Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Marta Acosta's Happy Hour at Casa Dracula

Happy Hour at Casa Dracula (Casa Dracula, #1)Happy Hour at Casa Dracula by Marta Acosta

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Milagro impulsively kisses a handsome stranger. During the embrace his lip gets cut and she accidentally ingests some of his blood. Oswald, our handsome stranger, is NOT a vampire, but he does have a rare genetic disorder that makes him crave blood and causes a photo sensitivity, which sounds suspiciously like vampirism.

What follows is a hilarious comedy of errors and a look into a fascinating world where not-vampires exist and are being hunted by corporate baddies. Marta Acosta has written a splendid tale in the best tradition of romantic comedies, and I can't wait to dive into the next Milagro tale: Midnight Brunch.

If you'd like to learn more about Marta, check out her blog: Vampire Wire.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

J.K. Beck's When Blood Calls

When Blood Calls (The Shadow Keepers, #1)When Blood Calls by J.K. Beck

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sara Constantine, prosecuting attorney, meets Lucius Dragos while she's out celebrating a recent court win. They end up at her condo together for a night of passion. Sara thinks she's found a man who just might be worth keeping. Then her boss (the District Attorney) offers her a job with the Division, the department that deals with Homeland Security cases, or so she's been told. As it turns out, the department actually deals with paranormal cases, and Sara is introduced to a whole new world filled with vampires, werewolves, and ghosts (oh, my!). It seems the head of the Division has been following her career and he thinks she'll be perfect to prosecute the high-level murder case they've just landed. The suspect has been brought in and is none other than...you guessed it...Lucius. Turns out Lucius is a vampire and the evidence against him is pretty solid. So now poor Sara has to reconcile the fact that she's fallen for a vampire who might also be a stone-cold killer.

I really enjoyed this book. Sara and Lucius are well-developed and believable, as are the secondary characters. The storyline is tight and fast-paced. There is a plot twist I didn't see coming at all, which makes figuring out "who done it" much more difficult. The world J.K. Beck (a.k.a. Julie Kenner) has created is fascinating as well. It's much grittier than her usual fare (demon-hunting soccer moms and superhero central). She's added an interesting twist to vampires I have not read about anywhere else. It's sort of a paranormal Law and Order, and I'm looking forward to reading book two to see where she takes the series. Personally, I think it's off to a terrific start. Well done, Julie!

When Pleasure Rules: Book 2 (Release date: 28-Sep-10)

When Wicked Craves: Book 3 (Release date: 26-Oct-10)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday 56

From "Steamed" by Katie MacAlister

"You should take up jogging," I told her, turning to scan the opposite direction. "Does wonders for your cardio."

About the Friday 56:
1. Grab the book nearest you. Right now
2. Turn to page 56.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
5. Post a link along with your post back to this blog.

Andy Remic's "Kell's Legend"

Kell's Legend (Clockwork Vampire)Kell's Legend by Andy Remic

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This sword and sorcery epic sweeps you away to the side of an aged hero and his granddaughter. Kell, hero of legend, is tired and wants to be left in peace to watch his granddaughter succeed at university. But the clockwork vampires, the vachines, have other plans for Kell's homeland. They strike at night with blood magic and overtake the town. Kell manages to flee with his granddaughter and her schoolmate. They soon meet up with a thief also bent on escape, and together they stay one step ahead of the invading forces.

This is the first book in a trilogy and has certainly snagged my attention enough so that I will be waiting impatiently for parts two and three. I really enjoyed the fast paced action in this story. The author sometimes over-describes things (he rarely uses less than three descriptors), but that's easy enough to overlook. All-in-all, it's a fine start to a heart-pounding action tale, complete with quests and durance vile. Oh, and a bad guy you can really hate. I like it!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday 56

From "The Lives of Dalhousie University: Volume One 1818-1935" by P.B. Waite

"There must not be, he said, four or five colleges in the province—if so, their degrees would become a laughing stock."

About the Friday 56:
1. Grab the book nearest you. Right now
2. Turn to page 56.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
5. Post a link along with your post back to this blog.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lori Handeland's "Any Given Doomsday"

Any Given Doomsday (The Phoenix Chronicles, Book 1)Any Given Doomsday by Lori Handeland

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nephilim, demons, witches, seers, and shifters. Throw in a vampire or two and you've got the makings of a great story.

Elizabeth Phoenix is an ex-cop barmaid who can see the future. She's an ex-cop because she blames herself for her partner's death. She's a barmaid because she doesn't want to be a P.I. She can see glimpses of the future, but she doesn't want that either. When her foster mother is murdered, she's thrown into a whole lot of what she doesn't want. Now she has to face her past and accept her future, or the world as she knows it will end.

I picked up Any Given Doomsday because I was browsing Ms. Handeland's site (http://www.lorihandeland.com/) and found a link to download a free short story called In the Beginning. After I read that story, I just knew I had to buy this book to find out what happens to Lizbeth. I'm really glad I did. The story is intriguing and engaging. Ms. Handeland has created a very interesting world and peopled it with characters you can like, some you will absolutely hate, and some that you won't be able to make your mind up on, at least, not yet.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lilith Saintcrow's "The Demon's Librarian"

The Demon's LibrarianThe Demon's Librarian by Lilith Saintcrow

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Chess Barnes is a librarian who hunts demons in her spare time. When the "real" demon hunters show up looking for some special books, all hell breaks loose.

This is a really excellent story. The characters are all well-developed and the world Ms. Saintcrow created is fascinating. While it is quite satisfying as a stand-alone story, we can only hope that one day Ms. Saintcrow will return to this world and these characters.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Christie Craig's "Shut Up and Kiss Me"

Shut Up and Kiss MeShut Up and Kiss Me by Christie Craig

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's not often I find a book that actually makes me laugh out loud, but Ms. Craig has managed it. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story about PR consultant Shala Winters and her exploits in Precious, Texas. It's funny and sweet and romantic and irreverent. And what Christie puts poor Jose through...well...let's just say that eau d'skunk is not a good choice for anyone. If you enjoy your comedies romantic, or your romances comedic, this is a story for you. You won't regret it!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Keith R.A. DeCandido's "Bone Key"

Bone Key (Supernatural, #2)Bone Key by Keith R.A. DeCandido

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Excellent story. Mr. DeCandido has captured the tone of the series perfectly. It's a great Supernatural adventure, with ghosts (famous ones!) and demons (of course) and a mystery to solve. If you're a fan of the series, you will love this. If you're not, you'll probably become one.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Seth Grahame-Smith's "Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies"

Pride and Prejudice and ZombiesPride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, but somehow Seth Grahame-Smith has managed to maintain the integrity of Pride and Prejudice while adding zombies to the cultural and social history of Regency England. Amazing! Lizzie is her much-loved, feisty self, as well as a kick-ass, zombie-slaying heroine. In fact, Mr. Bennett insisted that all 5 of his girls receive training from Shaolin masters so that they can help fight the "unmentionables" that rise in their community. How can any of this be amusing, you ask? Read it and find out! you won't regret it.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Mark Henry's Amanda Feral

Happy Hour of the Damned (Amanda Feral, #1)Happy Hour of the Damned by Mark Henry

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What did I learn from this book? Never go to Seattle if you're homeless. On the other hand, a visit there would probably be great. The nightlife sounds pretty lively...

Amanda Feral was breathed on by a zombie. Moments later she dies in a slip-and-fall. When she first rises, she doesn't even know she's dead. So begins the adventure. There are vampires, shifters, incubi & succubi, and a vast assortment of other supernaturals she meets and befriends along the way. There are also bad guys trying to take over the world. It's all very much a zombie version of Pinkie and the Brain. With better shoes.

Mark Henry has written a funny, witty, fast-paced story about a newbie zombie and her BFF. This series promises to be a hilarious romp through urban fantasyland.

Road Trip of the Living Dead (Amanda Feral, #2)Road Trip of the Living Dead by Mark Henry

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the second installment of Amanda's post-life memoirs. Gil's latest client in his new "vamping" business--"Gil's Luxury Vamping: Creating Quality Bloodsuckers Since 2007"--takes offense at an unexpected extra service while crawling from his grave. Gil, Amanda, and Wendy decide it would be prudent to leave town for a while. Fortunately(?) a destination is easily chosen as Amanda's mother is in a hospice in South Dakota. The trio take off for the funniest road trip you've ever read about. With werewolves, ghosts, and neo-nazis to play with along the way, you just know that the glam-girls of zombie-dom are in for nothing but good times. Amanda is truly the reigning queen of the bitch-zombies.

Road Trip is an excellent sequel to Happy Hour. Mark Henry is a fine writer and has managed to make the shallow, fashion-driven, self-centred Amanda into a completely likable character. Be careful where you read this, because you will laugh out loud, snort, giggle, and snicker your way through the book. Amanda Feral is my hero. If I ever wake up dead, I want to be just like her.

Battle Of The Network Zombies (Amanda Feral, #3)Battle Of The Network Zombies by Mark Henry

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A splendid conclusion to this irreverent series about a fashionista zombie and her BFF. Amanda tries her hand at mystery-solving when the host of American Minions, wood nymph Johnny Birch, is found murdered. Much mayhem and hilarity ensue in the now trademark Mark Henry style. This is a great read and I look forward to learning what Mr. Henry comes out with next.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Georgia Evan's Brytewood

Bloody Good (Brytewood, #1) Bloody Awful (Brytewood, #2) Bloody Right (Brytewood, #3)

Bloody Good, Bloody Awful, and Bloody Right by Georgia Evans

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's World War II and those sneaky Germans will use anything to win, including vampires! Fortunately, the Pixies and assorted Others of Brytewood are there to save the day.

This is a fun and scary romp through the WWII English countryside. I thoroughly enjoyed the Brytewood Trilogy and can only hope that Ms. Evans will one day return there to give us more stories from this quaint English village.

Georgia Evans is the pseudonym Rosemary Laurey uses for her fantasy books. You can find out more about Brytewood at http://www.brytewood.co.uk and about Rosemary Laurey at http://www.rosemarylaurey.com.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Nicole Peeler's Jane True

Tempest Rising (Jane True, #1)Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This debut novel is off to a great start. The main character, Jane True, is half-selkie, half-human. Not that she knew that. She just thought she was a good swimmer.So good, in fact, that her swimming was kept a deep, dark secret. Well, swimming in the North Atlantic in late fall is a little...odd. As the story unfolds, however, Jane learns about her self and gets her eyes opened to the world of the paranormal, but not in a good way, really. She's embroiled in a murder mystery and the next victim just may be her!

I really enjoyed this look into Jane's world. Nicole Peeler has written a fun, witty, fast-paced novel that got me hooked from page one and hasn't let go yet. Bravo, Nicole! I'm already jonesing for book 2.

Tracking the Tempest (Jane True, #2)Tracking the Tempest by Nicole Peeler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is book 2 of Jane True's Life and TImes. First, I have to say !!!!!!! This is a fabulous story. It might even be better than book 1. Jane does a lot of growing in this story and she comes out much better for it. The truly bad part is that there are only 348 pages. Now we have to wait until January to find out what happens next. :(

Tracking the Tempest continues where Tempest Rising left off. Jane is now fully immersed in the supernatural world. She's learning to use her magic and she's in a long distance relationship with Ryu, her vampire boyfriend. The supernatural community is busy playing deep games and Jane is struggling to keep herself and her loved ones safe.

This is such a fast-paced book, I just know I'm going to have to read it again in a couple of weeks to pick up on all the finer details I zoomed through on the first reading. Jane has quickly become one of my favourite urban fantasy heroines and I send out a loud hip-hip-hoorah and congratulations to Nicole for her imagination and skill. You keep writing them, Dr. Peeler, and I will keep reading them! Oh, and Nicole, Ryu's last name (guffaw-giggle-snort) sheer brilliance!