Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Supernatural Born Killers by Casey Daniels

Supernatural Born Killers is the latest entry in the Pepper Martin mystery series. Pepper is a tour guide at a large Cleveland, OH, cemetery. After a fall that included a big bump on the head, Pepper discovered she could see and speak to ghosts. Pepper has spent her book series solving mysteries and taking up ghosts unfinished business. It frequently puts her in harms way, much to the exasperation of her on-again-off-again police detective boyfriend.

Anyway, the books are funny, fast moving, and Pepper has matured a lot as a person since the first book. She still loves expensive shoes and clothes, but she is definitely more grown up than when the series started.

The main mystery in this book didn't seem all that mysterious to me, but it was a fun ride and a lot of stuff in Pepper's personal life got stirred up. I think overall that when the dust settles from this one, most of the changes will be good for Pepper.

I believe Ms. Daniels has plans to write more Pepper Martin books, but if not, this one definitely left at a point that you could infer an ending, or at least how Pepper's life would go on after this story.

I really like this series, and I think it is well worth the read if you like paranormal mysteries. This one has adventure, a little romance, and ghosts without being scary.

I think my favorite part of this book was Pepper's acquiring a "staff" to go along with her promotion at the cemetery.

I'm going to give Supernatural Born Killers by Casey Daniels, 4 stars.
It wasn't my favorite in the series, but it was a fun read.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

I loved Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness. It is the second book in her All Souls Trilogy. This picks up where A Discovery of Witches left off. Matthew and Diana have traveled back to Elizabeth I's England to avoid the Congregation, and to find a witch to teach Diana.

I haven't read very many time travel books: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, and maybe The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. There are a lot of similarities between Shadow of Night, Outlander, and Doomsday Book. I would say the big difference in Shadow of Night was that the historical setting was almost a chance for the author to "meet" some of her heroes of the era.

 Where Outlander is mostly about how a post-WWII British nurse is able to survive in late 1700s Scotland, and eventually America. The historical detail is amazing and really puts the reader in the 1700s. There are some real historical figures who appear in the Outlander series, but the story mostly revolves around a couple who are on the fringes of history, just trying to live their life.

Doomsday Book also allows the reader to feel what it would be like to travel to England in the 1300s. It took a much smaller view, limited to one small village, with much detail. The main drive of the story in Doomsday Book is the juxtaposition of a medieval epidemic with a modern epidemic.

Shadow of Night seems to rely mostly on the use of historical figures to put the reader in the correct time period. There are a few instances where Harkness mentions that 1500s England is different than our historian Diana had expected. The main point of Shadow of Night is to give our heroes a little breathing room to sort out some of their demons and learn about the manuscript that has been the driving force behind the story.

I enjoyed the book, it was hard to put down, which is always a problem when the book is long. I had two nights of turning in at 4AM while trying to finish this one. I like Matthew and Diana, and while there were a few parts that had me wanting to smack one or both of them, overall they are fantastic characters. I enjoyed the little exchange about vampires in modern fiction and their appeal to teenagers and housewives.

I'm going to give Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness, 5 stars.

Next up: Supernatural Born Killers by Casey Daniels
and The Smile of a Ghost (Merrily Watkins #7) by Phil Rickman

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Master of Crows and Poison Study

Poison Study by Maria V Snyder was the main pick for the Vaginal Fantasy group on Goodreads. Master of Crows by Grace Draven was the alternate pick. I read both, and I liked them both. I liked Master of Crows the best of the two. However, they were both fun reads.

Poison Study is the story of Yelena, an accused murderer awaiting execution. She was given a second chance at life by accepting a job as a food taster for the Commander, the head of the military state Yelena lives in. Yelena is trained by Valek to taste poison.

There is quite a bit of adventure to the story, a little bit of romance, and some good characters.

I liked the book and am interested in reading more in the series. The series has been carried as both an adult and a young adult series.

Master of Crows is definitely an adult book. Martise of Asher, a slave trained in magic theory whose gift has not yet manifested, travels to Neith to apprentice to Silhara, a dark sorcerer. Silhara is being plagued by an old god, and if he gives in, it will be bad for the world at large. Martise has the skill to translate old texts to find a way to get rid of the old god.

This book also has a good dose of adventure, good characters and some serious romance.

I'm going to give Master of Crows by Grace Draven, 4 stars; and Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder, also gets 4 stars.

Next up: Supernatural  Born Killers by Casey Daniels, the most recent Pepper Martin mystery.
Then: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore

I love Christopher Moore. I had read all of his vampire books. I enjoy his humor and his irreverent take on his subject. Sacre Bleu is no exception.

The book starts with the death of Vincent Van Gogh, and proceeds to introduce us to many painters from the impressionist school in Paris in the late 1800s. My favorite things about this book were how Moore weaves reality with his fictional twist in a way that makes sense, and the paintings included in the book.

When I flipped though this at the book store, I realized this one was definitely better read as a paper book, or at least with some kind of a color e-reader. I chose the hard back. I believe it is now out in paperback.

I don't want to give away much of the plot, it does start a little bit slow, but the payoff is worth hanging in there. I can't wait to read more of Christopher Moore's books!

I'm going to give Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore, 4 stars.

Next up: Reviews of the Vaginal Fantasy reads for October, Master of Crows and Poison Study.
Also, Supernatural Born Killers by Casey Daniels, the latest in the Pepper Martin series.

Monday, October 08, 2012

The Girl Who Would Be King by Kelly Thompson

I just finished The Girl Who Would Be King by Kelly Thompson. I had beed a Kickstarter supporter for this book. It is a young adult novel about two girls, two sides of a coin, who come to discover they are more than other people. They run faster, they are stronger, they can heal grievous wounds quickly and completely.

One girl is drawn to help others, the other wants to get rid of anyone viewed as competition or anyone who has wronged her. One girl was raised in an orphanage from age six, one raised by a disinterested mother on the outskirts of Reno, Nevada.

I found this book hard to put down. I always found myself wanting to read just one more narrative section. The book is in first person and the story is split between the two main characters, Bonnie and Lola.

There is alcohol use and sexual situations in the book, but nothing too graphic.
Fans of urban fantasy or the superhero genres will like this book.
I hope she is able to write and publish another book, I would definitely read more by Kelly Thompson.

I'm going to give The Girl Who Would Be King by Kelly Thompson, 5 stars.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

I just finished The Casual Vacancy, J.K. Rowling's new adult novel. It is nothing like Harry Potter (in spite of the Hagrid Night's joke I saw on SNL last Thursday Night). Overall, I liked the book. It was slow to build, but once it got going, I wanted to find out where it ended up.

It introduces a lot of characters, but eventually they become fairly easy to sort out. The story is very British drama. It reminds me of Downton Abbey, minus the time period. It takes place in present time, in a small English village.

I did not know anything at all about the book before I purchased it and started reading. I avoided any advance press. The book started strong, I found the first chapter very compelling. It slowed down a little as Rowling started to introduce all of the characters and began hinting at some of the secrets that might be unearthed in the course of the book.

It is told from an omniscient point of view, so we get to know what many of the characters are thinking, and many of their underlying motivations. It is the story of a small village, trying to resist change and trying to hold its skeletons close.

I'm not sure what else to say without giving anything away. I liked the book. It's not like Harry Potter, but I think it is also appropriate for an older teen audience, as well as adults. There are a number of teenage characters in the book. I think that overall the teenagers were better written than most of the adults in the book.

I'm going to give The Casual Vacancy, 4 Stars.
It's worth a read, especially if you like kind of soapy dramas, with a lot of British feel.