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Transplanted to Miami, FL, from Iowa City, IA. Trying to find a balance between reading, knitting, playing mom taxi, and enjoying the sun and sand in Miami.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane

It took me a little while to warm up to this book, well, to the main character Chess at least. Unholy Ghosts takes place slightly in the future in our world, but it is a world that had seen a mass uprising of ghosts in 1997. When the ghosts came, they killed one third of the world’s population. This even led to every religion that currently existed being effectively debunked, and a small religion that was able to get the ghosts under control and lock them in an underground city. This led to the truth, that there is an afterlife, and that magic is real.
Chess is a witch for the Church, who works as a debunker. She is sent to investigate when someone claims they are being haunted. If the claim is legitimate, the haunting victim receives $50,000 from the Church. Needless to say, there are a lot of people who try to fake a haunting, which is where the debunker comes in. 
My biggest problem with Chess was that she has a serious drug habit. That whole world is just not something that I personally know about, but I was able to put aside my moral judgements and go along with the story. I did get really drawn into this alternate world that Stacia Kane has created. 
Chess gets blackmailed by her drug dealer to banish some ghosts from an abandoned airport in order to get her tab, that magically ballooned from $4000 to $15,000, forgiven. This little side job for her dealer leads Chess into a labyrinth of warring street gangs, black magic, and the scariest ghost Chess has ever run across. 
I really enjoyed this book and will read the others in the series. I am going to give Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane, 2 bookmarks

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Lady Julia Grey series by Deanna Raybourn

I read all three of the books in this series back to back in about 2 days. So, I decided to write about them all together. The main character of this series is Lady Julia Grey (formerly March). In the first book, Silent in the Grave, she is married to her childhood sweetheart Edward. As the book opens, Edward, who has always been in poor health due to a congenital heart problem, is dying. Nicholas Brisbane is an acquaintance of Edward’s, who happens to be present at the dinner party when Edward takes ill. After Edward’s death, Brisbane comes to speak with Lady Julia about his belief that her husband may have been murdered. Brisbane is the Victorian equivalent of a private investigator. Julia’s husband had hired him when he began receiving threatening notes. At first Julia cannot even imagine that someone had murdered her husband, and she sends Brisbane away. It isn’t long before Julia finds some evidence of her own that makes her re-think Brisbane’s story. Thus begins the awakening of Lady Julia. 
Julia assists Brisbane in his investigation, and discovers the joy of meaningful work and the chance to use her intelligence. Brisbane is not sure he wants help with the case, but Julia does have information that would be hard for him to get from other sources, and knowledge of all the main suspects. In the course of the investigation, Julia learns one of the downsides of such an investigation, when she learns secrets her husband had kept from her. 
The second book, Silent in the Sanctuary, finds Lady Julia visiting her brothers in Italy. All of these March children are summoned home after their father learns of one of the brother’s elopement to an Italian woman. They arrive home to find a house party in progress for the Christmas holidays. When a murder occurs in the sanctuary of the March’s estate, which was a former monastery, Brisbane happens to be present again, and he and Lady Julia again become a crime solving duo. This book is a classic locked room mystery, due to a snowstorm that occurs about the same time as the murder. 
The third book, Silent on the Moor, takes place at Brisbane’s new country estate. This one has several mysteries going at once, and we learn more about Brisbane’s past.  One of the mysteries involves finding out who has poisoned Brisbane. Another mystery is the source of some disturbing mummies that Lady Julia discovers hidden at the estate.
I really enjoyed these three books in this series. I believe the author is working on another book. The characters are fun, the books differ enough from each other that they  don’t feel like they are the result of filling in the blanks of a template. I hope Deanna Raybourn is writing another book in this series, I will definitely read it!
I give each of the three books in the Lady Julia Grey series 2 bookmarks.

   

A Vicky Hill Exclusive by Hannah Dennison

A Vicky Hill Exclusive! is a nice cozy mystery. Vicky Hill is a young reporter who had been relegated to covering funerals in the small English town where she lives and works. She is posing as an orphan, due to her parents fleeing the country so her father can avoid jail time. Vicky has to deal with another upstart journalist who is not afraid to use her assets to get ahead at the small paper. 
Vicky decides to take a peek at some documents meant for her rival, and she quickly gets mixed up in a big mystery in her small town. A mystery that might turn deadly for Vicky. 
This is a classic cozy mystery. the only problem I had with it were Vicky’s uses of logic that were obviously large jumps to conclusions. Overall though, this was a fun book and I will read others in the series.
I give A Vicky Hill Exclusive by Hannah Dennison 3 bookmarks.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Kitty's House of Horrors

Kitty’s House of Horrors is the seventh book featuring radio talk show host Kitty, who also happens to be a werewolf. Kitty has been through a lot over the last 7 books. I liked how this one felt like it was a throwback to earlier books. It was Kitty on her own, with a few of her supernatural acquaintances. 
The basic plot of this book is that Kitty gets talked into appearing in a Real World: Supernatural type reality show. Supposedly, they are trying to make supernaturals appear more like regular people. Of course, this being Kitty’s world and life, nothing goes as planned. 
This book also features a development in the Cormac story line. 
I really have enjoyed this series, and this installment is no exception. I do like that this book felt more like some of the earlier ones, a little simpler than some of the convoluted plots Kitty has been involved with in more recent books. 
I give this book 1 bookmark, I could hardly put it down!

Blood Magic by Jennifer Lyon

This book was a quick read, and easy to get immersed into. It is great escapism. However, this follows one of the new formula’s that is so popular, seemingly especially in urban fantasy or paranormal romance. Boy and girl meet, fall in love, yada, yada, yada. Then we get introduced to a couple people who will be the stars of the next book in the series. The first few books I read that employed this device, I rather liked. It is fun to go back and see what is happening in the lives of characters you get to know. However, I think first you have to have characters that you really care what happens to them beyond the happily ever after. Secondly, it would be nice if there were some way to set up the next book, without so much blatant set up. 
Blood Magic is a light read about a woman who’s a witch, but she doesn’t know it, and the Hunter that is meant to complete her. The characters are ok, they are likable enough. The male lead is a typical romance novel alpha male. He is a witch hunter, who due to a curse, wants to bathe in and drink witches blood instead of protecting them like his ancestors did. 
There is not a whole lot of surprise in this book. But, I will say again that it is a fun read, and if you like the paranormal romance genre, you could do worse. I would say this one gets 3 bookmarks. You can put it down if you need to or want to, partially due to the predictability. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My Ratings System

My rating system for books is at first going to seem a little backwards. It is a one to five scale. But my ratings are bookmarks. 
1 bookmark = You can be dragged away from this book kicking and screaming, but you’ll read a few more pages every chance you get. You’ll probably finish this book in a day or two. Highest rating.
2 bookmarks = You can put this book down for the really important things, like eating, watching a favorite TV program, paying attention to your children. But, you will sneak a few more pages if you can. Probably a 2 to 4 day book.
3 bookmarks = You can put this book down and do other things that you would probably avoid if you were reading a more compelling book (laundry, kitty litter box, dishes, making dinner). You’ll probably finish this one within a week.
4 bookmarks = You can put this book down for at least a day or two at a time, but will probably still finish it in two weeks or so. 
5 bookmarks = You can put this book down for a week or more at a time. You probably will finish it eventually, but you may even read another book in the meantime. Lowest rating
I know it seems a little backwards at first, but it makes sense to me. 
Happy Reading!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Onion Girl by Charles de Lint

I know Charles de Lint has been writing for a while. This is the first book of his I’ve read. It seemed like one that could pretty much stand alone, so I thought I would try it. I really enjoyed this book. It was a slower paced book, but always engrossing. 
The main character of the book is Jilly, who at the beginning of the book was struck by a car and severely injured. The book is about her recovery. It is also about seeing the beauty around us, and the need to have an escape or at least have hope. It is also about how sometimes the family we choose is better than the family we were born to. 
I kind of hate to say too much about the plot itself, I think that even though it is pretty easy to see where aspects of the plot are heading, it’s more fun to take the journey.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes the urban fantasy genre. There are no vampires, but there is enough magic and wonder to keep you coming back. I think I will definitely look for more titles by Charles de Lint. 

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Amberville by Tim Davys

Amberville by Tim Davys


Amberville, at first, makes you think it is a grown up, noir-feeling Winnie the Pooh. But, really the only thing that is the same is the fact that the main characters are stuffed animals. Where Pooh lives in the idyllic Hundred Acre Wood, Eric Bear lives in a sprawling metropolis, with all of the good and bad that comes with urban living. Drugs, casinos, government control, and the church, all of these are present in Amberville.

Eric Bear and his identical twin brother Teddy grew up in Amberville, one of a set of four cities that makeup a larger metropolis. Eric had been mixed up with a crime boss as a teenager, but now is married with a good job with an advertising agency. But one day, he gets hit with a blast from his past, when Nick Dove and two of his gorillas show up. Nick Dove has discovered that his name is going to be on. The next death list and wants Eric to get it removed. If Eric refuses, Nick's gorillas will kill Eric's wife, Emma Rabbit. The problem is, the death list is only a rumor, many believe it doesn't even exist. Eric decides to get his old crew back together to try to save his wife.

I really enjoyed this book, although it is a little conspiracy theory heavy. Some may call it philosophical. I wasn't necessarily a fan of how it skipped into the perspective of different characters for some chapters. However, I have to admit that it all came together cohesively in the end.

This book has a good mystery, makes you think, and is an en joy able read. I would give this book my recommendation.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella

Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella was a fun and moving book. Lara Lington is a partner in a start-up headhunting agency. She’d recently broken up with a boyfriend that she was sure was the one. Her company is floundering. She has to attend the funeral of a great-aunt she never knew. During the funeral, Lara thinks she must finally be losing it. She’s hearing voices. Actually, she’s hearing a voice. The voice of a 23 year old flapper girl version of her great-aunt Sadie. 
Sadie’s ghost needs Lara’s help to find a necklace that she’d had for almost all of her 105 years. While Lara tries to solve the mystery of the missing necklace, Sadie helps Lara by using her pefect spying ability to help Lara spy on her ex-boyfriend, and get a leg up on companies for her headhunting business. But, some of Sadie’s love of life and assertiveness also starts to rub off on Lara. 
I really enjoyed this book. It’s the first one I have read by Sophie Kinsella. This book made me wish that we all had the ability to talk to relatives that have died to learn more about their lives and our family history. Sadie’s funeral was so tragic, just six family members at a funeral for a woman who lived to 105. I think it would be amazing to be able to see and talk to some of my relatives in the prime of their lives.
I would highly recommend this book. It’s a quick read, and it really makes you appreciate your family and the ability we still have to seize the opportunity to leave a legacy, or at least our stories for our family.