Thursday, September 22, 2016

Savage plus bonus "Bounties: The Candy Heiress"

Title: Savage

Author: R.A. Jones [WizardWorld]; Illustrated by Ted Slampyak [Website][Facebook]

Publisher: Caliber Comics

Series: Savage, Issues # 1-5

Length: 122 pages

Obtained: Online digital holding

Why this book?:

I enjoyed the Jazz Age Chronicles by Ted Slampyak and this sounded intriguing.

Comments:

Before slaying her, Christian Savage agrees to tell a modern female vampire about his past in the Wild West including his scar, his parentage, and his vampire slaying mission.

I'm not a comic connoisseur, so I can't give much critique to this.  But I found it interesting in a strange way.

Bonus:

Bounties: The Candy Heiress by David Watkins; Illustrated by Ted Slampyak [Website][Facebook] featuring Saddlebag Jones

Um. Okay.  I didn't expect a completely unrelated story, and so it threw me off.

It was kind of silly, actually, in the premise. Rich girl runs off to try her luck in the Wild West, and Saddlebag Jones is sent to fetch her.  In the meantime the heiress pitches a fit when not everyone is on board with her experiencing the west and all it stereotypically entails (drink, gambling, etc.)... I won't tell you more, lest I spoil too much, but yes, I think silly is an accurate description.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Heart and Brain

Title: Heart and Brain

Author: Nick Seluk [persona-magazine.com] aka the Awkward Yeti [Website][Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Series: Heart and Brain, Bk 1 (Spinoff of the Awkward Yeti)

ISBN: 9781449470890

Length: 143 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

I've seen the memes online, and a coworker recommended it.

Comments:

Very fun.  Unfortunately, the people I tried to share with didn't get the jokes.  But still, I was amused, and that is what really counts, right?  Several scenarios are covered (employment/vacation, insomnia, money and spending habits, eating/food, caffeine addiction, etc.), and I could relate to many of them.

The next book in this series (based on the webcomic, theAwkwardYeti.com) is Heart and Brain: Gut Instincts, due to be released in the next month.  I look forward to reading it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Unraveled

Title: Unraveled

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

Publisher: Pocket Books Urban Fantasy

Series: Elemental Assassin, Bk 15

ISBN: 9781501142215

Length: 373 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

Love the series and author.

Comments:

Gin and crew leave Ashland for a western-themed resort.  Which is interesting and kind of fun to have this new setting.  But going gives Gin a bad feeling from the start, and it seems her worries are right on track.  Though really, she needed to come, because it places her in a position to take care of a nasty enemy and gather information on the ever mysterious "Circle" (the most recent dangerous bad guys Gin needs to roust).

I eagerly await more elemental assassin books (and novellas) in the future.  Nice Guys Bite (Bk 15.5) is due out in December (I'm telling myself that isn't too long a wait) and Snared is due out in April.

Monday, September 19, 2016

A Test of Wills

Title: A Test of Wills

Author: Charles Todd [Website][Facebook] aka Charles Todd and Caroline Todd

Publisher: Harper

Series: Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery, Bk 1

ISBN: 9780062091611

Length: 305 pages + "Questions for Discussion"

Obtained: Library book club book

Why this book?:

Chosen for a book club I'm in, mystery

Comments:

Because of my own family, the first thing that really struck me about this book was Ian's issues.  The origin may be different, PTSD rather than another type of mental illness, but I'm still not used to having protagonists who has auditory hallucinations.

Beyond that, though, we have a mystery that no one wishes to speak of or help solve.  Why smear the reputation of their small village?  Why not just have the murderer taken away and be done with it?  The majority of characters were burying their heads in the sand, and when Ian Rutledge kept jostling them from the comfort of denial, they responded with obstinate silence and the least cooperation they could manage.

It was very frustrating, because the end result meant going in circles.  In any case, I did not guess who the murderer was.  In fact, the suspense had built to such a point that I zipped right through certain events and with a "Wait. What?!?" had to backtrack and reread to follow what had just occurred.

I'm interested reading more of the series, though I don't know when I'll get to them.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Chaos Choreography

Title: Chaos Choreography

Author: Seanan McGuire [Website Bio 1][Website Bio 2][Website Bio 3][Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: DAW

Series: InCryptid, Bk 5

ISBN: 9781101602423

Obtained: Library ebook copy

Why this book?:

I've enjoyed this series, needed an ebook to read, and the timing finally worked out.

Comments:

Verity has a second chance at dance, although she had already decided her cryptology and helping people - humans and cryptids alike - was more important.  But she can't always wonder what if, so she pulls her cover identity 'Valerie' on and heads down with husband (under an alias of his own).  But things are off from the beginning, and Verity finds a mess (murder does tend to be) larger than just she and Dominic can handle.  So her dad sends unexpected backup.

With new characters and repeats as well as interactions with new cryptids and the more familiar, this was another fun read in the series.  The ending that was startlingly chaotic (to match the title) and, while settled generally, sets up for future books; it appears the next book will be Magic for Nothing.  I look forward to reading it.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Unwanted

Title: Unwanted

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

Publisher: Pocket Star

Series: Elemental Assassin, Bk 14.5

ISBN: 9781501142291

Obtained: Library ebook copy

Why this book?:

First I LOVE this series.  Second, who wouldn't want Finn's thoughts on the drama that took place in book 14, Bitter Bite?

Comments:

I can't say too much without spoiling some of what happened in Bitter Bite.  Suffice it to say Finn feels very down about previous events, and is having an identity crisis.  But events happen, and he discovers a little violence (in the name of helping someone) is a good way to perk up, burn off some of the negative energy/emotions, and find a way to move along in life.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Jazz Age Chronicles

Title: Jazz Age Chronicles, Vol. 1: "The Case of the Beguiling Baroness" Plus "Vote Early & Often"

Author: Ted Slampyak [Website][Facebook]

Publisher: Caliber Comics

Series: Jazz Age Chronicles, Volume 1, Issues #1-5

Length: 137 pages
Title: Jazz Age Chronicles, Vol. 2: "The Flowers of San Pedro" Plus "A Stranger in Bryn Mawr"

Author: Ted Slampyak [Website][Facebook]

Publisher: Caliber Comics

Series: Jazz Age Chronicles, Volume 2, Issues #6-9

Length: 109 pages





 Why These Books?:

I'd been eyeing them for awhile now, but I needed a comic/graphic novel for the Summer Reading Bingo, and then the second volume (luckily) worked for Historical Fiction...

Note:

My apologies in advance for the lack of complete sentences.

Comments:

Interesting.  Dramatic.  Fun to read the Jazz Age language.  Also secret societies, a down-and-out detective, a fantastical and popular adventurer/professor. 

It took some time for me to follow since it switched between the characters before I knew who they were and seemed at first like different story lines.  I adjusted once I realized how they connected.  Quite a bit of mysticism and such involved - something I hadn't expected at first but actually turned out to be a major part of the plot.

I wouldn't mind reading more of Slampyak's work.  In fact, I've already begun reading Savage (a vampire hunter in the Wild West).  I'm especially interested in more of the Jazz Age Chronicles.  Unfortunately, it seems I've missed them, and I can't find them in a published version.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Falling for Fortune

Title: Falling for Fortune

Author: Nancy Robards Thompson [Website][Facebook][Twitter]

Publsiher: Harlequin Special Edition (May 2014, #2330)

Series: The Fortunes of Texas: Welcome to Horseback Hollow, Bk 5

ISBN: 9780373658121

Length: 217 pages

Obtained: TellHarlequin

Why this book?:

I was browsing for books I could remove from my collection.  I started reading it (at one time I really enjoyed the Fortunes, although there are too many of them now for me to really keep up), but had to go, so it went back to the shelf.  After I finished Doggone, I went looking again and decided to finish it.

Comments:

It started pretty easily, the writing itself was fine.

But in the long run, I didn't care for this one.  I couldn't really connect with either character; they both annoyed me.  Christopher with his flirty and 'but I'm a hard worker just misunderstood' attitude.  And Kinsley with her 'I'm pulling myself up and making good for myself, but this means I must be never have fun and must always be suspicious.'  And the anti-bullying bit felt fake.  Just words, not enough genuine emotion.

Anyway, a bit disappointing.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Doggone

Title: Doggone

Author: Gabrielle Herkert [Linkedin]

Publisher: Obsidian Mystery

Series: Animal Instinct Mystery, Bk 2

ISBN: 9780451224736

Length: 332 pages

Obtained: Personal copy - I think I might have gotten it via paperbackswap.com some time agao, but I don't remember for sure.

Why this book?:

I was trying to figure out which books I could read in an effort to further reduce my collection of books.  It picked me up right away, but I had other books to get to first.  So weeks later, I could choose a new book, it was right there, and I snagged it.

Comments:

It has been YEARS since I read the first book in this series, Catnapped (library copy).  I did not (and still do not) remember the story - only that I enjoyed it.  But I was still able to quickly get into this one.  I really enjoyed it.

I read much of it while sitting in a parking lot waiting on someone shopping, and the great humor and characters made up for the obnoxious humidity and heat.  I liked Sara, Connor, Connor's family and SEAL buddies (though I withheld reality that they would be able to watch Sara like they did without getting in trouble with the bosses), and the dog, Pavarotti.

I was deeply disappointed that the third book in the series, Horsewhipped (for which there is a sneak peek in the back of this one), was never released as scheduled and that apparently Gabriella Herkert has disappeared from the face of the earth.  Okay, maybe that's a bit dramatic, but her website no longer exists, and the only social media found is Linkedin.  Though it seems her law career is thriving.

Anyway, such is life...

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness

Title: Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness

Author: Alexandra Fuller [Website] aka Bobo Fuller

Publisher: Penguin Books

ISBN: 9780143121343

Length: 227 pages + "Nicola Fuller of central Africa: The Soundtrack" + "A Guide to Unusual or Foreign Words or Phrases"

Obtained: Library book kit copy

Why this book?:

It was chosen for a book club discussion, and I was determined to actually read the discussion book this time.

Comments:

Well, it was interesting.  Different.  I didn't really know what to expect, so I can't say it wasn't what I expected.  But it rather wasn't.  I did a bit of looking things up in the middle of the book - lists books by African authors, reviews for a couple of those books, reviews for this book, reviews for the author's first book Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight...

I read two other books set at least partially in Africa immediately before this, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency and The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden. And this book is rife with racial references, race had been a subject in The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden, and is apparently a hot topic world-round.  I know the U.S. has been going through a lot, and the book community.  But I'll be honest - I'm one of those ignorant Americans, because while I had a vague idea of racial tensions historically in South Africa, was not aware of much of the history and racial perspectives and war demonstrated by some of the events and discussion of this book.  I knew pretty much nothing about Rhodesia/Zimbabwe.  So that was very educational for me.

Also interesting was the way mental illness was presented.  That's another subject I've been seeing more of in my reading - and it's a subject that hits much closer to home for me personally.  Alexandra seems to sometimes treat it as a joke, sometimes brushes it off, and sometimes presents it in the tragic way it can be.  I guess I can understand all of those reactions - I've certainly felt and had all of them - and still I wasn't experiencing these events the same way as Alexandra did as she walked the reader through them.

The third point, though, is actually something that was noted in one of the reviews I read on Goodreads.  That review referred to this book as a "love letter" to Alexandra's parents/family.  I was about half way in when I read that, and the thought stuck with me.  Even as Alexandra is describing parts of her life - things her parents (primarily her mother) have said, done, or experienced that seem horrible, sad, off-the-wall, etc., you can feel the love that she holds for them and that they hold for her.  I definitely think that reviewer got it right.

Overall, I thought this was a thought provoking book.  I'm still up in the air as to whether I might go back and read some of Alexandra's other books.  Perhaps someday.