Saturday, May 28, 2011

Devon Monk's Dead Iron: The Age of Steam

Dead Iron (Age of Steam #1)Dead Iron by Devon Monk

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The old west during the age of steam. In this world people capable of creating both useful and decorative objects from gears, cogs, and wire are known as Devisers. In the east they are civilized and display their devices as the intricate works of art they are. In the west the rail is slowly creeping its way across the country, and the frontiersmen work and wait for the wonders of the east to arrive with the trains. This is a tale of true love and true evil. Of curses, murder, grief, and vengeance. Of greed, heroism, chaos, and hope. You will easily recognize many of the elements in Ms. Monk's story. The Rail Man, forging his way across the landscape, hurrying toward his ultimate goal, allowing no one to stand in his way. The Gunman, cursed to live alone and trying desperately to atone for his sins. The Beautiful Widow, thirsty for revenge following the death of her love. Devon has taken these iconic elements and re-imagined them into a wonderful steampunk saga filled with magic and curses, good and evil, horror and hope. If you like sweeping epic tales of struggle and triumph mixed with magic, mayhem, zombies, witches, and werewolves, you will definitely enjoy Devon Monk's highly imaginative "Dead Iron."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tracy Madison's By Magic Alone

By Magic Alone (Magic, #4)By Magic Alone by Tracy Madison

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Meet our heroine, Julia: owner of Introductions, a dating service. Julia’s two best friends are Kara and Leslie. And then there’s Verda, the owner of Magical Matchups, a rival dating service that is stealing Julia’s clients. What’s a savvy businesswoman to do? Send in spies, of course. BFF’s Kara and Leslie infiltrate Magical Matchups to see if they can figure out the secret of Verda’s success. Our story begins with the three friends meeting to discuss what the spies have uncovered. What they tell Julia sets off an inevitable series of events that will culminate into a very satisfactory ending and create a wonderful romance you will end up re-reading, I assure you. Toss in Verda’s handsome grandson Scott, and you really have something magical happening. Scott just happens to be Leslie’s ex-boyfriend – the One That Got Away. Leslie wants him back, but Verda is convinced that Julia and Scott are fated soul mates. Tension, misunderstandings, and mayhem ensues.

I really enjoyed this story. It’s the fourth book in Tracy Madison’s Magic series, but you really don’t have to have read the first three to enjoy this story. When you first meet Julia, she comes across as one of the most repressed characters you’ve ever read. And Scott! Well, he’s the quintessential jerk. I didn’t actually care for either of them at first, but the reasons behind their behaviour become clear quickly enough and you will warm up to (and start rooting for) both before long.

Of course, the most important character doesn’t show up until the middle of the book. One of Julia’s clients, Zita Hildebrandt, goes on a date set up by Julia. Her date is a pediatrician named Daryl. Daryl really likes Zita and thinks the date was fabulous, but Zita’s experience was quite different. However, being a lovely and fair-minded individual, Zita agrees to give Daryl another shot. On their second date, they each bring along a friend. As it turns out, Zita falls for Daryl’s friend Adam, and Daryl falls for Zita’s friend. So in the end, Zita gets her well-deserved Happy Ever After. How did I end up in this book, you ask? Well, I won a contest. But that certainly didn’t bias or prejudice me toward this book! Oh, no, not at all! This truly is an enjoyable read and I highly recommend it.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Jennifer Estep's Tangled Threads

Tangled Threads (Elemental Assassin, #4)Tangled Threads by Jennifer Estep

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fabulous! I have been loving this series, which has gotten progressively better with each new book. Gin has finally gotten over her feelings for Donovan and is focussing on her developing relationship with Owen. She keeps waiting for him to disapprove of her, and he doesn't, which she has a hard time believing. Meanwhile, her vendetta against Mab is heating up and Mab has called in a top level assassin called Elektra to squash the Spider for her. Elektra, as evidenced by her name, can kill using electricity. The creepy thing is, she really enjoys doing so, and takes great delight in frying her targets. It quickly becomes clear that the showdown between these two skilled assassins will be pretty spectacular. And you know there will have to be a showdown if Gin wants to protect her family and friends.

One issue Ms. Estep touches on in this book (and that I'm hoping will be a bigger part of future volumes) is that, as word of mouth spreads about the Spider fighting back against Mab and her minions, the general populace of Ashland is taking note. You can almost hear the rumblings in the background. Is there a revolution on the horizon? Is Bria set to be in the right place and time to clean out the corrupt police department? We already know that other criminal factions are circling in on Mab as the Spider exposes her weaknesses. Maybe the law-abiding citizens will rally now that they have a rallying point. And, if that does happen, will Donovan return? I can't wait for the next instalment and (maybe) find out! A mark of a good series, in my opinion, is that it makes me wonder and imagine what will happen next. That is something this series excels at. I highly recommend that you find out for yourself.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Michele Hauf's Forever Vampire

Forever Vampire Forever Vampire by Michele Hauf

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved this book! Michele Hauf always tells a great story, but she really outdid herself this time. I was actually inclined to dislike Vail when the story started. He was so relentlessly snobbish. But, I connected with Lyric right away, and was cheering for her from the get-go. While it was probably my own interpretation, I like to think that Lyric "humanized" Vail enough so that he became more and more likeable. By the end I was rooting for the couple, not just Lyric, and I wanted them to reach their goal. Happily, Michele believes in the HEA, and I was not disappointed at the end.

Well done, Michele! You've done it again. All I can say is: Keep Them Coming!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Rex the Dog 'Bubblicious'

This is a really well done stop-motion video.

Dean Koontz's Frankenstein Dead and Alive (Book 3)

Dead and Alive (Dean Koontz's Frankenstein, #3)Dead and Alive by Dean Koontz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In this instalment, Deucalion, Carson, and Madison are steadily moving toward stopping Victor and his bid to take over the world. Victor's problem is that his creations are all turning into Pinky to his Brain. He is so bound by his own arrogance that he is incapable of taking steps to correct the errors. His downfall is inevitable, because he just can't admit that he isn't perfect. With everything going wrong around him, he finds more and more creative reasons why none of this is his fault.

Erika Five (Victor's wife) has become a central figure in this story line. She stumbles upon a secret passage in the library that leads to a private study. In the study is a large, coffin-like glass box with "something" in it. Something that actually speaks to her. When she brings Jocko (Jonathan Harker's child from book 1) to see the secret room. Erika and Jocko have become friends and she wants his opinion about the mysterious box. Jocko is pretty sure that whatever is in the box is bad and they should just leave it alone.

Deucalion visits Victor's Angel of Mercy Hospital and discovers that Victor's creations are imploding much quicker than anticipated. He finds and speaks with Victor's computer operating system, and when he learns that the computer is partly organic he "frees" her from her prison by shutting the system down. The computer is grateful, but she follows her fail-safe instruction by starting the self-destruct count-down. Victor goes back to the Hospital that evening only to find that everything will be destroyed. He grabs his computer back-ups and heads out to his new race factory outside the city. Deucalion, Carson, and Madison are on their way to the factory as well, and the final confrontation will occur there.

I enjoyed this novel very much. I really liked the developing relationship between Carson and Madison, and the one between Jocko and Erika. Watching Victor's plans unravel and his utter confusion about it was fascinating. For me this was a satisfying read, and I recommend it. I'm really looking forward to Book 4: Lost Souls.