Thursday, December 18, 2014

Black Widow

Title: Black Widow

Author: Jennifer Estep [Website][Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: Pocket Books Urban Fantasy

Series: Elemental Assassin, Bk 12

ISBN: 9781476774541

Length: 357 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

I'm a big fan of this series.


Once again I was tense through much of this book.  It was pretty consistently high danger.  The exception being some of the description, which I tend to skim over (I'm not a very visual reader - I "hear" more than "see" when I read.)  There are flashbacks, which I'm not a fan of, but as long as they remain about events that I haven't already read are acceptable.  And they were relevant to the story.  Which is...

Gin's world is constantly changing as she faces each new bad dude, and her conflict with MM Monroe will bring even more change.  The late big bad Mab's daughter has finally chosen to strike out at Gin.  She isn't so direct as her mother, and her maneuvering seems to hit all the harder because of it.  But Gin isn't one to just back down.

I can't wait to read the next book, Spider's Trap, due out July 2015.

Dog Days

Title: Dog Days

Author: John Levitt [Website] aka J. R. Levitt

Publisher: Penguin

Series: Dog Days, Bk 1

ISBN: 9781101208663

Length: 304 pages

Obtained: Library ebook copy

Why this book?:

I saw another book in this series on Wowbrary and it caught my interest.  But I read series in order, so this one needed to come first.  I didn't want to wait for ILL so I requested my library purchase the ebook.


Mason is a magic practitioner with a dog-like companion (an Ifrit) name Lou/Louie.  He's not very invested in his magic.  He uses it sure, but he doesn't put much into it.  Music is more his thing.  But someone seems to have a problem with him, and he's found himself in some sticky situations.  Situations that may or may not be related to some strange goings-on.

I enjoyed reading this, though I had trouble with one part.  The reasoning in the book is that people familiar with magic and Ifrits just expect things to happen a certain way, but... Well it bothered me, but I moved past it, and I look forward to reading the next book in the series, New Tricks.

Monday, December 15, 2014

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (12/15/2014) #IMWAYR

Hosted by: Sheila @ Book Journey

To participate go here.


Friday night we (myself, my mother, and my sister) babysat 3 youngsters along with my sister's kids.  Six kids ranging from infant - 7.  We ate pizza, decorated cookies, and the baby ended the night with a high fever.  Talk about chaos.

Saturday night after work was an annual gift exchange / pajama party with a bunch of female relatives.  I was so relieved it went well.  The past couple haven't been so great.

We took the kiddos to see Santa yesterday.  The line was forever long, but the picture was adorable.

The rest of the week has been busy but as usual.  Work. Sleep (or lack of). Family.  Errands.  Holiday Prep.  I'm going out of the country in January, so I have a lot to get done in advance.

This week I've read:

The Killing Time (Grimm, Bk 3) by Tim Waggoner [My Thoughts]

Poison Promise (Elemental Assassin, Bk 11) by Jennifer Estep [My Thoughts]

I'm Currently Reading:

Dog Days (Dog Days, Bk 1) by John Levitt [Goodreads]

Coming Soon: 

Black Widow (Elemental Assassin, Bk 12) by Jennifer Estep [Goodreads]

What are you reading?

Poison Promise

Title: Poison Promise

Author: Jennifer Estep [Website][Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: Pocket Books Urban Fantasy

Series: Elemental Assassin, Bk 11

ISBN: 9781476771502

Length: 389 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

I love this series. I was about to read the most recent book when I realized I hadn't read this one.


As usual with the Elemental Assassin books, I enjoyed Poison Promise.  Though I don't know that "enjoy" is the right word as I'm caught up with tension waiting to see how Gin will work things out for most of the story.  There are so many factors that I do enjoy however. 

1) It is an assassin story, and I have a thing for thief and assassin stories. 

2) The characters are great. 
    a) Gin, who is conflicted, but I can't help but like.  Her loyalty to her friends and family is fabulous.  Her resilience is something to behold. 
    b) Owen, who is like a rock for her now.  I think I may be half in love with him myself. 
    c) Finn who is so funny and another constant for Gin. 
    d) Etc. (and there are several others)

3) Despite the tension, there is always humor in these books.  As I read I'll find myself grinning at some line or other.  Unfortunately, when I repeat it aloud the line usually doesn't sound as funny, so the humor obviously has a lot to do with context.

4) The hook.  I don't know that this is a good thing when I have to wait for the next book, but for books like this one, where I have the next one ready to go, it is very good.  I'm not a fan of cliffhangers, per se.  But the individual story has been resolved.  You have that satisfaction.  It's the overall arc that keeps things moving from one book to the next.

Needless to say I am eager to begin book 12 in the series, Black Widow.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Killing Time

Title: The Killing Time

Author: Tim Waggoner [Website][Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: Titan Books

Series: Grimm, Bk 3

ISBN: 9781781166581

Length: 262 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

It's Grimm!


I was so excited about this book, so I don't know why it took me so long to start it after I checked it out early October.  Of course once I started it, I zipped through it.

I'm getting ahead of myself though.  I was pleased that the characters felt pretty spot on in this one.  The only character that seemed different was Nick, but those differences were internal (so not necessarily something I'd get from the TV show) and necessary for the story.

This story falls after the voodoo-priest/Cracher-Mortel story arc and before the more recent loss of powers bit.  A shapeshifter type of Wesen called Wechselbalg has come to Portland.  Nick's had an in person encounter with unpredictable and not pleasant results.  It's reeking havoc; the last such occurrence (Wechselbalg taking on Grimm form) led to such horror that it is called the Killing Time.  Is it possible for Nick and friends to avoid a repeat of this, or are they doomed to repeat history?

Anyway, I'm so happy novels are being written for this show and really hope the series continues on both TV and book levels.  The first three books came pretty quickly one after the other, but I'm pretty concerned that I haven't seen anything about a fourth title yet.  Maybe they are slowing down as they're approaching being caught up with the show?

Monday, December 8, 2014

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (12/8/2014) #IMWAYR

Hosted by: Sheila @ Book Journey

To participate go here.

So far this month I've read:

Finding Noel by Richard Paul Evans

Raid and the Blackest Sheep (Raid, Bk 4) by Harri Nykänen

Juba Good (Ray Robertson Mystery, Bk 1) by Vicki Delany

Search and Rescue (Claire Abbott Mystery, Bk 1) by Gail Anderson-Dargatz

Up next:

The Killing Time (Grimm, Bk 3) by Tim Waggoner [Goodreads]

What are you reading?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Search and Rescue

Title: Search and Rescue

Author: Gail Anderson-Dargatz [Website][Twitter]

Publisher: Raven Books Rapid Reads

Series: Clair Abbott Mystery, Bk 1

ISBN: 9781459805767

Length: 102 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

This is one of the Rapid Reads books I asked the library to read.  It is also another book that counts toward the 8th annual Canadian Book Challenge held by The Book Mine Set since Gail Anderson-Dargatz lives in British Columbia.


Hmmm.  Claire seems like an interesting character.  But her mom seems a bit of a ditz and Claire has indications of following in her footsteps - and I'm not referring to the psychic abilities.  This is one of the Rapid Reads which means it is supposed to promote adult literacy.  It takes place all in one night, with dangerous conditions and scenario to help keep the blood pumping and the reader involved.  

In general, I enjoyed it, and I probably would/will read more of the series.  

But that isn't to say I didn't recognize problems and they do exist.  The rest of this has SPOILERS... beware...

- Claire stands up her date - again.  And despite repeated reminders, never calls to tell him or explain.
- Claire, once knowing she's going to trek around in dangerous winter conditions in search of a missing girl, does not take the time to stop and change her entirely inappropriate clothes or pick up the mobile phone she left at home.
- Claire's mom, instead of getting help in a hostage situation, sticks around so they all are in danger with no possibility of backup.  This leaves them dependent on sheer luck. !!! This is the only point I mention about Claire's mom, but it is such a big one I just couldn't BELIEVE it.
- After everyone, including Mike, believes in Claire, he takes her out.  Claire STILL hasn't contacted her planned date.  She thinks it's over, and has decided she's not really into him.  But she hasn't even told him yet.  Seemed kinda tacky and in poor manners.  On both her and Mike's parts (he's aware of the situation).

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Juba Good

Title: Juba Good

Author: Vicki Delaney [Website][Facebook][Twitter] aka Eva Gates [Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: Raven Books Rapid Reads

Series: Ray Robertson Mystery, Bk 1

ISBN: 9781459804906

Length: 119 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

I was checking out some of the Rapid Reads titles.  When I saw Vicki Delany had a new one I had to request the library get it.  Plus it counts toward the 8th annual Canadian Book Challenge held by The Book Mine Set since Vicki Delany lives in Ontario.


Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sergeant Ray Robertson is approaching the end of his year in Juba, South Sudan as a UN mentor.  But there has been a string of murders and piecing together clues as to who the killer may be isn't easy under the conditions.

Like all Rapid Reads the book is a quick read, with short sentences and simple wording while remaining engaging and fast paced (though not as much so as some I've read)... Perfect for reluctant readers, etc. who still want adult material.

The book also provided an interesting (if sometimes difficult) view of this newly (2011) independent state.  I'm very interested in reading more about Ray Robertson in future stories.

Raid and the Blackest Sheep

Title: Raid and the Blackest Sheep aka Raid Ja Mustempi Lammas

Author: Harri Nykänen [IMDb][Ice Cold Crime]; Translated by Peter Ylitalo Leppa

Publisher: Ice Cold Crime

Series: Raid, Bk 4 (but the 1st Raid book in English)

ISBN: 9780982444924

Length: 242 pages

Obtained: Library ILL copy

Why this book?:

I've been trying to read more Scandinavian (and currently Finish) authors.  I did not realize this was a 4th book at the time.


Nygren is dying, and is traveling across Finland with Raid, taking care of business, on some last mission before the time comes.  The police are hot on his trail, though no one seems to know why the Lieutenant is so set on catching up with Nygren other than vague "he's up to something" comments.

Raid seems to be functioning as bodyguard and chauffeur, but when things get messy he doesn't flinch.   I found Raid to be an interesting character, as both "bad guy" and "good guy" wrapped in one.  And there are a couple small surprises throughout the book, though none elt as large as perhaps they were meant to.

Anyway, while the story was interesting, I'm not sure I'll continue this series unless they get the translations in order.  I do intend to try Harri Nykänen's other series the Ariel Kafka mysteries.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Finding Noel

Title: Finding Noel

Author: Richard Paul Evans [Website][Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

ISBN: 9780743298339

Length: 320 pages

Obtained: Library ebook version

Why this book?:

It is the December book club selection.


When I first learned that we'd be doing this book for the discussion (when I took the group back in June or so), I was like "great" (dripping in sarcasm).  When I read the description for the publicity I switched to intrigued.  When I started reading it I zipped through.  I found the writing to be fluid.  The story interesting.  The characters likable.

Mark is living Salt Lake City, Utah.  His life is crumbling... he's lost his scholarship and is out of school, he received a letter from his girlfriend of 4 years breaking their relationship off because she met someone else and is engaged.  He has a crummy car that just stopped working and a crummy job that will make affording car repairs difficult.  But most of all his beloved mother has passed.  Then he meets Macy and life events start snowballing, though maybe for the better this time (Is that possible?  For things to snowball uphill rather than down?)

Anyway, I saw some of the reviews on Goodreads, and I know not everyone agrees with me about the quality of this book/story.  But we are barely into December (at the time of writing this), and I've already finished the month's book.  So I look forward to hear what any of the other participants think.

And while I won't be doing so soon for time reasons, I wouldn't have any problems trying another book by this author.