern Faerie Tale series (Tithe, Ironside, and Valiant) in two darkly exquisite new tales, "Going Ironside" and "The Land of Heart's Desire." In the first story, "The Coldest Girl in Coldtown," a girl is drunk on the street - but for a reason you'd never guess. Then Black takes readers on a tour of a faerie market, introduces a girl poisonous to the touch, and another who challenges the devil to a competitive eating match.

These twelve stories, two of which are published here for the first time and each of which is illustrated by Theo Black, have been published in anthologies such as 21 Proms, The Faery Reel, and The Restless Dead, and have been reprinted in many "Best of" anthologies. 

The Poison Eaters is Holly Black's much-anticipated first collection of stories, and her ability to stare into the void - and to find humanity and humor there - will speak to young adult and adult readers alike.

See? Tithe, Valiant, and Ironside were all good enough for me to stay up and finish them before I would put them down. Granted, these YA novels only take me a few hours apiece to read but I liked all three nonetheless. All three books about not-so-nice faeries, I enjoyed Tithe and Ironside the best as they both focused on the same set of characters. Fans of the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr would probably enjoy this interpretation of modern faeries. The heroine, Kaye, proves that green chicks are cool. Just ask Captain Kirk :)

Review: The Darkangel Trilogy by Meredith Ann Pierce

The Darkangel
The servant girl Aeriel must choose between destroying her vampire master for his evil deeds or saving him for the sake of his beauty and the spark of goodness she has seen in him.

A Gathering of Gargoyles
Painfully aware that her husband Irrylath is still not free of the White Witch's spell, Aeriel sets out on a dangerous quest to gather the winged steeds that Irrylath and his brothers need to do battle against the powerful witch.

The Pearl of the Soul of the World
With the aid of a shimmering pearl, Aeriel battles the White Witch to free her husband Irrylath and discovers her own true destiny.

These books really surprised me. I borrowed them from the library without much prior knowledge of what they were about but since I've been on a YA kick lately, I thought I would give another YA series about a vampire a try. Imagine my puzzlement when I started The Darkangel and was introduced to Aerial, a slave girl who gets kidnapped by a "vampyre". "Vampyres" in this series appear as a cross between vampire and angel, black and sinister and horrible. Aerial's vampyre isn't quite there yet as he hasn't yet fulfilled the requirements needed to gain complete vampyre existence and she starts falling for him just a little bit at first sight. Aerial's quest begins several months after she's kidnapped and sets out on a journey across her world, meeting fantastical creatures much like those in the Narnia books. 

Aerial's quest continues throughout the first two books and into the third where she finds out her destiny. Here's where the books lost me somewhat though: Aerial fights and fights to save her husband, Irrylath, and the rest of the world and then yank! There goes the rug, right out from under me. These books combined are a true fairy tale in that the reader may not get their expected happy ending and I do love a good happily ever after ending. That aside, the Darkangel trilogy was exquisitely written, never losing the fairy tale feeling that is so enjoyable. They also hold up well having been published in the late '80s and I love the covers that are on the reissued copies. I hope soon to have time to continue with Meredith Ann Pierce's Firebringer trilogy since I very much enjoyed this one.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Holy Crap Watch This!

This has been viral for a while now and as usual I am the last to know but this is so funny and so true! This clip won't play here but instead will jump to YouTube. So give it a second :)

Review: Wild Ride by Jennifer Crusie & Bob Mayer

The wildest ride at Dreamland isn’t the roller coaster.

Lots of women think they’ve fallen in love with a demon. Mab Brannigan really has...

Mary Alice Brannigan doesn't believe in the supernatural. Nor does she expect to find that she’s the newest recruit in the Guardia, an elite team of demon fighters formed centuries before to guard the five Untouchables, the most powerful demons in the history of the world, now imprisoned right there in the Dreamland amusement park. That would be bad enough, but there’s a guy she’s falling hard for, and there’s something about him that’s not quite right...

Then there’s Ethan Wayne, a former Green Beret who’s come home to Dreamland to die. Ethan has his own problems including a bullet in his chest inching closer to his heart, a true love who shoots him on sight, and a mother who drags him into the Guardia after he’s possessed by a crazed killer mermaid demon. Between ducking his mother’s attempts to reform him and dodging the bullets of a secret government agent he’s pretty sure is his soulmate, Ethan really doesn’t have time for demons, touchable or not.

But rocky romances and demented demons aren’t Mab and Ethan’s only problems: they’re also coping with a crooked politician, a supernatural raven, a secret government agency, an inexperienced sorceress, a betrayer within the Guardia, and some mind-boggling revelations from their own pasts. As their personal demons wreck their newfound relationships and real demons wreck the park, Mab and Ethan find out that the Untouchables have escaped and opened the gate to hell on earth. Now they’re facing down the Devil himself and finding out what everybody who’s ever been to an amusement park knows: the end of the ride is the wildest.

I have no idea what Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer were thinking when they wrote this book and certainly I wouldn't be so presumptuous to tell one of my favorite authors what to write about in the future but as a faithful reader, I have one thing I really need to say: Please stay away from paranormal stuff in the future. Please. Pretty pretty please.

I so wanted to like Wild Ride. I have written about how freaking fantastic I think Jennifer Crusie is (Bob Mayer deserves a mention too) and how I love her books but I have to admit, when I read the blurb for this book way before it came out I got a little nervous. Why is Jennifer Crusie writing about demons when she writes about regular people so well? I got even more nervous when Jane said she couldn't even finish it. Whoa! I had prepared myself for a book that had some problems that weren't so big that they couldn't be ignored but she couldn't even bring herself to finish it? That's so not good, I thought, but I put on my big-girl panties and sat down with this alleged odious book to see what I thought anyway.

I think this is was a mess. The goofy Jenny Crusie humor was there in spots thank goodness but the overall tone of the book was sad. "...a former Green Beret who's come home to Dreamland to die"? What's entertaining about that? And Mab, a repressed woman who spends more time involved with her artistic works than with people? What about the demonic possession and death in an old amusement park? That definitely sounds plausible to me since clowns are freaky but am I going to want to read a romance with that as the setting? Probably not. Sounds more like a Dean Koontz novel.

Maybe it’s because my copy is an ARC and they hadn't completely worked out all the bugs but some things aren’t clear, like how Ethan and Mab are basically strangers that graduated from the same high school class but by two-thirds through the book, with what seems like little interaction, are close and think of each other like siblings. I would have liked to have seen more of what their childhoods were like and seen them fleshed out a bit more. We are told that Mab’s mom was a bit fanatic about demons in the park but why? Some real family history would have been nice instead of little bits supplied when only necessary.

Not only were the platonic relationships out of whack but the romantic relationships are different than usual too: in Jenny Crusie books, the main male and female characters become romantically involved by the end but usually fight in the beginning. My favorite example of this is Bet Me. In this one, Mab falls for a drunkard who is possessed by a demon and pays her the slightest bit of attention. She goes instantly from obsessing about the decorations and artifacts in the park to becoming a infatuated with a man, then falling again with one look at another while Ethan ends up with a Homeland Security soldier who fights the paranormal, a female GI Joe. Ethan and GI Jane make sense but after Mab quickly gets over her demon and she falls for that other guy, it seems more like an afterthought, as if they don't want Mab to feel left out of the happy ending.

I'm not going to talk about all the demonic stuff happening at Dreamland except to say that in the right author's hands, it could have been good and scary as I don't think it was meant to be a romance. Though there are some amusing things about Wild Ride that stuck out to me, like there being a witch named Glenda and the squabbling demon spouses. There were periods where Wild Ride had the feel of Agnes and the Hitman, the only collaboration of the three between Crusie and Mayer that I felt was a success. Those periods were the reason that I made it through Wild Ride and for them, I thank you. On they have for a free download a short story prequel to Wild Ride called "Wild Night". I haven't read it yet as I found it as I was writing this review but maybe that will be the backstory I was looking for. Jenny Crusie has a solo book out on August 31, 2010 called Maybe This Time. Ironic title, don't you think?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Review: Without Mercy by Lisa Jackson

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jackson comes a pulse-pounding thriller that goes behind the doors of an exclusive academy with a terrifying secret...

Ever since her father was stabbed to death in a home invasion, Julia "Jules" Farentino has been plagued by nightmares. Her half-sister, Shaylee, now seventeen, has had her own difficulties since the tragedy, earning a rap sheet for drug use, theft, and vandalism. Still, when Jules learns of her mother's decision to send Shay to an elite boarding school in Oregon, she's skeptical. The Academy has a reputation for turning wayward kids around -- but one of its students went missing six months ago and her body has never been found. There are rumors she may have died during one of the school's questionable treatments. Once enrolled, Shay grows fearful, convinced her every move is being watched. And the deeper Jules digs, the more concerned she becomes.

On impulse, Jules applies for a teaching job at the Academy. Though the facility boasts state-of-the-art equipment and a breathtaking campus, Jules senses cracks in the director's do-good demeanor. Shortly before Jules arrived, a student was found hanged, and a hysterical Shay believes it was murder. Staff members are wary and unwelcoming -- all except Cooper Trent, another recent hire who has his own suspicions, and his own secrets.

Then another girl goes missing, and yet another is found dead. There's no doubt something sinister is at hand -- but Jules may be too late to stop it. Behind the Academy's idyllic veneer lurks an evil force on a brutal and terrifying mission. And Jules has become the next target of a bloodthirsty killer without limits, without remorse, without mercy...

Lisa Jackson has written some very good romantic suspense in the past. She's pretty formulaic; in many of her books, there is a hot guy from the western US, most likely the Pacific Northwest, and a woman with whom he has some history. She may be a member of a prominent family who thinks that she's slumming when it comes to him. Somebody will be angry, murderously so, said woman will be thrust into her former lover's arms, and naughty parts ensue. The hot guy will save the day and everybody, save the murderer, will live happily ever after. I've enjoyed many of these reads so if I spy with my little eye a new Lisa Jackson laying around at the local library, I'm gonna pick it up. I was looking forward to one of those good romantic suspense novels but unfortunately, Without Mercy is not one of them.

I thought that this book was boring. The only reason that I finished the book was to find out the identity of the killer. (Yes, I could have peeked but it's against my programming. As is dog-earing pages.) I do okay with predicting the killer in this genre but Jackson always tricks me and yet again, I was surprised, but not in a good way. Everybody who reads murder mysteries knows there’s no such thing as an unneeded character; each character has a purpose, even if it’s just to be part of the background and more often than not, it’s someone the author introduces and then excludes from the majority of the plot. This time when I got to the less than fantastic reveal, I thought Really? That guy? He wasn't even on my radar and it did not make sense to me why she chose them. I did like the extra twist though. THAT was interesting. Much like the end of a horror movie when you think the baddie is dead, something even worse pops up. Jackson left it open too – I wonder if she’s planning to revisit this set of characters. Ugh. I'm not sure if I'm going to want to read more about these bugass crazy people.

Formulaic romances aside, I find that Lisa Jackson’s writing style is usually agreeable. She’s not afraid to pull out the bad words when needed but she’s not profane and she may not use language that regular people would generally use but this time I thought she was being overly fancy in her prose. From page 360:
“Was it possible? Had he been covering for them? Or had they given him the slip earlier to do their horrific deed?”

Horrific deed? Who talks or thinks that way that isn’t in a Jane Austen novel?

I also was disappointed in the romance between our fearless heroine, Jules, and her ex-boyfriend who is also the hero, Connor Trent. It was as shallow, flat, and boring as the plot. It didn’t help that I found Jules to be irritating on her own. She's a shrink's dream come true and Connor should have ran the other way as soon as he could after seeing her for the first time since she dumped him five years before.

So, to sum up, Without Mercy is a somewhat interesting yet lackluster murder mystery with some romance, suspense, and an irritating heroine. It did, however, have an interesting twist at the end which was good. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone other than the most devout Lisa Jackson lovers. 

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Review: Revenge of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz


Private investigator Isabel Spellman is back on the case and back on the couch—in court ordered therapy after getting a little too close to her previous subject. As the book opens, Izzy is on hiatus from Spellman Inc. But when her boss, Milo, simultaneously cuts her bartending hours and introduces her to a “friend” looking for a private eye, Izzy reluctantly finds herself with a new client. She assures herself that the case—a suspicious husband who wants his wife tailed—will be short and sweet, and will involve nothing more than the most boring of PI rituals: surveillance. But with each passing hour, Izzy finds herself with more questions than hard evidence.

Meanwhile, Spellmania continues. Izzy’s brother, David, the family’s most upright member, has adopted an uncharacteristically unkempt appearance and attitude toward work, life, and Izzy. And their wayward youngest sister, Rae, a historic academic underachiever, aces the PSATs and subsequently offends her study partner and object of obsession, Detective Henry Stone, to the point of excommunication. The only unsurprising behavior comes from her parents, whose visits to Milo’s bar amount to thinly veiled surveillance and artful attempts (read: blackmail) at getting Izzy to return to the Spellman Inc. fold.

As the case of the wayward wife continues to vex her, Izzy’s personal life—and mental health— seem to be disintegrating. Facing a housing crisis, she can’t sleep, she can’t remember where she parked her car, and, despite her shrinks’ persistence, she can’t seem to break through in her appointments. She certainly can’t explain why she forgets dates with her lawyer’s grandson, or fails to interpret the come-ons issued in an Irish brogue by Milo’s new bartender. Nor can she explain exactly how she feels about Detective Henry Stone and his plans to move in with his new Assistant DA girlfriend . . .

Filled with the signature side-splitting Spellmanantics, Revenge of the Spellmans is an ingenious, hilarious, and disarmingly tender installment in the Spellman series.

Revenge of the Spellmans is the 3rd book in the Izzy Spellman mystery series. This story has everything; zany characters, humor, suspense, and even some heartfelt moments. Izzy, who has worked for her parent’s PI firm since the age of 12, decides to take some time off from the family business to decide what she wants to do with her life. She moves into her brother’s guest apartment without his knowledge. So worried that her brother will find out, she ends up with a bad case of insomnia. Her car is never where she last parked it but that’s ok because she found out that she could get a good nap in while riding the bus. And that’s just the beginning of Izzy’s wild and crazy escapades. The only issue I had with this story was with Izzy’s younger sister Rae. At 14, her recalcitrant behavior was cute, at 16, not so much. But even with that minor irritation I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read the 4th installment in this series, The Spellmans Strike Again.

If you enjoyed Stephanie Plum’s antics you might just want to give this series a try. A word of warning though, be prepared to giggle and snort. In fact, you might not want to read this in public for fear of people looking at you strangely when you fall on the floor laughing. Just thought I’d warn you. I do recommend reading The Spellman Files and Curse of the Spellmans prior to this one so that you can enjoy the wonderful character development.

I give it a B+.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Happy Dance Time redux (Snoopy-free edition)

Look at what my lovely mail carrier left for me in the mailbox today:

J. R. Ward's books tend to be on the naughty side but this one looks as if it may take top honors in that category. It's not like that's going to stop me from reading it or anything :)

Just a note about Amazon: I preorder hardbacks from them because it's convenient for me and they always have the lowest prices for new books like this (I paid $9.99 each for Lover Mine. And Changes. And Dead in the Family. And Silver Borne...) That probably makes me evil since everybody's hating Amazon these days but my addiction is too expensive to dump them and eat the difference. I buy my paperbacks locally.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Our Most Anticipated Books for May

This is a new monthly post we'll be doing where we both will pick the books we each are most looking forward to getting this month. Since we're still working out the details of how we're going to be doing joint posts and whatnot so I'll be doing the posting for this one. Here's my pick...

The ultimate secret. The ultimate agent. The President's vampire.
Zach Barrows is an ambitious young White House staffer whose career takes an unexpected turn when he's partnered with Nathaniel Cade, a secret agent sworn to protect the president. But Cade is no ordinary civil servant. Bound by a special blood oath, Cade has spent more than 140 years in service to the president, battling nightmares before they can break into the daylight world of the American dream.
Immediately Zach and Cade receive their first joint assignment: one that uncovers a shadowy government conspiracy and a plot to attack the Unites States with a gruesome new biological weapon. Zach soon learns that the world is far stranger, and far more dangerous, than he ever imagined . . . and that his partner is the least of his problems.
There are a ton of awesome books coming out this month but this book caught my eye last fall and I have been lusting after it ever since. I'm a fan of Tom Clancy as well as Vince Flynn (I know, it's weird) so when I read Blood Oath's description I thought, "Clancy with vampires? Cool!"

Here are Jane's picks:

The #1 New York Times bestselling Sookie Stackhouse series - the basis for HBO's True Blood - continues!
After enduring torture and the loss of loved ones during the brief but deadly Faery War, Sookie Stackhouse is hurt and she's angry. Just about the only bright spot in her life is the love she thinks she feels for vampire Eric Northman. But he's under scrutiny by the new Vampire King because of their relationship. And as the political implications of the Shifters coming out are beginning to be felt, Sookie's connection to the Shreveport pack draws her into the debate. Worst of all, though the door to Faery has been closed, there are still some Fae on the human side-and one of them is angry at Sookie. Very, very angry...

The stunning third and final novel in Stieg Larsson’s internationally best-selling trilogy
Lisbeth Salander—the heart of Larsson’s two previous novels—lies in critical condition, a bullet wound to her head, in the intensive care unit of a Swedish city hospital. She’s fighting for her life in more ways than one: if and when she recovers, she’ll be taken back to Stockholm to stand trial for three murders. With the help of her friend, journalist Mikael Blomkvist, she will not only have to prove her innocence, but also identify and denounce those in authority who have allowed the vulnerable, like herself, to suffer abuse and violence. And, on her own, she will plot revenge—against the man who tried to kill her, and the corrupt government institutions that very nearly destroyed her life.
Once upon a time, she was a victim. Now Salander is fighting back.
Jane says:
I have TWO books that are coming out this month that I'm really excited about. The first one is Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris which is being release tomorrow...yeah! I've already pre-ordered it. The other one is The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson being released on May 25th. That one I plan on reading as an ebook.

Back to Jen:
There you go, folks. All three books mentioned here are on my TBR list with Sookie and Blood Oath also on pre-order. Lisbeth I'll get from the library. I can't wait to see what she does.