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The Agency For Crime Investigation And Defense, or as they are better known – ACID, seized power and slowly turned the UK into a police state, where they have absolute power over the country and every individual living in it. They tell you who to marry, when to have kids, where you will live, what your job is - they have sensors in your home - they have rules for everything and mandatory meetings to attend. Any dissidence is quickly squashed through the most brutal means, because once ACID notices you their eyes rarely shift away. And should you be arrested…..it is unlikely you will be seen again.
Jenna Strong knows this better than anyone, but her crime wasn’t seditious - she confessed and was convicted of killing her parents. She is the youngest person ever to be tried/convicted and sent to prison (an adult one of course) since ACID seized power. Jenna was only fifteen. Then, two years into her eighty year sentence, a rebel group breaks her out of jail, gives her a false identity, a new face and fake life partner. Why? Because they believe she may be able to help them bring down ACID and in turn they will help her remember what really happened the night she murdered her parents.
This book is a thriller. If you are looking for a fast-paced story filled with twists, turns and surprises, I would recommend this book for you. To help keep the pace quick, Pass uses a number of writing devices like emails, news bulletins, “hand written” notes, and the like which quickly bring the reader up to speed without bogging down the storyline with extra text. They also help to enhance the police state atmosphere Pass works to foster in her reader’s minds.
While ACID’s premise isn’t necessarily the most unique, recent titles like Matched, Divergent and The Hunger Games (for that matter if you go far enough back Brave New World fits, but I think it serves as inspiration rather than being a derivative- but I digress) all have similar elements. But the difference between ACID and the others boils down to the seriously furious pace it has. Jenna starts out tough - her two years in prison bled out any softness in her character. The book is less convoluted (because it’s a single book rather than a series) and in some ways is more brutal.
Why should you read it? ACID is fun, interesting, a fast-paced YA thriller which delivers precisely what the back cover blurb claims. If you have a slightly reluctant reader who needs something to grab ahold of them, I think this might be their book (it is very female centric so a reluctant male reader may balk at the book). If Pass keeps this book a stand-alone title, you will never feel wanting in the ending of ACID; however there is enough wiggle room that a follow up may be possible sometime in our future! And that would be very exciting!
A woman who led an extraordinarily boring life has disappeared without a trace, which has completely flumoxed the police, her family and New York City. Until Macloud, the woman's father's law partner, asks his friend Gamadge to take a look into things and see if he can do what everyone else has failed at - finding Alice Dunbar. Gamadge, being at loose ends because his wife and son are off in the country, decides to take a quick look and soon finds himself hip deep in boring relatives, unmet expectations and jilted lovers.
While this book is only billed as a novella (as it is 170 pages long) it is worth your time! This mystery is well thought out, tight in execution and lovely in its solution. It is no secret that I find Elizabeth Daly's mysteries wonderful to read and this book is no exception. I think the brevity of a novella worked well for her, as it did for many Golden Age authors, it made her mystery stronger as the need for adding red herrings and false leads were limited. But I must stress, the book doesn't feel like a novella - it feels like a full length novel - Gamadge never feels rushed. Just like every other installment - Gamadge takes his time, making sure he is solid in his observation and investigations before accusations are made.
Just trust me if you like any of the four Queens of Crime, you will like these books and you should buy them post-haste! Trust me!
There is a sniper on the loose in NY – one the NYPSD has profiled as a long distance serial killer, a type of crime which hasn’t really been seen since the Urban Wars. To help Eve, Roarke writes a computer program which uses geometry of the murder scenes to help narrow down where the sniper’s nest is located – which turns out to be wildly successful. But that program provides a huge shock – there are two shooters and one is a teen…. So once again Eve and her team are racing against the clock to catch the killers before they strike again.
The past few Robb books have been a bit off – i.e. too violent or cozy – they felt like someone else was following a formula and writing them. This book however does not! This book feels like the Dallas of old and is WONDERFUL!
Seriously, if you have read this series before, I think you will be pleased with this book – it has everything you look for in an Eve Dallas book without ever feeling formulaic or forced. I can honestly say this is the best book in the last six or eight in the series. If you’ve enjoyed the series in the past and need a fix which will leave you satisfied when it finishes – then this is the book for you!
(Fran nods vigorously, agreeing completely with Amber on her take on this latest J. D. Robb! So good!)
“How could Lindsey possibly ignore what Nancy Drew would certainly call The Case of the Overdue Library Book?”, and this line sums up this book rather nicely! Our head librarian, Lindsey Norris, holds the library’s first ever fine amnesty day at the Briar Creek Library – and is completely astounded at the sheer quantity of books which are returned! (They probebly were too scared to face Ms. Cole - aka The Lemon - to pay their fine!). However, one volume in particular caught Lindsey’s attention, a copy of Catcher In The Rye which was checked out twenty years earlier by a popular teacher on the same day as her murder.
Lindsey, unable to resist a mystery which literally dropped into her lap, begins to investigate who dropped off the book, because it was most likely our killer….
It has been a while since I have read a book in this series – and I am glad I picked this book up! It was an entertaining read with a mystery I wanted to figure out who did it. While it doesn’t play exactly by the rules of fair play (and yes I think reading all of the golden age mysteries has spoiled me a bit that way) I did really enjoy meeting the afternoon crafter reading group, her perky puppy and all the small mysteries which abound in a small town. You don’t have to read the first book in this series to understand what is going on in this book – it would help – but it isn’t required if you have ever read a serial mystery before!
I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a lighter read which makes you feel like you are meeting old friends and solving mysteries with them!
Eleven years have passed since the Collapse of 2028, when law and order took a holiday. For some parts of the U.S., the Collapse was barely a blip on the radar. For L.A., not so much. Portions of the city were walled off and anyone caught there whether a villain or not you were stuck there – lawless, violent fiefdoms ruled by whatever gang was the strongest.
This is the L.A. where the firm of Keane & Fowler ply their trade as phenomenological inquisitors (or to the uninitiated Private Investigators). They have been hired by a scientific research company to find a missing sheep – a really big sheep named Mary (she’s roughly the size of a buffalo). The Case of the Missing Sheep had barely begun when a woman, a seriously popular starlette, turns up on their doorstep. Priya claims her life is in danger and that she’s been instructed to seek out Keane for answers and protection, which sounds a bit crazy as she is surrounded day and night by her own security personnel. Even weirder, this warning was delivered by Noogus – the name of her childhood teddy bear – a detail which is unlikely anyone else but her knows. Fowler is ready to show her the door (due to her loose grasp on reality and paranoia) when Keane wanders in and takes the case.
But what soon becomes evident is The Case of the Missing Sheep and The Case of the Concerned Teddy Bear (as Keane dubbed them) are somehow linked to each other and to the Collapse eleven years earlier…..
If you took Phillip Marlowe and paired him with Dirk Gently in an L.A. imagined by Phillip K. Dick this would give you an idea of The Big Sheep. It is a wonderful blend of all three of these influences while creating something new from them.
Why I liked this book: it is fast paced, none of the characters are exactly who/what they seem, the mystery is both serious & farcical at the same time and you never know exactly what is going to come out of Keane’s mouth next. The mystery and conspiracies are solid, engaging and make for very compelling reading. I really enjoyed this book (I read it in a day and a half; it would have been less time but, well, I do need to sleep some time) and this style isn’t usually in my bailiwick. And even more unusual is the fact I really hope there will be a sequel because I really want to know what happens next!
I am not doing justice to this story – just believe me when I say if you like mysteries blended with just a dollop of science fiction – I would place money on you enjoying this book!
This is a great comic if you have ever struggled to find a job (and/or keep a job, in Elliot's case) while being pushed by family or friends to find a job! When desperation strikes and there is only one job left which you might be remotely qualified for (as Elliot lives in a smallish town where a Chem degree doesn't get you very far) is with a scientist who sounds very creepy over the phone and gives you an insane deadline!
Seriously this was a great comic to read, the art was well done and the storyline engaging. I absolutely cannot wait until September when Volume 2 is released! If you are looking for a book to follow up Last Call At The Nightshade Lounge I would recommend this graphic novel!
Meet Sabina Carpenter & John Quincannon private investigators plying their trade in 1890’s San Francisco. The former secret Service agent and Pinkerton Operative have little trouble finding clients - in this case, Quincannon is hired to foil a serial burglar and Carpenter to sniff out a pick pocket targeting men in the Chutes Amusement Park. While getting clients doesn’t seem to be a problem, keeping them might be - as both investigations soon devolve into a tangled mess!
I really enjoyed this mystery! Written in alternating chapters between John & Sabina’s point of view, the book never becomes confusing as the two characters are very different and don’t restate facts which would make much of the text redundant! Another feature I enjoyed was the fact that they use much of the vocabulary of the period - without falling victim to using the vernacular - which I find wholly distracting. A fine point, I realize, but an important distinction I think.
Another aspect I found great fun with - in this version of the world - Sherlock Holmes is a real person and Watson his biographer. The Bughouse Affair is set after the events of Reichenbach Falls and everyone knows that Holmes is dead. However not everyone seems to agrees with this consensus - as a man claiming to be Holmes is visiting San Francisco and is more than ready to “help” Quincannon with his investigation - much to his consternation. This added element is great! Holmes is a huge wild card in the narrative helping to keep it from ever becoming predictable.
But mostly I just enjoyed the writing - Muller and Pronzini do a wonderful job with this book (I would expect nothing less from these two Grand Masters). The plot is well put together, the characters are fun (if perhaps a little bit obvious - but this is a first book in a series and you need a bit of an introduction - which isn’t a problem in the second in series) and filled with history which helps paint a very interesting setting (without ever trying to educate you - which can be tiresome after a while - but gives just enough information you can research the fact on your own should you wish).
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading historical mysteries and is looking for something a bit different (different in that it is set in the US vs. the UK as many, many historical mysteries are!).
The books Steelheart and Firefight have been building to this final confrontation with Calamity - an unknown epic who is gifting abilities to humans the world over. But here’s the thing, is he gift more than just powers?
The biggest fly in the ointment in figuring out Calamity is the Professor. The Reckoner’s (resistance fighters) former leader (an Epic himself) who has been fully corrupted by his powers. Now going by the name Limelight, the Prof is following an plan to some unknown ends and seems to be making headway with it. David, who now leads the Reckoners, has his own plan - he wants to save to Prof from himself - which poses several problems: first David doesn’t know the Prof’s weakness (Epics always have one, its what negates their powers and makes them much easier to kill). Second if the Prof spots them, he will hunt them to the ends of the earth to finish them off. Third if the Reckoners don’t deal with Calamity as well, it doesn’t matter if they save the Prof, because there are too many other Epics out there willing to take his place - and there is flat too many of them out there for the Reckoners to kill them all…..
Wow! From beginning to end this book is a non-stop action packed conclusion to this series. Seriously, it was really difficult to put down once I started it!
Without giving any spoilers, Sanderson does a great job in giving a satisfying conclusion to the series - which as readers well know doesn’t always happen! Plus just like the other two books, Calamity has a great sense of humor, with some truly magnificent one liners which still make me giggle when I think about them! Plus Sanderson leaves a bit of wiggle room so that should he want - he can return to this world and write another set of books in it and have it make sense that he can do so.
Now here’s the thing- you do need to read both Steelheart and Firefight before tackling Calamity - since it will make little sense otherwise. However the other two books are wonderful as well so I have no reservations in recommending the whole series to you all. Well that is if you enjoy reading funny, action urban fantasy mysteries. I might recommend them to you if you are looking for something a bit different to read as well - they are just simply great!
Information. This book is all about the power associated with the control of information and how it can be manipulated in order to control people’s actions. In this case, an unnamed agency within the US government is trying to manipulate a former employee into one last job.
Which doesn’t sound so bad until you undertsand that she was fired – her bosses decided to assassinate her and her coworker – because they were exposed to too much sensitive information over the years. Alex managed to get away but the other member of her department wasn’t so lucky – and she’s been on the run ever since.
And this is all I can tell you about the book. Because if I say anymore I will spoil it for you! This book is good. The type of good which makes-you-feel-highly-annoyed-when-your-husband-decides-to-start-talking to-you-while-you’re-reading type of good. Seriously, it is well paced, suspenseful and makes you want to know exactly what happens next! And this book is all about information - how it is aquired, applied and edited in order to reach the desired outcome. Meyer does a great job of slowly doling out the bread crumbs, to her characters and readers alike keeping everyone moving forward at a break-neck speed – in this way it reminds me of a golden age mystery.
However. There is a small issue which keeps this book from being accesible to the main core of suspense, spy or thriller readers – it has a slightly heavy-handed romance wedged into the center third of the book - which will relegate it to the open minded suspense readers or the romantic suspense readers whom I would recommend this book to.
The problem is the romantic angle is a bit forced into the narrative – if it had have been treated as a minor subplot (that it was) and alluded to it would have been fine – BUT – it wasn’t. Taking a tightly wound novel and slowing down the pace for no other reason than trying to keep her Twilight audience happy (without having anyone sparkle anywhere in the book) was, in my opinion, a mistake. The first and last third of the book are Excellent! The middle third is good – but sucks the quality of the entire book down to an A- where it could have been an A+ book. Which is frustrating.
I would still encourage people to read it as it is still a very good book – it just could have been a tad better.
To all the ladies of indeterminate age I have offended - I proffer this apology. Well most of an apology. Definitely in the realm of thirty percent of an apology…
For several years now I have been recommending the Phryne Fisher series to ladies of indeterminate age. The flaw in this recommendation is not in the books themselves, but in basing my recommendation on a review by someone who I thought was trustworthy in their assessments of books (I am seriously readdressing my confidence in their judgment). Meaning? Up until a couple of weeks ago, I hadn’t read Cocaine Blues myself…
Man, I didn’t know what I was missing! These books are great fun! Cocaine Blues, the first in series, is wonderful. When we meet Miss Fisher, she is approached by an anxious father and mother (family acquaintances) who are worried about their daughter. They think that their daughter’s husband might be poisoning her in order to inherit her money. Miss Fisher, who is at loose ends in England, agrees to the commission and sails to Melbourne (Australia in case you are geography challenged) to investigate.
And investigate she does! Uncovering communists, corrupt cops and cocaine in the execution of her commission - it was one wild ride!
Now this is where I must offer up at least twenty-five percent of an apology. I was under the impression that these books were written in the traditional English cozy style (think Agatha Christie only in Australia), a subgenre famous for its lack of onstage violence or sex and strong language. Well, those of you who have read Miss Fisher must be giggling a little by now - since Miss Fisher breaks all these rules! She has few qualms with following the investigation (or her own fancy) wherever it may lead, whether it is letting a Russian dancer seduce her, perpetrating revenge or cracking a smuggling ring - she does it all on her own terms. Which is great fun to read!
There is swearing, drinking, sex, violence and much more…and yet these books are charming. Greenwood does a great job of dancing on and around the line keeping them both tasteful and shocking - without becoming gratuitous. The main mystery itself is well worked and plotted, perhaps as a veteran reader it is a hair obvious, however all the smaller mysteries are a bit more obscure and well executed. Greenwood also does a great job in creating an array of people whom you become interested in reading about and getting to know better in future installments. I managed to devour the first five of the series in rapid succession before I had to forcibly slow myself down or I would read them too fast!
Here’s where I am offering fifteen percent of an apology to all the relatives and to the ladies themselves (of indeterminate age) who came in looking for nice soft cozies, books where “ah shucks!” is the strongest epithet used and a peck on the cheek considered scandalous. Readers who might have been a bit shocked when they started reading about Miss Fisher’s exploits. Now that I have read these delightful, well polished mysteries I have a hard time even offering up ten percent of an apology! Especially since I find myself in a position where my formerly uninformed opinion of the books was good, now that I have read them my good opinion has been strengthen to great!
So here it is - To all the ladies of indeterminate age & their families I have offended by offering an excellent book (Cocaine Blues) which did not follow the conventions of the fiction I thought I was suggesting - I offer five percent of an apology and the assurance that in the future I will place a caveat (ie. telling them its lack of coziness) on this great series when I place Cocaine Blues in their hands and tell them they should read it!
When we last left Georgie and Darcy, they were winging their way to Gretna Green (if you are unfamiliar with it, this is the much earlier, English & elegant version of Las Vegas’s quickie marriage spots) to get married. A blizzard however puts a crimp in their plans – dumping enough snow to make them rearrange their plans. In the middle of their travel adjustments, Darcy spies a headline in a newspaper – an Irish peer (his father) has been accused of murder.
Never one to let family face their misfourtunes alone, Darcy heads back to Ireland to support his father, but when he gets there he discovers his father had ample motives to wish the victim dead. So in a fit of chivalry he calls Georgie and breaks off their engagment – thinking it is the best thing for her….But Georgie has her own plans.
This is a great installment in this series! I was really pleased when I finished it! You learn much more about Darcy and his eccentric family and his childhood home – which is nice – making him seem less like a rake and more man of mystery (as his employment is still largly undefined). What was even better is Bowen concentrated on the mystery – without adding any mysterious elements – like ghosts.
Bowen also did a great job of setting up some of the problems which still face the couple and possible solutions to them, leaving you satisfied with the ending of this book but wondering what will become of them – and I cannot wait to see what happens! Plus the specter of looming WWII which is slowly creeping up on the characters, the death of the King and abdication of his heir – all makes you wonder what will happen next!
I highly recommend reading this installment – you won’t be disappointed.
Since the last full length Lady Julia Grey book in 2011, The Dark Enquiry (I haven’t read the novellas as they are only available as ebooks) I have been jonesing for a new mystery novel from Deanna Raybourn and now I can happily say she is back with a whole new series! With a fantastic new heroine!
Victoria Speedwell a lepidopterist of some renown. She has traveled all over the world to find new and exotic flitting, bright butterflies to write about and sell. But for the past couple of years, her wings have been clipped as she’s been bound to a small English village caring for her aunt through her last illness. After the elderly lady is buried, Miss Speedwell has plans to travel the world in pursuit of her elusive winged friends. Well that’s the plan anyway.
Everything goes pear shaped when, upon return home from her aunt’s funeral to retrieve her travel bag Miss Speedwell discovers that her home is being burgled. After a scuffle and a surprising rescue, Miss Speedwell finds herself embroiled in machinations she knows nothing about and cannot fathom. She is teamed up with another naturalist, a Mr. Stoker (no relation to Bram, thank goodness) who swears an oath to his oldest friend promising to keep her safe from persons unknown. The situation quickly devolves to simple flight as Miss Speedwell needs to keep moving or a past she never knew she had is going to catch up with her….
Lepidopterist is the term used for people who collect and/or study butterflies and moths (although Miss Speedwell would never be caught among the “moth people”). This term was coined by Carl Linnaeus, a Swedish scientist who is known as the father of modern taxonomy (he came up with the universally accepted method of naming living things) and is one of the fathers of modern ecology (among other notable accomplishments). And to complete your quota of random trivia for the day, Vladimir Nabokov the author of Lolita, was an avid lepidopterist who wrote several highly technical papers about the subject! Who knew? I certainly didn’t.
The only two mysteries I found that featured lepidopterist charecters are in The Hound of the Baskervilles and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. But in neither case does this passion/obsession figure into the stories in any truly meaningful way (or so I am told). In A Curious Beginning, this winged fascination is used with the utmost care by Raybourn. It provides motivation for Miss Speedwell: her traveling, her men and her living are all wrapped up in this scientific field. But what it does not do is take over the entire story; this book is not a themed novel - you will not have to worry about a whole string of butterfly themed books being published in the furture. Raybourn does a great job of keeping lepidoptery from overwhelming the story. Instead, it lends believability. I never once found it distracting; in fact I found it fascinating. So unless you suffer from Lepidopterophobia or Mottephobia (phobia of butterflies and moths as Nicole Kidman is rumored to have) I would recommend this book to you!
This is a lively adventure/mystery! It starts off with a bang and it is all go until the end and I had quite an enjoyable time on the ride! It does have a dollop of romantic tension without any bodice ripping present. The focus of the book is on Miss Speedwell and the adventure she inadvertently finds herself in. Now this is a historical mystery set in 1887 London, just so you know, and Miss Speedwell enjoys speaking her mind and doing things her own way - much to the shock and consternation of those around her.
My only critique for A Curious Beginning is a small one: in it Raybourn presses up to just this side of the line of having too many coincidences occurring in her story. But if you step back and look at the book as a fun adventure/mystery book, like Agatha Christie’s The Man In The Brown Suit, the issue melts away into a lively narrative which I found thoroughly enjoyable. I cannot wait until the next installment comes out! (Raybourn blogged she turned in the manuscript for the second book in the series at the end of August and I am really excited for it to come out!).
Have you ever wondered what would have happened if Buffy Summers from Sunnydale (ie. Buffy, The Vampire Slayer) had been born in Regency England, specifically in 1812 London? The Dark Days Club gives you a bit of hint of what she and her world might have looked like. Now having made this comparison I must set a disclaimer - this is not a vampire novel in any way, shape or form. Supernatural yes, vampire no.
Meet Lady Helen Wrexhall, an eighteen year old heiress, who is standing on the precipice of her first season in high society. Her first introduction into it will be held in the drawing room of Queen Charlotte (the wife of Mad King George), where a curtsey, a murmured greeting and a kiss from the Queen would determine so much about how successful Lady Helen’s (and for that matter every girl who managed to secure a place on the presentation list) season would turn out. On the brink of this most important day, one of the household maids goes missing. Albeit this is not an unusual occurrence in a household staff as large as her Aunt and Uncle’s, but it does upset her friend/maid, Darby, so Lady Helen promises to do what she can to help locate the missing girl - since the rest of the household seems disinterested in her fate.
This is not the only mystery which has crept into Lady Helen’s sphere; it is however the newest and the only one she has the smallest hope of solving. Well, it is the newest mystery until Lord Carlston (distant familial connection and black sheep) steals an irreplaceable treasure from Lady Helen while she is waiting for her royal presentation for no reason apparent to Lady Helen. These two seemingly unrelated events crack Lady Helen’s clear and simple world into one filled with more shades of grey than she knew ever existed.
While I was reading the opening chapters leading up to Lady Helen’s presentation I felt the pressure I usually feel when reading Regency pieces - a sense of foreboding that somehow her curtsey would go wrong and she’d end up on her back with her underpants being shown to the world (due to her hoop skirt) or she would say the wrong thing about her mother (whose death was mysteriously linked with treachery) or a multitude of other social faux pas which could and did happen during to heroines written during this period. But Lady Helen’s sheer wit and humor propelled me through the pages and we both made it through her presentation with questions but on the whole unscathed.
The prose Goodman writes is really strong and gave me faith my worries over her employing well worn and potentially trite plot devices would be unfounded and boy was I right! Goodman does a fantastic job of pairing Regency social rules with a seriously paced supernatural mystery. At the same time Goodman makes sure her characters care about keeping with propriety even when faced with challenging circumstances. Lady Helen does not throw caution to the wind to follow where events are taking her, thus making her an object of ridicule - which is unlike many books with a similar feel. But Goodman does a great job of keeping this focus from making the book feel stiff or from stealing the focus from the mysteries Helen is trying to solve.
The DDC also does a wonderful job in showing (never telling) a wide range of views and the power men held over women during this period - without EVER making it feel stilted or unbelievable. She also showed with varying degrees how women themselves coped in this male dominated age. All of which helped propel the narrative forward at an increasingly breakneck speed!
This is a fantastic book! While labeled YA it really doesn’t feel that way - if you read Pride and Prejudice (Dark Days Club is far more dynamic and exciting - sorry P & P) or Soulless (DDC is not the least bit steampunk - but has more manners and less skin - but they share a similar wry humor) or Deanna Raybourn (similar feel to the pacing of mysteries both in the ones solved and in those left for us to speculate on while waiting for the next in series) I think you’d really enjoy this book.
The paranormal element is worked cleanly into the story and makes sense historically speaking with the amount of unrest during this period. Luddites, Napoleon, the specter of the French Terror, poverty and the general lawlessness rampant in parts of the country - these historical facts (and use societal rules for that matter) lend the book an air of credibility to The DDC making it feel far more plausible than other books written in a similar vein. Again while this information is present it is not trying to teach you - like message books do - Goodman simply slips the history in as background details. Once again showing her readers rather than telling them about what is going on in this day in history - Goodman is flawless in her ability to slip these details in.
While it won’t be out in time for the holidays, if you need a late gift for a reader I cannot think of a better book for a fan of this period looking for something a bit different. I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone and everyone who will listen when it comes out (an apparently before as I am writing this review!). Seriously if you need something to break up the post-holiday blues I think this will be the book for you!
FYI - This series will be a trilogy with the next two books coming out in succeeding years and I simply cannot wait to read them! Can you tell that I liked it?
A pair of sadistic killers (who fancy themselves in love) have traveled across the US to see the bright lights of New York City. Lieutenant Eve Dallas obviously has other plans and begins hunting them as soon as the first body is dropped, and she discovers they have left a long trail behind them - including one Sheriff’s deputy who is intent as Eve is on catching this pair of lovers.
This book hits all the notes you expect an Eve Dallas book to hit - a race against time, a fight between Eve & Roarke, snark from Summerset and general kick-ass-ery of all the cops under her command. What I really enjoyed was the introduction of a new character - Deputy Banner, who teamed up with Dallas (don’t worry Peabody is still front and center) for interviews and investigation - I really hope we see him again! For bonus comic relief we watch Baxter completely freak out when Trueheart takes his detective’s exam to earn his gold shield. Supplemented by Eve’s constant mutilation of common phrases which is hilarious and her thoughts on times zones, I found lots to giggle over as well!
Overall it was a fun read and if you liked the other books in the In Death series I don’t think you will be left wanting with this installment! If you have not read any of the Eve Dallas books, you could start with this book and be OK - but you should really start with the first, Naked In Death and read the other forty odd other books in between to get the absolute most out of this stories! (You become hooked after a while…..)
Roots, ties, a general sense of belonging – things Lois Lane never really experienced before; as an Army brat her family moved around too much for these bonds to form. But now in Metropolis, she is weaving her life into the larger tapestry of the city and trying to make it better. But it has been two weeks since her and her friends on the Daily Scoop (the teen version of The Daily Plant) exposed the corrupt gaming company and their unauthorized experiment on her classmates… and Lois is chafing at having to work on a puff piece for the paper. Spotlighting the work an artist and classmate is doing to trying and revitalize a neighborhood everyone has given up on. But you never know when a story will find you! During Lois’s interview, her best friend’s twin sister (The Queen Bee of her high school – the twin, not Lois’s friend) steps out of a cab and collapses on the sidewalk. She’s looking for a doctor who sampled her DNA two years before, gave her a syringe full of something and told her to be on the lookout for some rather oddly specific side effects. This chance encounter leads to a frame job, a mad scientist, mobsters and Lois’s second big story for her editor!
I devoured this book in one sitting! I don’t know how Bond does it, but she takes thrilling comic book-esque plots - novelizes them - and makes them feel plausible. Double Down is a well plotted fast paced mystery which does not rely on the comic canon in order to make it work – which is really is a great feature. So you don’t have to have read extensively (or any at all for that matter) in the comic realm in order to understand what’s going on (I’m not sure if you get more out of the books or not – as I fall into the former group). Bond does really well in making Lois into her own person, without being lost in the shadow of Superman and the issue of really how did a pair of glasses disguise Clark Kent’s alter ego so well?
But this series starts before she is an ace reporter for The Daily Planet – right now she is sixteen and trying to cut her teeth in the newspaper business – while trying to figure out what is means to belong somewhere. Superman is present as well in the series – but once again before the cape and spandex come out of the closet. Right now he is her semi-mysterious (as he will tell her many things, but not his name) online friend…
I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed reading Double Down and Fallout! These are fantastic mysteries which stand on their own merit. If you have a reluctant girl reader who likes any of the comic book based shows – Smallville, Green Arrow or The Flash, I think this would be a great series for them, or for someone looking for books in a similar vein. I would recommend these two books to them without any hesitation!
This book came in our quarterly box of upcoming and new books, which coincidentally corresponded with me finishing the book I was reading at work - and hadn’t brought any back-up reading material with me for this eventuality. Otherwise I don’t think I would have ever picked up this book on my own.
I would have missed out on a great mystery if the planets hadn’t aligned just right that day.
Gwenda Bond’s Fallout is the start of a new YA mystery series which among other things tells us how Lois Lane becomes Lois Lane star reporter for the Daily Planet. Yes that Lois Lane, the girl who was fooled by a simple pair of glass on Clark Kent’s face missing the fact he was the ater-ego for Superman.
Now don’t tune me out.
Fallout takes us back to Lois Lane’s high school days (it is set in the present day-ish). Her father has retired from the Army and the family has moved to Metropolis where they plan to put down roots. Lois’s plan is to fly under the radar and stay out of trouble….for once. Not that her previous troubles were exactly her fault, some people need defending and injustices examined. But as they say the best laid plans of mice and men…
When she witnesses a classmate being seriously bullied and the school administration doing nothing to stop it, Lois cannot help but leap in to the fray to right this wrong. She drags along her new cohorts on the newspaper staff into things and begins investigating. She quickly uncovers a much larger conspiracy at work implicating one of the largest tech firms in Metropolis, one her father is interviewing with, which means she has to pull out her secret weapon, an online friend she knows only as SmallvilleGuy, who is very good with computers and tracking down information – well, with his help, she might just stand a chance of figuring out what‘s going on!
This was a great read. Seriously. If you replaced all the names in the book to generic ones like Tom, Dick and Jane - the mystery itself would still be outstanding. It does not rely on the Superman and Lois Lane canon in order to make the plot work. Bond does what any first book does and introduces you to the characters just as if they were brand new, so an extensive background in the comics isn’t required in order to understand what’s going on.
While extensive knowledge isn’t needed, a little basic knowledge of who Lois Lane and SmallvilleGuy grow up to be is helpful and adds to the narrative. Lois has never met Clark Kent - she only knows him by his online handle SmallvilleGuy - but we as readers know who SmallvilleGuy is. Bond cleverly uses our general cultural knowledge of these two characters to her advantage - it sucks all the creepiness out of the online exchanges between the two, which might have threatened to overwhelm the book, since it is not out of the realm of possiblility that he is an online stalker named Biff three towns over who is trying to goom her for…..well, things that are unpleasant to think about.
This is a YA novel I would recommend to anyone 14 years and older, generally speaking. It feels like it has more of a female lean (as there is just a bit of romantic tension). Not a book – probably – for a serious comic book reader, but fun for someone who is looking for a strong independent female lead reminiscent of Veronica Mars or Buffy. This is a great mystery and I cannot wait until the next installment in the series is released!
Genere: Steampunk, Mystery & Creatures
Would I Recommend? Hells Yes!
Summary: It is 2012 and Queen Victoria still reigns supreme…175 years on. You see when the plague ripped through the population of London (you know the one blamed on rats) a genetic mutation occurred in the aristocracy causing a slightly different royal disease to occur (instead of hemophilia). The mutation caused them to become vampires, werewolves or goblins.
More importantly to our story it also indirectly created half-bloods, children of aristocrats and humans. Who since they are more than a human but less than a full blood are given the job of protecting the aristos; the very best are in the Royal Guard. Enter our intrepid hero Xandra Vardan, a halvie in said guard who is very good at her job. So when her sister Dede goes missing Xandra is more than willing to chase after her. Which leads down the rabbit hole of conspiracies, medical experimentation, assassination and betrayal.
Review: It is not often that a book matches its’ cover - either they are to bland, totally misrepresent what the book is about or for some inexplicable reason contains a spoiler! (Agatha Christie covers I notice are notorious in spoiler flaws) And as a bookseller I am forever telling people not to judge a book by its cover, but sometimes it just happens - even to the best of us! In this case it was so absolutely grand! The characters are colorful, the mystery fast paced & twisty and no one is really safe! Seriously the best word to describe this book is FUN!
Xandra is an odd combination of temper, snark and impatience who walks a very fine line with the reader, skating just this side of the line of being consumed by said flaws which would have rendered her (and subsequently the book) unreadable. However Locke does a great job in balancing her, keeping her someone we can root for through the entire story. This is what I really enjoyed about this book, no character is all bad or all good - everyone is a mix. While you and/or Xandra may loath or despise someone, there is always something which keeps them from being completely repugnant. Being able to keep this balance is difficult but Locke does a great job, which allows everyone in the book to have a surprising amount of depth.
Locke also does a great job in resolving the mystery presented in God Save The Queen while giving tantalizing hints of a much larger and sinister conspiracy in which Xandra finds herself at the heart of. Which is why I went out and immediately purchased the next two books in this series!
I am not sure this book will ever win an award - however it will keep you thoroughly entertained and is well worth reading for the sheer sake of fun.
My 52 Weeks With Christie: A.Miner©2015
A few years earlier, a rift opened up in San Francisco, which gifted a small portion of its residents super-hero like abilities. Well, some were cooler than others…but in the case of Aveda Jupiter, she seemed to get something great – and now she is San Francisco’s favorite daughter. She protects the populace from everything which pops out of the smaller rifts which have kept showing up after the first spectacular one (the powers granting one).
While protecting the city is tough work, the toughest job is done by her childhood bestfriend Evie Tanaka. She is Aveda Jupiter’s assistant. She has to deal with the diva-like tantrums, getting blood and goo out of her wardrobe, managing Aveda’s public image and running their base of operations. On top of all that she is trying to raise her sister, Bea, who in typical teenage age fashion isn’t making it easy. But the toughest part of all is trying to keep her secret a secret – Aveda wasn’t the only one on base who has powers.
And when Aveda sprains her ankle and gets a pimple, well, drastic measures need to be taken to make sure her image is maintained! And that is when all hell breaks loose! Rather literally….
A diva superhero, a reluctant assistant, a petulant-ish teenager and a sullen scientist against mean bloggers, demons and an unknown foe – gives a very fun, funny and adventurous read. Who doesn’t like reading about a superhero pitted against demonic cupcakes? Trust me, it is hilarious!
I would recommend this book for anyone who is looking for a light funny read with women who can kick some ass!
Georgie is thirty-fifth in line to the English throne, but unlike her rich cousins, she is a penniless royal. One who was taught how to be a wife to a ruling prince, but not much else – and that is exactly what everyone thinks she ought to be doing – finding herself a husband, preferably one which will help cement ties between England and some European nation. When Georgie gets wind that the Queen is trying to place her in a discreet set-up (think a house party where she cannot escape the attention of said man the Queen is trying to match her with) Georgie bolts to her family’s London house.
The only thing is because of her financial situation she cannot afford to hire any help – so no cook, maid or butler to help her out with domestic chores…..that she’s really never had to tackle on her own before. But as she learns to fend for herslf she has a brain wave – open a domestic agency – where she as the sole worker and proprietor cleans houses for the wealthy when they are coming back to London. Which works out splendidly - well most of the time anyways.
But her financial situation isn’t the only problem in her life; her deceased father seems to have gambled away the family estate in a game of cards to a rather repugnant Frenchman. When he turns up dead in her bathtub, Georgie is forced into action to help clear the family name, since the police are quite keen on the idea that her family did the deed. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the Queen herself commissions Georgie into a job, spy on her cousin – The Prince of Wales – and see how really infatuated he is with a certain married American woman. Could life get more complicated?
I cannot say how much I am enjoying this series! Bowen does a great job of balancing the bleakness of the period (it is set between WWI & WWII after the Great Depression hit in the US) without making her tale overly bleak, while at the same time inserting actual historical fact into the mix without ever making the book into a “teachable moment” – seriously it took me until the fourth book until I dimly recalled that there was a recent (relatively) English King who renounced the thrown to marry an American divorcee – and what do you know it is the same Prince I am reading about in this series. All the while Bowen is creating a heroine you can really pull for and want to see succeed in her new life. One which she chose, not one which her family wants to lay before her.
While these books have a cozy looking cover – and they are, in the sense that the violence is off stage and there isn’t much in the way of swearing – they are in the best tradition – they are like the golden age whodunnits (only with a progressing story line through the series) in the best English tradition. Not like many of the themed cozies which rely entire too much on a theme to get from A to Z in their story.
These books have been on my - I must read them at some point because they look too interesting not to – list for simply ages and I am really glad I bumped them up to the front of the line! I haven’t enjoyed reading a series like this in a very long time, not since Miss Phryne Fisher (only Her Royal Spyness is much less scandalous). I would recommend this series to anyone who is looking for a light-ish historical read. I cannot recommend them highly enough! (and if you invest in the omnibus which you should, you save about $7 than buying the books individually – what a deal!)
Years ago the barrier between our world and another weakened - to the point that what was on the other side was able to cross over into ours - and it’s never fluffy bunnies, unicorns or rainbows which make the trek. No, it is always monsters, and these have very big teeth, magic and really seem to enjoy killing us.
But whatever looks out for us humans - be it god, a giant crocodile or Great Panjandrum - gave humans a bit of magic of their own to wield in defense of a crumbling world. The magic comes in the form of spirit hounds. Only a small percentage of people can call hounds, but if they are able to summon a pack (2-8) their lives are irrevocably changed. They are trained to become Hunters, people who seek out and destroy the horrors which now inhabit our world.
Joyeaux Charmand is one such Hunter. Her parents were killed in an “Otherside Incident” when she was very young. Her only living relative is an Uncle, a Prefect for the Apex (very important) and he’s sent for her…. and when Apex and the police call, you have little choice but to go. When she arrives in Apex she discovers Hunters are treated far differently in Apex than at home. Here, they are the height of celebrity, they spawn fandoms and their lives & hunts are constantly streamed to for the population to watch. But what Joyeaux finds most disturbing is the fact that Apex’s population is being lied to, and Hunters are inadvertently part of the conspiracy. Which she slowly discovers is much bigger than she initially realized.
This book is good. There is a lot to learn about in a short amount of time (and my summary doesn’t do this book justice) and Lackey is a master in giving you a lot of information without boring her reader.
But what is most tantalizing about this book are the hints, small kernels of information, which Lackey places in the narrative which make you wonder what is coming next! What led to the barrier being weakened? Who are The Folk? How are the monsters getting through the barrier? Who tried to kill Joyeaux? Is her Uncle in danger? The questions go on and on. This is why I say Hunter is a good YA book - there is a lot of world building, the story is strong, but the world details edge it out by just a hair - but the next book I have a very strong suspicion will be excellent! However it will be one of those things that you will have to start on the ground floor and read Hunter first to know/understand exactly what it going on.
Now don’t get me wrong, while the book places these small kernels for you to wonder, agonize and theorize over, the main storyline of the book is wrapped up in a satisfactory way so the book didn’t leave me with a hollow empty feeling when I finished. It just made me VERY keen to know what happens next!
*BTW - I have tried to read Lackey many times over the years and this is the very first book by her which I have really enjoyed read (aka finished)! If this helps at all!
Joy having survived her elite trials is now part of the team being sent out to fight the bigger and badder monsters (sometimes with enough numers to assult whole towns) which the ordinary hunters are ill equiped to handle. On top of that her Uncle has aked her to patrol Apex’s sewers in city center – as creatures are penetrating farther and farther into the city and normal patrols are no match for them. And this knowledge must be kept away from the ordinary citizens or chaos would break loose….Then there’s Ace, the former hunter who tried to kill Joy and who is now working with the army as a mage (since his hounds rejected him and joined Joy’s pack) and while he’s on a short leash there is still a good chance Joy could run into him and he’d try and kill her again.
AAAAARRRRRGGGGHHHH!!!! This is a great book! Lackey does a great job of peeling a few more layers off of the mystery while adding extra layers on to them!!!! So in the end you are left with just as many questions as you started with - perhaps more refined and specific questions…..but full answers are frustratingly elusive! Which has me absolutly chomping at the bit or frothing at the mouth (depending on the time of day) in frustration of having to wait a whole ‘nother year for perhaps a few more answers?!
In Elite Lackey gives us a good idea of who is playing the long game with Joy and her Uncle. Who MIGHT have driven Ace insane and gave him the information on how to kill Joy during her elite trials. Plus we meet our Lavender clad Folk Wizard again (he was our first contact with the Folk in Hunter – when she was coming to Apex on the train), who has some unknown machinations of his own regarding Joy. If this wan’t enough, Joy keeps finding dead Psimons in the sewers during her patrols – and with the rivalry between the two corps Joy begins to worry she will be accused of killing them. And then things really blow up…..
We said last year that Hunter was a good book; Lackey focused on the world building in the first installment so you’d have a good understanding of post Dissaray earth, where everything you’ve every read in fantasy books seems to have come to life and really, really likes eating people. And like we said last year, we knew Elite would be a great book, and Lackey did not diabuse us of this notion! By not giving us the easy payoff of full explanations right off the bat, Lackey masterfully leaves us eager to turn every page and insanely curious to know where Joy’s life, the Elite, Apex and the Folk are heading next.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes reading urban fantasy. Technically it is a YA book, but it doesn’t feel like it. The only reason it would be categorized as so is because our heroine is in her late teens and while the book has violence in it, it is not ultra graphic. Lackey does a great job balancing on the knife edge of giving you just enough description your imagination fills in the gaps while not having a book which drips blood just by picking it up the violence is so detailed. You have to read Hunter before starting Elite – otherwise the nuances will be lost on you and the politics will make little sense. But I think this investment of time in these books is highly worth while as they are a fun, fantastic and wonderful read!
Constance Verity is going to kill her fairy godmother. Why? She is sick of adventuring. Trotting the globe to exotic places is fine for a few years but for twenty? She needs a break from the unceasing stream of intrigues, escapes and near misses. Constance just wants a bit of normal in her life and the only way she can figure to do it is by getting rid of the seed of adventure lodged in her soul by her fairy godmother when she was just an infant.
If only things were just that easy…..
This book is fantastic! It takes all of the standard adventure books and cartoons like Johnny Quest, Venture Brothers and the like and shines a satirical light on them. Because Constance knows how ridiculous her life is, and has developed a fine tuned sense of sarcasm and sly humor to deal with her extraordinary life. When your birthday cake attacks you at your seventh birthday party – you do what you need to cope!
If you are looking for a fast and fun read, look no further! This book literally has it all - a strong female lead, monologuing villians, a corporeal-challanged fairy, a plucky sidekick, a ninja ex-boyfriend and secret conspiracies heaped on secret conspiracies! What’s not to like about this book? I can’t think of a single thing!
Baily Chen has spent the bulk of her life in school, obsessing about school and listening to her parents talk about school. But what is she to do now? School is over she’s back home in Chicago (living with her parents) with her newly minted Ivy League business degree and slim prospects. But - and I must stress this but, Baily’s found a way to stall her parents’ considerable push towards power suits, a corner office and an expense account….Baily is now the smartest barback at the Nightshade Lounge.
However, within the first week she discovers there is something weird going on with the bartenders she works with (well more weird than working with your best friend with whom you hooked-up one drunken night before you left for college and subsequently rejected afterwards – awkward). Like taking suspiciously long smoke breaks when they don’t smoke and coming back a bit scuffed up. Or partaking of the occasional drink while on the job? Just perplexing! And when Bailey accidently discovers the boozy truth of what’s happening – her quest to find her first corporate job will pale by comparison.
If you are looking for a fun summer book to read while sipping a Long Island Ice Tea this is the book for you! Cocktails, magic, demons and a conspiracy fill the pages of a book which I found to be a lively read, making me laugh about a time of life (finishng school and trying to figure out what to do next) when many mistakes are made and everything is in transition and awkward (almost worse than puberty because you expected to “have a plan”)… And this period in life is often filled with alcohol-based shenanigans – and in our heroine’s case (other than the birdbath incident) these shenanigans unexpectedly help her find her way or at least the trailhead to the path she will walk for (at least this portion) of her life. Which includes a bit of ass kicking- which I think is always a nice bonus!
But what I think adds to the book is the fact they have recreated the bartender’s bible – The Devil’s Water Dictionary – entries throughout the book telling us how to make the cocktails our heroes imbibe, their properties and histories. Now these enties should not be skipped as they contain clues to the mystery you are reading. Plus the tongue in cheek entries are just entertaining!
I would recommend this book to anyone looking for something light and sparkling to read!
This perhaps is my all time favorite middle book in any trilogy! In any trilogy the middle book is most often the trickiest book to put together as it needs to pull in shenanigans from the first novel and begin the mechanisms for the last ultimate ending to the series. Usually the middle book is the weakest of the three due to all work and plot lines it needs to tie together. However with Lirael Nix does a wonderful job of introducing two new characters whose back story is firmly enmeshed within the already established world. Which allows for the creation of a very strong narrative which doesn’t fall into the middle book trap that so many do!
When we first meet Lirael, she is turning fourteen and is completely despondent. She is one of the Clayr, who are the seers of the Old Kingdom. The sight comes on at varying ages for the Clayr - however Lirael is now the oldest girl (living in the children’s wing & the oldest she knows of) who hasn’t received her gift yet. It doesn’t help that she looks nothing like the other Clayr, which only intensifies her feelings of not belonging. So in a fit of despondency she decides to throw herself off the top of the glacier (it is above where the Clayr live). While on top of the glacier she accidentally witnesses a meeting…. and this quirk of fate changes the direction of her life.
Then we meet Prince Sameth, or should I say reluctant Prince Sam, who is expected to take up his mother’s bells and become her apprentice. These bells help her (the Abhorsen, which is her title) send the dead back into death, combats necromancers who raise the dead and fights free magic mages which plague the Old Kingdom. The only issue is Sam is literally petrified of this prospect! Having gone into death once on his own - in order to save his school’s cricket team - he encountered a necromancer who is waiting to enslave him. So when Sam’s friend Nick crosses into the Old Kingdom without waiting for him (Nick doesn’t believe in magic - which doesn’t matter as it will try to kill you weather you believe in it or not) - Sam decides to go after Nick to keep him safe. Which is in no way like running away from your problems, nope it sure isn’t!
When these two meet by chance many things soon become clear - something evil is waking in the Old Kingdom, Nick somehow in the thick of the Old Kingdom’s troubles and one way or another Lirael & Sam must figure out what’s really going on and how to defeat it.
This series has been around for twenty years and still is one of my all time favorites! Lirael in particular is my favorite of the series, the other books are great as well - but this one just stands out just a bit more for me. I love Lirael, her struggles and the adventures with her companions. While you do need to start with Sabriel, the first book in the series - you have something to look forward to when you read the next two books - as Lirael is heavily featured. Which is a wonderful thing!
I would highly recommend this book to anyone 12+ looking for a great fantasy/mystery which is like nothing I have really read before or since. Seriously if you haven’t read it yet you really are missing out on something special.
Even more exciting? Nix, after taking a significant break from the Old Kingdom universe, has delved back in! Last year he wrote a prequel to the original series called Clariel, which gives us the origins to a significant villain we meet in the original trilogy. Even more exciting? On October 11th Nix is releasing Goldenhand - which is set six months after the ending of Abhorsen - and features Lirael on a whole new adventure investigating a whole new mystery!!!! I cannot wait!
Do you remember those old cartoons by Hannah Barbera and Disney touting what the future would look like (Disney took it a step further and created Tomorrowland - the theme park, not the movie)? With modern wonders, electric gadgets and futuristic materials all rolled up in the comforting familiar feel of a fifties living room?
Well in Adam Christopher’s new book Made To Kill, these wondrous innovations went as far as these cartoons predicted…specifically in the area of robotics. Robots were created for all kinds of tasks and predictably there was a problem! Many, many people didn’t like robots - they felt, these metal men were stealing their jobs - plus some people were just creeped out by them. So every robot was destroyed, save one.
He’s P.I. in Los Angeles one of two employees at the Electromatic Detective Agency (the other is Ada, a super computer/manager/ girl Friday). Well he was a P.I., a good one…until one of Ada’s programs prompted a slight career change for Raymond. Ada’s tasked with keep the Agency profitable no matter what, so that the government doesn’t shut them down and destroy Raymond. And while Raymond is a great detective there isn’t much money in it - but a hit man makes quite the tidy sum.
Years have passed and Raymond has become adept at his new vocation and things have been running smoothly. Well until a beautiful woman walks into the agency with a bag full of untraceable gold and a name she wants erased. The thing is? She is an A-list actor who wants another dead - and this is just the beginning of Raymond’s case….
This is a seriously fun read. One part Raymond Chandler (not Marlowe, but a detective in a similar vein in the city Marlowe haunted), another part Memento (as Raymond only has 24 hours of memory storage on his person) and one part Tommorrowland (which gives a nice vintage feel) - and it works really, really well! I had fun reading the book and would recommend it to a friend.
But here’s the thing - those of you with a noir disposition or if you share Raymond Chandler’s thoughts on science fiction (ie. he did not like it and thought it was a waste of ink) you could look at this book in one of two ways. Either you can look at Made To Kill as a way to cut your teeth into a new genre, or avoid it because it might drive you a bit crazy. Why? Christopher comes close to the style of Chandler in his writing, but his turn of phrase is just this side of the brilliance that Chandler had - but to be fair, if it came any closer it wouldn’t have Christopher’s own flair and this book despite the robots would be considered derivative. So it’s a double edged sword….
However if you don’t have any strong feelings about noir or Raymond Chandler and like sci-fi and/or robots then this book would work well for you, as it did for me!
FYI this is going to be a trilogy - Killing Is My Business is due out sometimes in January 2017. But fear not a print novella called Standard Hollywood Depravity will be out in September/October of 2016!
Once again the Queen approaches Georgie with a small but necessary assignment. Georgie’s role this time? Companion to Princess Marina of Greece who will soon be marrying her youngest son. Even better than that? Georgie is staying with the Princess at Kensington Palace (which is fortuitous as Fig is being her usual self - unpleasant) until the wedding day arrives! All she has to do is show her around London, acquaint her with the social obligations of the royal family and …well keep her from hearing about her future husband’s rather lascivious activities. Which if you are trying to show a Princess a bit of the London night life is rather difficult to do!
It becomes even more difficult when Georgie finds one of the Prince’s lovers dead a few paces away from the Kensington Palace’s door….the really weird part is Georgie swears she was lead there by an odd ghostly light! While the Queen’s task becomes unexpectedly difficult - it is Belinda’s disappearance which disturbs Georgie the most!
Once again Bowen gives us a fun and entertaining mystery detailing Georgie and her exploits, I mean assignments from the palace. This particular one was even more interesting as the history surrounding these events is a bit incredible. Since Prince George really was a bit (and bit is an understatement) notorious - well for a prince that is: Drugs, lovers (male and female and of dubious reputations - even for non-royals) and is rumored to have sired a child out of wedlock. Knowing this background information Bowen makes these historical figures come alive by showing both their virtues and vices, making them feel more real than any textbook can. However you only pull out what you put in and if you never look up any of the historical context for her books you won’t ever feel like you are missing something or that she is simply reciting a history lecture with a mystery smooshed in! They are great.
I do have to say this one does have a bit of ghostly-ness to it - as Kensington Palace is reputed to be haunted. However the ghosts do not solve the mystery, so never fear Bowen plays mostly by the rules!
As previously stated I love this entire series and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys Carola Dunn (it is a hair darker than hers) or Jacqueline Winspear (it is a bit lighter than Maisie Dobbs - but not as light as the cover would suggest). These books are set between WWI & WWII after the Great Depression hit so there is a certain amount of anxiety and bleakness to this period as it ramps into the rise of Hitler, which in my opinion makes it an even more fascinating read!
Sadly, oh so sadly, this is the final book in the Finishing School series by Gail Carriger - and boy does it go out with a bang!
Sophronia is not sure whom she can trust especially since her beloved Soap - the only one she could really trust - is gone. Trust issues shouldn’t come as much of a surprise since she attends a school which turns out finely mannered female intelligencers into society (think spies). But when doubt is cast upon even those closest to her, Sophronia find herself in alignment with those she never thought possible. All in order to thwart the Picklemen’s ultimate scheme - to overthrow Queen and country.
This book does a fantastic job in bringing this series to an end. It is full of sassy humor, great wit and some exemplary action! To my delight it also firmly (and finally) places itself) within the timeline in the world which Carriger has created! I am completely satisfied with the ending, she left a few threads she could tug on later should she decide to place Sophronia and her friends in other works (as she has already). But otherwise she gives us a firm and very satisfying end to this great series.
Now should you wish to read this book you do need to start with the first - as the fourth/last book will make little sense otherwise. Etiquette & Espionage is the first book (FYI it is the weakest of the four books - its good - but the other books are Great- but you need to read it in order to understand all the nuances of what is going on). Which is a great segue way into her Soulless series (which is even funnier) and then the Parasol Protectorate (which you do need to read the Soulless series before tackeling- it just will make way more sense if you do!). Then you will be well versed in the fantastic steam punk Victorian world which Carriger has created for us.
My only regret is it took me this long to read it! But I saved it for a rainy day - and boy did it really save it from becoming gloomy!
So my love of great urban fantasy novels with lurid, unfourtunate or dopey covers continues With Memory Zero (but to be fair this isn’t the worst of the recent lot). But there seems to be an inverse proportional equation to how bad a cover is to how much I like the pages in between the boards!
In the case of Memory Zero, I loved it! If you put Anne Bishop, J.D. Robb and Chloe Neill into a jar and shook them up, this is the book which would fall out, and I mean this as a very good thing! It is stronger than the sum of its parts. There are secret identities, lost memories, intrigues, shadowy government agencies and supernaturals – not all of whom have been catalogued or are believed to be real – even by other supernaturals!
The book centers around a cop named Sam Ryan who, due to a series of unfortunate events, ends up killing her partner. This gets her suspended from the force, put up on murder charges and thrust into the pervue of the SIU and Assistant Director Gabriel Stern – who’s in charge of her investigation. Stern thinks she is telling the truth, that Sam’s partner of five years attacked her and she killed him in self defence – but he feels like there’s something more to the story than even Sam herself knows, starting with the fact that she has no memories or official history before the age of fourteen, she was bequeathed an expensive apartment by an unknown benefactor upon his death and that she seems to be manifesting abilities that even she seems to be clueless about. Nothing about her or her case seems to be adding up, but one thing they both know is they have to get to the bottom of her partner’s attack to figure out what exacly is going on.
As I said before this was a great read – and I would have finished is in under a day if I hadn’t started these wretched Christmas gift making crafts! Which unfourtunatly have a very firm completion deadline and I am falling behind. Drat. But back to the book – I would suggest this to anyone who likes reading strong female leads, conspiracy theories and urban fantasy – because it hits these notes really well. The only bad thing about this book? There are only three in the series!
I owe finding this series to one of our long time customers who placed an order for these books, which isn’t unusual – except for the fact she doesn’t usually read this style of mystery. I know she has excellent taste in books, so I figured I would give the first book a whirl and see if I liked them. Turns out that I loved every page, so I owe a thank you to a certain English lady who ordered this series last year! (And yes when we order books for people we nose through them occasionally to see if we have missed a brilliant author! And by nose I mean read the back of the book, just for claritys sake!)
When Constable Peter Grant is guarding a crime scene with fellow Constable Leslie May he encounters a witness to the crime. The problem is the witness is corporally challenged, meaning? A ghost saw the whole thing… But when you are just starting your policing career, you don’t want to tank it right away by telling your superiors about a witness with dubious existence problem, but that’s just what Grant does through a set accidental circumstances. And of course that’s when his budding career takes a turn for the weird….
I cannot tell you how funny this book is! Peter Grant has such a snarky sense of humor and unique perspectives on life and London that there’s never a dull moment. This is one of the only magical police procedurals I have come across and it does a great job in balancing these two elements. And like Peter’s personality it wanders a bit (the other books are a bit more streamlined, but the first book has a lot for the reader to process so it wanders) but everything - even the tangents - are relevent. Another great feature is the fact these books follow the rules of fair play, meaning you have a fair chance of guessing the culprit and lays all the facts of the mystery before you (and don’t introduce plot devices in the last ten pages which manage to save the day – the solution is cleverly laid before - sometimes on page two – and then utlized again later) and Aaronovich still manages to fool his readers. Another great feature of this series is there is a larger multi-book plot along side each individual book plot. As you can guess there isn’t much I don’t like about the series….the only thing I can think of is there aren’t enough of them!
I would unreservedly recommend this series to any urban fantasy reader looking for something a bit different provided you enjoy reading books set in our modern day London, can handle the discovery that almost anyone has the ability to perform magic provided they are trained up and have more than just a few creatures vying to keep/defend their own patch of London.
Vestigium is the academic term for the impression left on physical objects by magic. Stone and some metals keep hold of vestigia really well, the human body? Not so much. So when constable/apprentice Peter Grant is called in to the morgue to check out a body he is very surprised when he hears a 1930’s rendition of the jazz standard Body and Soul. The body belonged to a jazz man who unexpectedly dropped dead, and as Peter discovers he wasn’t the first…
This is the second book in the “Rivers Of London” series and it is great! While the first book wanders a bit, this book feels a more streamlined mystery-wise. However you still need to read Midnight Riot first, as Peter Grant (and everyone else for that matter) is still dealing with the fallout from the end of his first case with Nightingale and The Folly.
What I loved about this book was how Aaronovitch threaded jazz throughout the storyline in different and unusual ways. Because Aaronovitch used a multifaceted approach to his subject, the book NEVER felt like a theme book. And the jazz never distracted from the mystery at hand. Plus you don’t need to know anything about jazz in order to read this book. I suppose you might get a bit more out of it if you know more about the category of music - but I am a bit sketchy about jazz (even listening to JB playing it for the past six years) and I didn‘t have any problem following what Peter Grant was talking about, which speaks to how well Aaronovitch incorporated Jazz into the mystery - giving you enough information that you can investigate any of his references on your own, should the fancy take you - which of course it did (for me at least)! Through a passing conversation in the book, I discovered (when I looked it up on my own) that Glenn Miller really is still listed as missing in action from WWII, his plane went missing during a flight to France. Who knew? I didn’t!
But back to the book! I would recommend this book for anyone who likes reading a police procedural which happens to deal with magic, its users, all sorts of creatures trying to scrape out a life in London , a wizard and his reluctant apprentice tasked with keeping them all in line! (And FYI this in no way is a cozy in any respect - don’t let the brightly colored covers fool you!) Did I mention they are also funny in a sarcastic British sort of way?
The Honourable Miss Fisher has decided on a vacation, but instead of taking her regular ride (a red Hispano-Suiza) she’s decided that she and Dot shall take the train, an idea which turns into a rather taxing ordeal when neighboring train compartments fill up with noisy children, a nagging old lady, and an uncomfortable expectant mother. The trip goes from annoying to dangerous when Miss Fisher wakes up to a strong smell of chloroform and figures out someone has knocked the entire train car out! Then things turn deadly when it’s discovered that the nagging old lady was murdered while everyone else followed the white rabbit into Morpheus‘s arms. Curiously, a young teenage girl is found on the train afterwards with a ticket, a suitcase and a serious case of amnesia. The entire trip leaves Miss Fisher with a bad taste in her mouth, so she gives up on her original plan and takes up the much more diverting prospect of solving these dueling mysteries.
This book was a whole bunch of fun to read, but Miss Fisher is written that way so it shouldn’t be surprising that I came away with that particular feeling! What struck me about this book (while brilliantly executed) is the fact that there are certain locations which contemporary/past writers seem to be inexorably drawn towards - in this case it is the train. Christie’s 4:50 From Paddington, Murder On The Orient Express, Mystery Of The Blue Train and At Bertram’s Hotel (okay the last one isn’t on a train but it is set around a train heist), The ABC Murders (uses a railway guide - so the train theme is used in a different way), Highsmith’s Strangers On A Train, White’s The Wheel Spin (AKA The Lady Vanishes) and Greene’s Stamboul Train are all examples of the train’s influence on/in the mystery genre. Granted, trains were the dominante form of people moving around the world for years, so I suppose it’s a natural extension for murder mysteries to be set on them. However I don’t think is it quite as popular as it once was – subways, I think, have taken over for locomotives (again subways and their cars are the dominante form of public travel in many huge cities today). So I wonder what new form of travel will take over next? If transporters or space travel take root, will they be incorporated into mystery novels as readily as the train was? But I suppose sci-fi has a huge advantage over the mystery genre in this area - as they’ve been using these devices for years. But I digress!
The Murder On The Ballarat Train is a great, fast paced mystery which is fun to read. It furthers Miss Fischer and her household’s characters in important ways - which is why I suggest you read the first two books, Cocaine Blues and Flying Too High before tackling this one. Unlike the Golden Age mysteries which the Miss Fisher mysteries remind me of, these books need to be read in order so you can get the absolute maximum out of the time spent with our heroine and her friends. But if you like having a bit more mystery in your mystery, you can start with the third book and be alright; you just have to play a bit of catch-up, and the basics are explained. It’s just the fine details which you would be missing. Either way I think you’d find the book a charming read!
Genre: Steampunk & Mystery
Summary: The last time we’d seen Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama was at the end of Timeless when she was a toddler who was not overly fond of her name. It’s now twenty-something years later and we meet her again, she still doesn’t like her name but has learned to live with it…mainly by using a nick-name - Rue.
The other thing she’s learned to work with/around is all of her parents, especially Dama (Lord Akeldama, our dandy vampire rogue) who is beginning to feel that Rue may benefit from some travel - to widen her horizons - and India is just lovely this time of year. The fact that he’s having some trouble with the locals over his tea interest and believes Rue may be able to sort things out…Well that’s just a bonus!
Review: This is a terrifically fun book to read!
Now here’s the fly in the ointment….You don’t have to read the Parasol Protectorate series (Soulless, Changeless, ect.) in order to read this book. However I think you get significantly more out of this book if you put in the extra bit of time and do read them. Why? The core of the crew of The Custard Protocol (i.e. Prudence) are the children of the key players in The Parasol Protectorate series. It is seriously entertaining to read how our original series characters are filtered through the eyes of their children - who really only have the vaguest of notions about who their parents are outside of being their parents. Ivy’s children haven’t a clue how she became a vampire. Rue has zero clue how much of a hellion her mother was/is - and how alike they really are. Quesnel Lefoux? Just as French, inscrutable and as mad an inventor as his mother…
In addition to just watching this entertaining child/parental dynamic, we also meet some other very old friends again, which makes me hope that we will see more of the old crew again in the second book in Imprudence (the cover art for the book is finished, however Carriger says the book isn’t written yet so the release date the publisher has of January 2016 is a bit plastic at moment). Now while there are hints of the old, Rue and her crew are their own people and find their way into new and unique trouble. Which is really fun to read!
Carriger does stick with her general formula - an outrageous lead, with a lady-like(ish) best friend, plus a love interest and a massive amount intrigue & ingenuity. While these standard elements appear in this entry in the canon, Carriger spins the story with a sufficient amount of new material that the formula doesn’t distract from the reading.
Overall this is an amusing book which I thoroughly enjoyed reading!
Would I Recommend To A Friend: Yup!
My 52 Weeks With Christie: A.Miner©2015
The Queen is not amused. When Prudence negotiated the treaty with the new Weres in India on the Crown’s behalf - she didn’t realize (or really think of) the repercussions of her actions. Meaning? The Queen removed all protections and Sundowner status from Rue, not that she really minded – the Crown really didn’t do a whole lot for her anyway. Of more immediate importance is the fact her Paw, the Alpha of the London pack is losing control of them, the Alpha’s curse is finally taking hold. Which means that the plan all her parents hatched so long ago must be enacted – they must remove Lord Maccon as Alpha without having him die in a challenge. Then float to Egypt where the god breaker curse reigns supreme – where he will become human again and thus thwarting the Alpha’s curse. Easy right?
It is only the beginning of the The Spotted Custard and her crew’s problems. There’s a heated acedemic fight, big game hunters, the return of an old friend and the headlong rush to save Tasherit’s people (the werelioness we met in Prudence) and you have a very full schedule of adventures!
This is a really great book! The first book had a bit of fluff around the edges, which worried me a bit, as I like a bit more substance in my books. But I knew Carriger could deliver (the joy of reading the Soulless series). Boy did she do so here! There is still the sense of absurd when dealing with Prudence; she doesn’t take herself (or the world) particularly seriously – and in this book you find out why.
And it is interesting.
You watch her and her crew pull themselves together as a team to get out of some serious scrapes, Rue doesn’t have the same cushion she is used to, to fall back on. The reliability of having three very powerful parents, two of whom are immortal – this is stripped away and she needs to figure out what this means and how to stand on her own, fashionably clad, feet.
You even find out who Lord Akeldama was before he was a vampire…..If I go on and list everything else which happens I would totally spoil the book for you! But believe me when I say this book is a great second installment in the series!!! I would recommend reading at least Soulless from the original series and Prudence before tackling Imprudence – as I am not sure how much sense this book would make without this most basic of backgrounds. But I promise if you haven’t read the Parasole Protectorate series and Prudence – you have some fun waiting for you!
Really this book was so much fun to read I highy recommend it!
October Daye is a changeling, half-human, half-fae and has difficulty fitting into either. She does have a talent of sniffing out the truth and after some seriously heroic deeds she was knighted by Duke Sylvester Torquill, pledging her service to him. Which is huge, as it is rarer than rare for a changeling to attain such a distinction. This job, coupled with her human job (she’s a P.I. in San Francisco) takes advantage of her talent and what little magic her fae blood gives her.
When her Duke’s wife and daughter are kidnapped, October is called up to help find them; she’s pretty sure she knows who is responsible. But before October can find the key information she needs, she is transformed into a fish by the very man suspected of the kidnapping. She remains in her pond, thinking fishy thoughts, until the curse is broken fourteen years and two days later.
Returning to a world she no longer recognizes, technologically and emotionally she rejects her fae life while her human life rejects her. Sleep walking through the days October is finally sucked back into the fae world when a friend, Countess Evening Winterrose, is brutally murdered. But just before her killers arrive, Winterrose curses October to find the men who did the deed and find justice for her or the curse will kill October.
If you are looking for a new series to invest some time into I would highly recommend this one!
I don’t know how I missed this series for so long. This first in book, Rosemary And Rue came out in 2009 (McGuire is still writing them which is great! The next installment comes out Sept. 6th, Once Broken Faith, DAW, $7.99.). This is a wonderful first book - in a matter of pages she is able to turn a hero into a conflicted/reluctant one by turning her into a fish for fourteen years. I don’t think I have read anything quite so unique in a very long time. Seriously I had large ants in my pants waiting for the second book to be shipped to the shop so I could start reading it! First world problems I know, but darn it they are mine and Rosemary And Rue is so interesting I immediately wanted to know what happens to October and the rest of her world. And could hardly wait to do so!
McGuire does a great job of blending both the fae court and the streets of San Francisco in a way that you get the flavor of both. She reminds me of Ben Aaronovich in that she gives you the main mystery of the book - the murder of Winterrose - while starting others which I am sure will be addressed later in the series. But these side mysteries do not in any way detracted from the focus of the book - this ability to balance the narrative is one which I admire and love to read when it is done well as it was in this book.
Basically when you read this review visualize me hopping up and down in excitement with a book clutched to my chest - I found a new-to-me series and I cannot wait to run the pages of it!
Summary: Myfanwy Thomas is born (as a fully grown adult) during a rainstorm and surrounded by people wearing surgical gloves. Now when I say, “people”, that is a bit inaccurate. What I really mean to say is Myfanwy is surrounded by bodies, all of whom are wearing surgical gloves. Which is a bit disturbing….
Even more disconcerting is the discovery that her body once belonged to another woman, one who seems to have enemies who are willing to go to extreme lengths to make sure she never tells anyone what she knows. The problem is, Myfanwy doesn’t know what it is she isn’t supposed to know. More worrisome is the fact she doesn’t know who she is…
You might think her memory loss was due to amnesia - unfortunately it isn’t anything so mundane - it is far too pervasive. Myfanwy’s previous personality, memories - everything that made her is completely gone, leaving behind a brand new, unencumbered person looking out of the eyes, which once belonged exclusively to another woman. You might be wondering with this memory loss how Myfanwy knows her name…
A single clue was left in her jacket pocket, letter written by her body’s previous occupant, beginning with “Dear You,”. This gives her a choice - leave behind the life her body’s previous occupant enjoyed for a cushy life on an anonymous white sand beach somewhere or learn who betrayed her and put and end to them.
Review: This book is a couple of years old now and I have no idea how I missed it when it was first released! In fact, if it hadn’t been misfiled in the new release section of my local book store I would have continued on blissfully unaware I’d missed this great book. But the fates (or gnomes - which I swear are responsible for the proliferation of misfiled books - since this book was in the completely wrong place) smiled down on me and this book caught my eye. It is one part “Agents of Shield” (before they were a thing), one part Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and one part Dark City mixed together to create a completely engrossing, snarky supernatural thriller.
What I enjoyed was how O’Malley worked both personalities of Myfanwy into the story in a way I haven’t seen in a very long time. By using letters one personality wrote to the other, it allowed the author to create a more dynamic story. It enabled the O’Malley to slip in information and a plot points into the narrative without having to add repetitive transitional passages describing some sort of flashback to Myfanwy’s previous personality or discombobulate the reader by switching to abruptly between narrators. “Dear You,” at the beginning of the letter was all that was needed to read to know who was talking and what was going on. Very clever and fun to read! The spacing of the letters in the narrative was also wonderful. The author used them to heighten tension by breaking up scenes, doling information and by having significant plot points happening in the letters themselves (they are not all dossiers on the main player in the story). The letters from one personality to the other added significantly to the storytelling allowing an extra level of detail and fun to the overall book. (Plus the letters allowed me to feel further connected to both personalities which helped me become seriously invested in the book - I really liked them as a plot device and I think O’Malley used them to their fullest advantage).
The other aspect I really enjoyed was the fact Myfanwy was in charge of her own destiny. She investigated the crime perpetrated against her with only the help of her former self. Myfanwy stood on her own two feet and figured out what needed doing and did it. She did not rely on someone else to save her. Meaning? She was not a damsel in distress who could only trust the smoldering gentleman she worked with, whom she couldn’t be sure wasn’t the one who betrayed her. Now I like an urban fantasy romance book as much as the next gal, but I am very glad that the author didn’t use this short cut of a plot device in his story.
So to sum up basically all I can say is SQUEEEEEE!!! Seriously I think you should read this book!! It is a great tale of urban supernatural espionage with a strong and capable woman getting things done! If you like mousey librarian types who find themselves in a small cage filled with large lions and tigers and discovers they are really a sabertooth tiger, then this book is for you!
Office of Fair Warning: It is a hair slow in the beginning but once Rook Thomas starts her first day at the office things really take off! You only have to make it to chapter three which is thirty-one pages in - so I have faith you can stick with it! I know I have hung in there much farther into a book before it finally decided to get up and move (and seriously it is only a little slow), so this should be a piece of cake!
And BTW ignore the description on the back cover! It makes this book sound fluffy when it is nothing of the kind AND it is a bit inaccurate! There is no purple slime in the book - purple spores and mold yes - but no purple slime!
My 52 Weeks With Christie: A.Miner2015
Oh how I love this book - let me count the ways…
Stiletto begins a few short months after the end of The Rook. The Grafters and the Checquy are merging into one clandestine organization. The largest fly in the ointment is the fact both organizations have indoctrinated generations of their members to hate each other. Both have very valid reasons behind their loathing. However when you have a Rook who has no memory and thus no hatred and another leader who had moved past his anger – you have a merger that might just happen. However, and there is always a sticky wicket - there is a group which has been terrorizing the Grafters in Europe and have followed them to London (where the Checquy is based) and has continued their guerrila style attacks against the Grafters – threatening to undermine the peace and merger that is trying to be achieved.
This book is dense, fun and absolutly fantastic! Now the thing is…if you are looking for a book told exclusivly from Myfanwy’s point of view (like The Rook was) you will be a bit disappointed – she is in it, a key player and we often hear from her (for that matter you do meet everyone from the last book at one point or another in the new one, sometimes in very entertaining situations, which is great fun as well – just in case you’re wondering)– but this is more about Felicity Clements of the Chequy and Odette Leliefeld of the Grafters – and how they come to terms with each other’s very different organizations. While the book goes into the very conflicted history of these two organizations – O’Malley does a great job of keeping it to the point and very human (read relatable). You understand why both sides feel the way they do and it is difficult to say who exactly you are rooting for when you have both sides of the story….
To get the absolute most out of Stiletto you do need to have read The Rook – you know the core charecters and structure of our secret government organization right off the bat and it gives you a better understanding of what is happening in Stiletto. Seriously I worried about how O’Malley was going to follow up The Rook since it was such a great and unique story style – and he did an absolutly outstanding job! I can’t give you the whys and how-fores – since spoilers – but just trust me this book is worth your time!
Summary: Richard Stark is a man on a mission. Revenge.
In a bid to boost their power, Stark’s frenemies sent him to Hell eleven years before in a trade with creatures unknown. However Stark’s talents which were considerable on earth prove to be unusually useful in Hell and Stark becomes very difficult to kill. Which proves advantageous since Stark becomes the most feared assassin in Hell. What keeps him there is the assurance that the woman he left behind, the love of his life, is safe so long as he does as he is told.
When she is brutally murdered by one the circle which sent him to Hell, Stark will stop at nothing to make sure they all pay. If he also happens to save the world, a punk tiki bar and a video store - well that’s just icing on the cake.
Review: When my brother was little he had a bit of a tough time. When he was five he looked like a seven or eight year old, so when he acted like a five year old people would always get a bit testy with him - because they didn’t think that he was acting his age. Which was crap, but strangers didn’t realize that, they just thought he was misbehaving. I find myself remembering these incidents while I was reading Sandman Slim, because Stark was 19 when he was sent to Hell, where he was beaten, raped and fought in vicious arena battles. Survival was the name of the game for him for eleven years, emotional growth not so much. So when he emerges from Hell a cynical thirty year old, his impulse control isn’t high, patience is non-existent and big picture focus just isn’t there.
So when I was reading his exploits I constantly felt like hitting Stark upside the head and saying, “Dude, seriously chill the hell out! Make a plan!” But of course this is fiction and I am not a Jursification agent so he can’t hear me. Stark constantly is making the wrong choices in his quest for revenge. Unable to avoid the temptation of the seemingly easy mark even when it puts others in danger - he can only see his target, which at times makes this book a bit difficult to read. I am rooting for Stark to take his revenge out on these sadistic people, but he just can’t quite seem to get it together to do so. He’s gained power and knowledge while working in Hell; he just hasn’t gained the maturity to know you don’t always have to beat, blow-up or muscle your way to your goals. This is where he reminds me of my brother from all those years ago - his friends all want him to take a more subtle approach to his raison d’etre but they don’t realize he doesn’t possess the maturity (or impulse control) to do so.
That is both why I loved and hated this book at the same time and the reason why I will work my way through the rest of the series. I want to seem him hone his rage into something fine and controlled, instead of the blunt instrument it is now. I want to see him save the world just once on purpose. And I want to know why Stark’s called ‘Sandman Slim’! While Sandman Slim feels a touch slow in its doling out a lot of information, you need in order to understand how Heaven and Hell interact, how magic works in this version of our world and why we should care about Stark’s fate. All in all I really liked it and I cannot wait to read the next book!
Would I Recommend To A Friend: Without a doubt!
My 52 Weeks With Christie: A.Miner©2015
This is an eBook novella review!
While I loved Deanna Raybourn’s new book A Curious Beginning - I still missed the first series I read by her about Lady Julia Grey…I did know she has four eBook novellas available but I have resisted reading them as I don’t enjoy eBooks as well as the print kind. But her new book (which made me miss her writing) and an out-of-town trip broke through my reluctance (i.e. I was told I shouldn’t bring ten pounds of books in my carry-on luggage anymore as it will throw out my back when I have to run to make connecting flights….again).
In Silent Night we find Julia and Brisbane happily married and getting ready to spend another Christmas together, with hopefully less excitement than the last holiday spent at the Abbey (her father’s estate is a renovated abbey). It’s always fun to watch how quickly Julia’s plans go awry…with a jewel thief, a butler who thinks he’s Napoleon and her father in the throes of a “mysterious mood” - Julia and Brisbane’s holidays are going to be far more interesting than what they’d expected!
This book reminded me of how much I love this series! Even in the shortened form you have a great read! Yes, it is set around Christmas and while it ribbons its way throughout the book, the holiday does not overwhelm the overall narrative. You never get a toothache while reading - meaning it doesn’t ever become overly sweet as many mysteries do when set during this time of year. It is well written and concludes at just the right time - before the mystery becomes to thin.
The one caveat to this review is - you need to have invested the time in reading the rest of the series for any of the novellas to make sense. Silent In The Grave is the first book in series and four which follow it - all of which are unfortunately only available as eBooks right now as their physical counterparts are out-of-print (they recently altered the cover art on the eBooks so I am hoping they will be reissued in book form again, however this is only wishful speculation at this point). But if you are looking for a historical series with a small dash of romantic tension (without the heaving bosoms scenes) I would highly recommend investing your time in this entire run and the novellas!
It has been eight months since Chicago’s vampires outed themselves to the general poplace – or simply telling the rest of Chicago what the influential politicians and police officials already knew.
This is the Chicago that Merit lives in, where she is a graduate student studying literature at the University of Chicago. Her life, while small, was very much hers – until she decided to cross the university campus one night, a small action which changed her life – because during that walk she is attacked, by a vampire. Before her attacker kills her, he is chased off by another vampire – a Master who turns her.
This turns both her life and the Master’s into something completely different as they both discover that Merit is a cut above your average vampire. While they both are coming to terms about what this means for themselves, they must try and figure out why Merit was attacked and if she was the second vicitim in a series of vampire-commited murders.
This is a fun book. It reminds me of The Last Call At The Nightshade Lounge insofar as the book feels young and shiny, dealing with newly minted vampire who is trying to come to terms with her powers and a best friend who discovers she is an accidental sorceress. But it is fun with a whiff of romantic tension sprinkled in for flavor. There is a great level of snark, literary refrences, and action which makes this book work and feel like something more than a rehashing or reshaping of Underworld.
If you are looking for a fun supernatural read (as there are more than just vampires in this series) I would suggest you invest some time in the Chicagoand Vamipre series!
Fran here – RUN! Run while you can! Amber’s at it again, and this series will suck you right in, no pun intended. No, go on ahead without me – I’m beyond help at this point (on so many levels, right?) but I’m glad this is a really long series *eagerly grabbing at book #4* because it’s so good. Wait, what was I saying! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES AND STAY AWAY FROM THIS ADDICTING SERIES!
Georgia Kincaid is the Assistant Manager at Emerald City Books on Capitol Hill, she teaches a swing class to the staff, and is a succubus. Meaning? She sells books, occasionally fills in at their espresso bar and occasionally helps to create chaos by leading men into sin and slicing a few years off their life while feeding on their souls. You know, the normal stuff in the on-going life of an agent of hell…well almost normal.
Georgia has been a succubus for a very, very long time and she’s become tired of leading men down the path of temptaion, sin and despair – so now she only picks men who’ve already chosen this path on their own to target. Which does not make her superiors very happy at all…but that currently isn’t her biggest problem. Unfortunatly a vampire whom she had a fight with has turned up dead and her boss thinks she has something to do with it. So she has to try and figure out who is killing Seattle’s supernatural creatures while at the same time struggling with her growing attraction (and a succubus instincts to feed) to two very good men. What’s a girl to do?
This book sat on our shelves watching me for a very long time. Patiently waiting while I worked my way through other series like Seannan McGuire’s or Chloe Neill’s – waiting for me to finally really notice it. And earlier this week I did and I am glad I picked it up! This is a fun read – I have devoured other books written by Mead, but I think this could be my favorite series by her so far (as I haven’t read them all quite yet I can’t say for sure- but I am working on it). I enjoyed watching Georgia try to figure out the mystery – with clues for her and the readers sprinkled in along the way. I also think Mead was clever in the way she was able to make Georgia a relatable character by slowly revealing why she became a succubus in the first place and why it might have lead to her current funk.
Plus the opening scene is hilarious – I don’t want to spoil it for you – but it is really funny! Even better?! Much of the book is set in and around books which helps to ground the otherwise very urban fantay based book. I would recommend it to someone trying to fill the void left in their reading stack after finishing the Chicagoland Vampire Series. I don’t think you will be disappointed!
For the 10th anniversary of Twilight Meyer has re-published her original novel - then you flip the book over and you have the reimagined version called Life And Death, which is the original Twilight novel in which 98% of the character’s genders are reversed.
Meaning? Bella becomes Beau and Edward becomes Edythe. Life And Death is the same book as Twilight only told from Beau’s (male) point of view instead of Bella‘s (female) - just trying to be clear here. Why? In the introduction Meyer explains that she views Twilight as a book about the obsession/frenzy of first love - a story which she believes works for either sex - not just for the female point of view (BTW the gender swap is more pervasive than just Bella and Edward: it is Edward’s family, Jacob & the Wolves, teachers, Bella’s gaggle of school friends and the odd waiter - everyone except Bella‘s mom & dad have been swapped). But the big question here is does it really work?
Due to the rewrite Life And Death has a far more polished feel to it, this reimagining allowed Meyer to clean up all the clunky phrases, expand explanations and clear up any inconsistencies in the original text (since Twilight was the first book she ever wrote). The real differences lie in several key scenes which were altered due to the fact they wouldn’t work correctly with a male lead. But Meyer uses a deft hand in keeping the significance of the scene intact while altering the details to suit (don’t want to give too much away). Not bad, just different.
I want to grow up and be Mrs. Pollifax - a wonderful lady of an indeterminate age – and a spy! I could do without becoming a widow and the overwhelming feeling of purposelessness which almost drove her to step off the side of her apartment building’s roof; that doesn’t sound like very much fun either. But I suppose these key events are what helped propel Mrs. Pollifax into the world of espionage! On the upside, I don’t have any children to chase around after me wondering what I am up to, my family has always thought me a bit absurd with slightly off kilter tastes and I do happen to have a streak of common sense (I don’t always follow it, but it does warn me when I am about to do something spectacularly silly). So I don’t suppose I am all that far from wandering over to Langley, Virginia, and volunteering to become a spy!
Which is precisely what Mrs. Emily Pollifax does! Then a slight clerical mix-up propels her into her dream job and a few short days later Mrs. Pollifax finds herself in Mexico City waiting for a package….and things go very wrong when her contact goes missing and she’s abducted! She has a very exciting introduction to this shadowy world!
Who knew I could be nostalgic for the Cold War? This is precisely what I found happening while I was reading about Mrs. Pollifax’s adventures! When I was a kid I had a vague notion of the Cold War - international politics really didn’t hold my attention when I was nine. The nuclear bomb drills made a bigger impact on me - mostly because I thought they were dumb and a waste of time. I mean how can hiding under my desk save me from nuclear fallout? Really guys? The teachers never did answer that one, they just told me just to suck it up and participate in the mandatory drill. In any case, reading about Mrs. Pollifax aligned with what I did remember (plus with info from history classes I took later) about the political climate and the nature of spying I have read about over the years. It made me feel nostalgic for the “good old days” (shuddering at the thought of myself typing that phrase) when espionage was at a much lower tech level that it apparently is today.
While the premise of the book seems like it might be a bit far fetched - a lady of indeterminate age wandering into the CIA and becoming a spy, the book has such a matter of fact-ness to it that makes it feel believable. And as we know truth is often much stranger than fiction and everyone needs to start somewhere (and really who would suspect her of being a spy? That is why it is so perfect!). Don’t be fooled by Mrs. Pollifax’s absurd hats - she has a spine made of steel and an agile mind which she needs to use to their fullest so she can make it home in one piece from her “job”.
This book was first published in 1966 and the narrative still holds up today. If you have not read this series, I highly recommend that you start with The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax (there are fourteen in the series and they should be read in order)! I mean right now! Go to the internet or phone and order a copy from us! Seriously! *stern face*
No one knows where the Wood came from. No one in the valley remembers a time when the Wood didn’t hunt people and envelop whole villages. But everyone knows that the Dragon (an old and powerful wizard) is the one who keeps the Wood at bay and in exchange he takes one girl every ten years to serve him in his tower. Agnieszka was born in a choosing year, but she feels very little fear of being chosen - because her best friend Kasia is the most accomplished girl in her year. Everyone knows Kasia will be the one to leave the valley - until the choosing day when the Dragon makes up his own mind on which girl to take.
It has been a very long time since I have read an epic fantasy novel (there are light mystery elements to it as well) and I am sure glad this was my first foray back into the genre. With aspects of Into The Woods and Beauty And The Beast this book is quickly rising into classic favorite status in my library. Coupled with a unique and well-imagined foe, wizard and chosen one, this book is an absolute joy to read!
Dense, well paced and complicated, I cannot properly explain how engrossed I became in the book. While this type of story, something along the lines of a fairy tale or legend isn’t new - Novik breaths new life into this story telling tradition. How? Well to begin with, there isn’t a single damsel in distress - everyone needs saving somewhere along the lines - witches, warriors, wizards and a Queen. No one type of character is left tied to the railroad track waiting for their knight in shining armor to save them. Secondly, not all of the foes which are encountered are supernatural and no one is truly shiningly good or utterly bad. You understand their motives and can related to what happened - making me feel connected to the people I was reading about. Lastly I enjoyed the fact each character evolved in their relationships with the other characters. No one was static (well except for those who died, but that isn’t unexpected) anyone and everyone who encountered the Wood never left the meeting unchanged.
It’s funny the more I like the book the harder it is for me to write about it! But trust me, this book is well worth your time and energy.
My 52 With Christie: A.Miner 2015
Humans and Others in the Lakeside Courtyard are working hard to regain their equilibrium in the aftermath of the Elders brutal justice. A new normal is finally starting to assert itself – when the Elders once again threaten. Only this time it is the peace of the Courtyard and the continued existence of humans which balances on the knife point. The Elders have come to Lakeside to study the humans and the smaller Others – to see how they work together and how to spot the humans who wish further harm to the terra indigene. Fate seems to have consired to help them – in the form of Lieutenant Montgomery’s manipulative brother. Giving the Elders a new kind of predator to observe – tying Simon’s paws – as they won’t allow him to drive Jimmy from the Courtyard.
I really enjoyed reading this book - once again immersing myself in the lives of some of my favorite characters. Perhaps this book wasn’t quite as focused as the first three – the building of tension and focus on the machinations of this new kind of predator wasn’t quite as honed. That being said, Bishop’s atmospheric writing style was in full force in this book and was wonderful to read. She furthered many of the Courtyard residents’ personal stories and an unresolved mystery. All of which makes me curious where Bishop will take the series next. As she’s stated that while Simon & Meg’s story may be concluded this isn’t the last installment in the Others series!
All in all I would highly recommend reading this book if you’ve loved the rest of the series. When I finished the book I felt satisfied with the ending – well disappointed that I will have to wait a whole ‘nother year (at least) for a new installment , especially since I finished this book in about a day and a half (none of my chores got done on my day off) – I don’t think you will be left wanting when this book is concluded. BTW if you like urban fantasy and haven’t read Written In Red yet – you must! You will be hooked on this series – but they should be read in order.
Polly and Charles are leaving home for the first time to join other kids at the Galileo Academy. Which wouldn’t be remarkable - except home is Colony One on Mars. And Polly has to learn how to navigate in a whole new world, literally, as she will be leaving Mars for the first time to attend school on Earth….with the children of Earth’s elite, navigating a social stratum which doesn’t exist in Colony One, with rules she doesn’t understand or even really care about.
Soon enough Polly starts making a few friends, others who come from settlments on orbiting stations and the Moon – and a few earth natives as well. Just when she’s starting to adjust to her surroundings (and gravity) weird accidents start happening…
This is an interesting read – in a good way. Vaughn does a good job in placing you in Polly’s shoes a human who is a Mars native viewing Earth and its eccentricities (and waste) for the first time - while keeping the narrative on track and without Polly ever sounding fussy or pretentious. And believe me, the narrative is tight, well plotted and never takes a break - every interaction is important for one reason or another.
There is one thing which makes me hesitate recommending this book to anyone who devours light science fiction mysteries. The reason? While the book is billed as an adult novel – it isn’t. This is very much a young adult novel packaged to look like an adult one. It is told from the perspective of a seventeen year old girl who needs to discover who she is on Earth and who is out to sabatoge normally safe endeavors. So you need to have at least a small interest in reading YA novels to read this one – which is fine with me – but not everyone’s cup of tea. I think due to her adult series, the publisher thought it was better to bill the book this way – but that is just me speculating.
But make no mistake about it - I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to any YA reader, adult or kid alike, who wants a fast-paced, focused mystery to read!
It all started when Mercy’s step-daughter stabbed her in the back. Well, to be fair, they were playing a pirate MMO – but still – and it probebly wouldn’t have happened except for Mercy’s propensity for baking chocolate chip cookies when she was knocked out of the game! When Mercy discovers that someone ate all the eggs and half of the chocolate chips (shocking! In a house filled werewolves who notoriously have big appetites – someone ate some of her ingredients…) she decides to hit the convenience store (the “shop and rob”) for supplies. Which begins Mercy’s inadvertaint European adventure – filled with near death experinces, vampires, power plays, a pilot named Matt Smith, and Adam in the thick of diplomatic relations.
This was a fun page turning read - a great installment in the Mercy Thompson series. It furthers our knowledge of Marsilia, Wulfe and Stefan – and gives us a fair peek into the runnings of the European packs and seethes, all the while adding to Mercy’s reputation for causing chaos for those who hate her – well and for those who love her - fortunatly it tends to be less destructive for them. To be fair.
I would recommend this book to any and all who enjoy reading the Mercy series. You will like it as much as I did. Briggs structured this novel a bit differently than she has any of the other books in the series which adds a newish element making this book feel fresh – which encourages the reader to devour it whole. If you haven’t read anything in the Mercy series – I suggest you read the first book Moon Called before tackling this one (actually I recommend reading all of them - to be honest) so you have a good footing in the world. Then just dive in. But as a warning, you do get the most out of this series if read in order! Enjoy!
Amelia Peabody’s adventure starts with a death in 1884 England. Now mind you, in this case there was nothing sinister – her father passed away of natural causes in his study leaving Amelia whith a nice inheritance and home – allowing her to become a woman of independence and freedom she’d never experienced before. So Amelia in her indominable fashion decided to travel – Greece, Rome, Babylon and Thebes - places she’d read about with her father but never had seen. On her travels, she aquired an odd assortment of friends, a mystery and a mummy in an adventure that even she couldn’t have dreamed of having!
I cannot say how much I enjoyed reading this book! I took my time and savored the characters, Egypt and her adventures. Amelia was so herself, forthright, clear and a force of nature that she was wonderful to read. Peters did a fine job of making me feel like I was in Egypt – when the tombs were first being uncovered by archaologists (not the earlier grave robbers) and the excitement over such finds. The adventure told in such a way to remind me of Jane Austen’s style but with more action - haunted tombs, wandering mummies and the odd kidnapping. I cannot believe I waited so long to start this series! I am so excited I have so many books ahead of me!
Now there is an odd thing I must mention. I felt a strange-ish sense of déja vu while reading this book – but I knew I’d never cracked the spine before…. It wasn’t until Amelia started wielding her parasol in a rather aggressive manner that I keyed into where I’d read this before! Then when I remembered the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) Egyptian influence I’d read in another book did my suspisions really begin to solidify. I believe Gail Carriger’s “Soulless” series, her heroine Alexia Tarabotti especially, is firmly rooted in Elizabeth Peter’s Amelia Peabody series! Yes I know, Soulless includes vampires, werewolves and dirigibles – but if you strip these trappings away (which is how Carriger made her books into something new and fresh) the two series are not as dis-similar as you would think! (Now to be fair I don’t know for sure that Carriger rooted her first series in the soil planted by Peters – however there is such a degree of familiarity between the women and a few other characters, I am not sure how it could be accidental.)
I would recommend this series to anyone who enjoys reading a strong female lead, historicals or Egypt! I would also recommend this series to anyone who enjoyed reading the “Soulless” series – while there isn’t any paranormal activity (well, not that isn’t faked) – Amelia & Alexia share so much in common I don’t see how a fan would not enjoy reading Amelia’s adventures! (btw Peters wrote her first book in 1975 – well before Soulless, in case anyone wonders which came first) Basically, I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading a well written adventure/mystery/Egyptologist book!