Monday, April 21, 2014

Ghost Seer

Title: Ghost Seer

Author: Robin D. Owens [Website][Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: Berkley Sensation Paranormal Romance

Series: Ghost Seer, Bk 1

ISBN: 9780425268902

Length: 296 pages + "Author's Note and Acknowledgements"

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

As soon as I saw Robin D. Owens was putting another book out I requested the library purchase it.  This was just after I caught up with the Celta series.

Comments: 


 So this is a new series by Robin.  It is actually set in the western part of the U.S. (primarily Colorado) the entire time.  This is different than the two series I have read before - "Celta Heartmate" and "Llandra" (I haven't tried the "Enchanted" series yet).  The writing, the characters, the "voice" that all remains the same.  But I have to say I think the setting changed the feel some.  

And the setting is important.  Main character Clare has developed the ability to see ghosts from a certain period and area.  Namely ghosts from the Old West.  And she needs to live in the area where those ghosts are from.  In this case she is helping the ghost of gunslinger Jack Slade.  I hadn't heard of him before but in the Notes at the end Robin mentions a couple of books she used for her research.  This caught my interest enough that I actually check one of them - The Death of a Gunslinger: The Quest for Jack Slade, the West's Most Elusive Legend - out.  I haven't gotten very far - just the introduction - but we'll see if I can actually keep with it.

Anyway, because this is also a romance we also have a hero in the story.  Zach Slade has always been in police work.  But he was injured on the job, has some lasting wounds, and can no longer work in his chosen field.  The closest he can get is private investigator, as much as he sneers at even the words.  Zach is a very bitter character, but Clare seems to help "heal" his attitude and he improves with time.

And how can I forget Clare's new sidekick, Enzo.  He's a dog... and a ghost.  Which means he can talk.  And apparently he is occasionally something more as well.

Anyway, I still anxiously await another book in the Celta Heartmate series, but I look forward to reading the next book in this series, Ghost Layer, too.  And maybe I'll read the Enchanted series while I wait.

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened

Title: Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened

Author: Allie Brosh [Website][Website Pt 2][Twitter][Website Facebook]

Publisher: Touchstone

ISBN: 9781451666175

Length: 369 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

I saw it on Wowbrary.  It looked interesting.  I started it on a whim.

Comments:


Very interesting.  Parts are funny, especially relating to the dogs and some of the childhood stories.  And parts were surprisingly deep.  My father has issues with depression (a lot more long term than I get the impression Allie's was, but still) and has actually attempted suicide, and it was interesting to see it from that perspective instead of the family members, and in such a descriptive way.  And of course parts are just okay.  But I don't expect anyone trying to funny to strike me that way every single time.  Anyway, I'm glad I read it.  I spent some interesting time browsing Allie's blog about midway through the book.  And I ("duh" moment) realized she's the one that does that "clean all the things!" which is very amusing in context.

Author video interview:
 

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Tale of Two Biddies

Title: A Tale of Two Biddies

Author: Kylie Logan [Website][Facebook][Twitter] aka Casey Daniels [Website][Facebook][Twitter] aka Miranda Bliss aka Zoe Daniels aka Constance Laux aka Connie Deka aka Connie Lane aka Connie Laux

Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime Mystery

Series: League of Literary Ladies, Bk 2

ISBN: 9780425257760

Length: 276 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

I enjoyed the first book in the series and was interested in reading more.  Plus books and book discussions and cozy mystery and a cover with a cute cat...

Comments:

The League of Literary Ladies have been reading A Tale of Two Cities.  Like the first book in this series, I have not read this classic (yet).  That did not detract from my enjoyment of the story, (though I know even less about Dickens's book and needed all the details provided throughout.  The town is even more immersed in literature than usual because they are having a special Bastille festival, complete with a Dickens impersonator competition. 

Between the various Charles Dickens, the re-named formerly big rock boy band members, and the locals there are plenty of suspects when the chaos-causing and much-hated handyman Richie is murdered.

So you can rather guess who the culprit is (although there is actually more than one mystery) due to some pretty large hints.  But plenty of twists - and suspects - keep you from being too sure, so that was okay.

Bea Cartwright is settling in.  Her B&B is doing well.  She is keeping a truce with her neighbors and book discussion group (dare I say she has even become friends with them?).  She and Levi have more potential for developing a relationship.  The fly in the ointment is that Bea is STILL not sharing anything from her past life with anybody.  And can all these budding friendships survive on secrets?

Anyway, I look forward to reading the third book in the series.  And maybe by then I'll have read some of these classics.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Mayhem at the Orient Express

Title: Mayhem at the Orient Express

Author: Kylie Logan [Website][Facebook][Twitter] aka Casey Daniels [Website][Facebook][Twitter] aka Miranda Bliss aka Zoe Daniels aka Constance Laux aka Connie Deka aka Connie Lane aka Connie Laux

Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime Mystery

Series: League of Literary Ladies, Bk 1

ISBN: 9780425257753

Length: 282 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

A cozy mystery featuring "literary ladies," at title referencing a classic cozy mystery, and a cat on the cover.  How could I resist?

Comments:

I enjoy pretty much any book that involves books, but those that parallel a classic work seem to have an extra touch of fun.  I haven't read Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express (yet), but I know enough of the story that I could see those parallels.  And if you aren't familiar with the story, teh relevant parts are discussed.  But this is more than just an "inspired by" book.  It also has book discussion.  And I love that part as well.

Now the part that annoyed me is the secrecy of the main character, Bea.  I understand she's getting away and doesn't want her business leaked all over town.  She certainly doesn't want it to be spread beyond that.  She's been the victim of a stalker before, and she has a secret, apparently high-profile identity (and while the reader is not specifically told what that identity is, you are given abundant and obvious clues).  But despite all the validity of her wanting privacy and normalcy, she needs to learn to trust.  I am a nosy (I want to know what is going on) and open (I will talk about my life to friends and family.  I don't hold back because of the stigma of the situation.) person, both.  I can keep your secrets, but I dislike ones kept from me.  And I feel strongly that family and/or friends (if you aren't close to your family) should be kept in the loop.

Anyway, that's a personal quirk that nagged throughout the book, but it didn't detract from me enjoying the story or characters.  I look forward to reading more of the series and have, in fact, already read book 2, A Tale of Two Biddies.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Cherry Cola Book Club

Title: The Cherry Cola Book Club

Author: Ashton Lee

Publisher: Kensington Fiction

Series: Cherry Cola Book Club, Bk 1

ISBN: 9780758273413

Length: 243 + "Recipes for Loyal, Hungry Readers" + A Reading Group Guide (Discussion Questions)

Why this book?:

It featured a book club.  It has a bright, cheery, cozy, attractive cover.  (I really love the cover.)  I was in the right mood to pick it up (I put in a purchase request for it back when it was first coming out but never read it until now).

Comments:

The librarian and library in trouble theme interested me.  Oh, and the library programming aspect was especially interesting.  The library will be shut down (crossed off the town's budget) if Beth can't show that the library is an integral part of the community and important to the voters.  And the solution she decides on is a new book club.

In some ways the friendships built in this book reminded me of Jennifer Chiaverini's Elm Creek books (or at least the 1 I've read).  On the other hand, I hesitate to call this women's fiction because it makes such a point of bringing up how men can read and participate in book discussions, etc.  But mostly that's how it felt.

Anyway, I look forward to reading the next book, The Reading Circle.

Embedding was disabled (how stupid is that?), but if you'd like you can find a YouTube trailer about The Cherry Cola Book Club here [Trailer].

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Pretenders (Cemetery Girl)

Title: The Pretenders

Author: Charlaine Harris [Website][Facebook][IMDb] and Christopher Golden [Website][Facebook][Twitter]; Illustrated by Don Kramer [Website][Facebook]

Publisher: InkLit

Series: Cemetery Girl, Bk 1

ISBN: 9780425256664

Length: 120 + script excerpt of Bk 2: Inheritance

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

As soon as I saw Charlaine Harris had a couple new series coming out I requested the library purchase them.  This was after reading the Harper Connelly series and starting the Lily Bard series.

Comments:

Reading this went very fast.  I started on my lunch hour and was 3/4 through when I had to go back to work.  I finished it that evening.

The story is very graphic (in the violence, etc. not the graphic novel format, though it is that too) and I can definitely see Charlaine Harris's writing in it as that (the graphic nature) is something I noticed quite a bit of in her other series. 

While part of what made it such a fast read is its format, part was due to how engrossing the story was.  I was almost, though not quite, as interested to learn who Calexa was/is as she is.  I found her newly discovered (newly occurring?) abilities intriguing.  Another part of what makes the story move is the jumps in time.  Days, weeks, and months go by, all with just quick notations here or a flash over pictures there.

I was a bit thrown by the way Calexa narrates the stories.  I'll admit I don't read graphic novels often, so perhaps this is normal.  But I expected thought bubbles in present tense, not narrations to catch the reader up on the time jumps.  (I hope that made sense... I don't know how else to explain it.)

Anyway, the story exclusive to this book of the new series revolves around a group of teens that decide to get into some dark stuff in the cemetery where Calexa is living (mostly on whim, but with one serious participant) and get involved in murder.  Calexa is a witness, but can she do anything to seek justice for the victim?

I look forward to reading Inheritance and finding out more of Calexa's past, as well as seeing what other mysteries she will stumble upon while living in a cemetery.

Trailer:
 

The Corpse with the Silver Tongue

Title: The Corpse with the Silver Tongue

Author: Cathy Ace [Website][Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: TouchWood Editions

Series: Cait Morgan, Bk 1

ISBN: 9781927129098

Length: 240 pages

Obtained: ILL Library copy

Why this book?:

The series was being featured as the February Cozy Mystery Book Club on A Prairie Girl Reads.  It's the first in the series (or so I thought), and I was thrilled at the idea of a Cozy Mystery Book Club.  The author lives in Canada, so it has the added bonus of fitting the 7th annual Canadian Book Challenge at The Book Mine Set.

Comments:

First, I finished reading this in the first week of March so this is late coming and I don't remember all the details.  Plus I had to return the book, so I don't have it on hand to refer to.

Cait Morgan was born in Wales, lives in Canada, and is currently visiting France on business.  She's a professor (with a focus on Criminology or something along those lines) that used to be in advertising and now consults for the police the side.  She runs into a former boss from her old life, accepts an unwanted invitation to a party for said former boss's wife, and is therefore present and the only unfamiliar face when said former boss dies, apparently of poison.  Plus there's been a theft.  Of course, Cait's a suspect.  And she can't go home until this is all sorted out.  So what better time to put her investigative skills to use?

The story was interesting.  Several elements were mixed in to make things messy.  But it does appear that this is not be the first of Cait's adventures.  There are short stories that took place before this, so I have to track those down before I can move on.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Chopping Block

Title: The Chopping Block

Author: John Passarella [Website][Twitter][Facebook]

Publisher: Titan Books

Series: Grimm, Bk 2

ISBN: 9781781166567

Length: 315 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

As soon as I saw this was coming out, I put in a purchase request at the library.  I love the show Grimm; I simply couldn't pass this up.

Comments:

This came out incredibly soon after Bk 1.  And yet I felt that many of the complaints from the first book were addressed in this one.  

Before you start reading there is a "Historian's Note" stating that this book would fall between the episodes "The Walking Dead" and "Goodnight, Sweet Grimm," while the timeline in regards to The Icy Touch was blurry. 

To me the characters in this book felt more authentic.  I didn't suddenly feel distaste towards characters I had previously liked.

While the story/crime was totally sick and gruesome, I was definitely engaged.  Your everyday average human is turning up in dumping grounds, wesen are eating them in an ancient tradition, and there is a tight deadline with friends and innocents lives on the line.

In other words, while I enjoyed the first book as a fan, this book was a definite step up.  I look forward to reading future Grimm books and discovering what else is in store for Nick, his friends, and Portland.

Murder at Hatfield House

Title: Murder at Hatfield House

Author: Amanda Carmack [Website] aka Amanda McCabe [Website][Twitter][Facebook] aka Laurel McKee [Website]

Publisher: Obsidian Mystery

Series: Kate Haywood Elizabethan Mystery, Bk 1

ISBN: 9780451415110

Length: 265 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

It sounded interesting.

Comments:

When I first started it, I wasn't sure if I was going to like it.  I wasn't quite getting into the setting.  I've never paid much mind to royalty to begin with (I know that makes me odd man out), and I definitely don't know much about Elizabeth before she took the throne.  So the basics of the history were unfamiliar as well.

I eventually became settled in the setting.  And I liked Kate Haywood (though she had a remarkable amount of freedom considering she was close to such a high profile figure...or maybe it was because of that?).  I was not so psyched about the fellows in the book.  Kate is good friends with an lawyer-in-training, and I didn't care for him so much.  I guess the actor fellow might have been okay (other than being such a womanizer).  He wasn't in the story much, but his first scene was actually from his perspective instead of Kate's.  This leads me to believe he might have a larger role in future books?  Otherwise, why the shift?  The book was already in third person.  The other time perspective shifted was with the villain.  But in that situation it made more sense.

Anyway, I am interested in continuing with the next book, Murder at Westminster Abbey, is due out April 1, 2014).  But I didn't fall in love, so book two will be a decider in regards to my continuation of the series.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Clockwork Three

Title: The Clockwork Three

Author: Matthew J. Kirby [Website][Twitter]

Publisher: Scholastic Press

ISBN: 9780545203395

Length: 386 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

I saw it on Wowbrary and it looked interesting.

Comments:

The author says this isn't a historical fiction, but by my way of thinking it really is.  You can tell it is set in a past time based on a variety of factors including the setting, circumstances, laws, etc.  It's not based on true events, but it is inspired by them...

Anyway, beyond that.  The story tells of three children who come from tough situations.They meet and find that 1) the world isn't such a lonely place as they thought and 2) they can help each other to do what needs doing/get where they want to go.

Overall I found the book a cute and interesting diversion.

Trailer:
 

Matthew J. Kirby on The Clockwork Three: