Tuesday, October 29, 2013

HEXED: Iron Druid Chronicles Book 2 - Kevin Hearne

Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, doesn’t care much for witches. Still, he’s about to make nice with the local coven by signing a mutually beneficial nonaggression treaty—when suddenly the witch population in modern-day Tempe, Arizona, quadruples overnight. And the new girls are not just bad, they’re badasses with a dark history on the German side of World War II.
With a fallen angel feasting on local high school students, a horde of Bacchants blowing in from Vegas with their special brand of deadly decadence, and a dangerously sexy Celtic goddess of fire vying for his attention, Atticus is having trouble scheduling the witch hunt. But aided by his magical sword, his neighbor’s rocket-propelled grenade launcher, and his vampire attorney, Atticus is ready to sweep the town and show the witchy women they picked the wrong Druid to hex.
So very glad that I have the Iron Druid series on my keeper shelf. Both because they are signed by the author and because they are so damn FAB!
I do find myself comparing Atticus and Oberon to Harry Dresden and Mouse, but only because there is plenty of exhaustingly excellent magical action in both series and I have a crush on both (Atticus and Harry, not Oberon and Mouse).
I read HEXED because it's October and I am in a witch kind of mood. Plenty of witchery here both the black and the grey-ish. Atticus did battle against one set in HOUNDED, but they are asking for his help against truly evil witches from Germany. He cautiously joins forces with the Polish batch to do battle against the German hexen.
There's action, sadness, thrills, magic, and Oberon the Irish Wolfhound who can talk to Atticus. Love love love Oberon.
Definitely need to read next in series, HAMMERED, very soon. Would that Atticus existed, I'd visit Tempe Arizona....at least I can visit while reading....

WILD JUSTICE: Nadia Stafford Trilogy Book 3 - Kelley Armstrong

The long-awaited final installment of the #1 New York Times bestselling author’s Nadia Stafford series
Since Kelley Armstrong wrapped up book two of the Nadia Stafford series, fans have been eager to know what happens to the tough-as-nails contract killer. At last, Wild Justice brings Nadia back for the series’ thrilling conclusion—an action-packed tale that will dazzle fans of the series as well as those who are only familiar with Armstrong’s bestselling paranormal books.
In Wild Justice, Nadia is confronted with her most difficult task to date: going after the man who killed her cousin Amy twenty years prior. But when it turns out that someone else has already taken justice into their own hands, she is drawn into a complex situation where everything she knows and loves is thrown into the path of danger. Nadia is forced to take matters into her own hands, ultimately requiring her to confront her darkest secrets—and her deepest desires—in a way that she never thought possible.
I am a HUGE fan of Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series. Kelley is superb with a paranormal thriller story. She is just as superb with a normal thriller.
One wouldn't think that a hit woman would be a sympathetic character, but then who'da thunk that a reader would want to cheer on a serial killer (Dexter anyone?).
I started at the end of the trilogy and I'd love to read the first two, but I don't think it's necessary (but the first two are on the WWBL). Kelley does enough backstory that the reader is aware and this could be read as a standalone.
Nadia takes only the jobs that she sees necessary and they are against people who fall through the cracks of justice. Vigilante, yes, but understandable.
Kelley writes an intricate, but never convoluted novel. A superb turn-the-page-fast-I-NEED-to-know-NOW thriller.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

LAMENTATION: Psalm of Isaak Book One - Ken Scholes

An ancient weapon has completely destroyed the city of Windwir. From many miles away, Rudolfo, Lord of the Nine Forest Houses, sees the horrifying column of smoke rising. He knows that war is coming to the Named Lands.
Nearer to the Devastation, a young apprentice is the only survivor of the city – he sat waiting for his father outside the walls, and was transformed as he watched everyone he knew die in an instant.
Soon all the Kingdoms of the Named Lands will be at each others' throats, as alliances are challenged and hidden plots are uncovered.
This remarkable first novel from an award-winning short fiction writer will take readers away to a new world – an Earth so far in the distant future that our time is not even a memory; a world where magick is commonplace and great areas of the planet are impassable wastes. But human nature hasn’t changed through the ages: War and faith and love still move princes and nations.
An epic fantasy with hints of steampunk set in a time of battles fought on horseback and magick is commonplace.
Windwir, the home of a great library and its librarians, the Androfrancine Order, is destroyed. War is coming. This is the center of the story. The surrounding tale is about the tribes and people, the treachery, the battles, stepping up when called upon no matter the cost.
This could have been a convoluted story, but the intricacies are well done. It is definitely character driven, the world-building is superb. I can't wait to get the next in the series, CANTICLE.

MAYHEM AT THE ORIENT EXPRESS: League of Literary Ladies Mystery - Kylie Logan

At a local Chinese restaurant, it's the owner who gets taken out...
Most folks aren’t forced by court order to attend a library-book discussion group, but that’s just what happens to B and B proprietor and ex-Manhattanite Bea Cartwright, hippy cat lover Chandra Morrisey, and winery owner Kate Wilder after a small-town magistrate has had enough of their squabbling. South Bass, an island on Lake Erie, is home to an idyllic summer resort, but these three ladies keep disturbing the peace.
The initial book choice is Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, and that sets their mouths to watering. The Orient Express is the island’s newest Chinese restaurant. They might not agree about much, but the ladies all love the orange chicken on the menu. But their meal is spoiled when the restaurant’s owner, Peter Chan, has the bad fortune of getting murdered. Now, with Christie as their inspiration, the League of Literary Ladies has a real mystery to solve…if they can somehow catch a killer without killing each other first.
Kylie Logan is one of my favorite writers whether writing as Kylie Logan or Casey Daniels. I love all of the series she's written that I've read so far. She had me with her Pepper Martin, the paranormal cozy series with the cemetery guide who reluctantly talks with ghosts. She's kept me with her Button Box series (who knew buttons could keep me enthralled) and now there's the League of Literary Ladies mystery series.
The premise is nifty: a group of women are court-ordered to join a book club. They need to stop bickering and the library needs patrons.
Each character makes me laugh and alternately want to hug or smack them. The mystery is super, the ladies needing to find the killer of the owner of their favorite Chinese restaurant. They are going to miss their orange peanut chicken. And there's more to it than meets the eye, especially with each of the ladies.
There are still tiffs among the group of ladies, each one has a distinct personality. The story is told through the eyes of Bea Cartwright, owner of the bed and breakfast on the small island of South Bass in Lake Erie, but the story is group driven.
I really look forward to more of this fun series. And anything else Kylie/Casey writes.

Friday, October 4, 2013

JUSTICE: Galillee Falls Book One - Jennifer Harlow

It's hard being a regular police officer in Galilee Falls, a city with the highest concentration of superheroes and villains in the country. It's even harder watching your best friend, the man you're secretly in love with your whole life, planning to marry another woman. Detective Joanna Fallon has to contend with both. When the vilest supervillain in the city's history, Alkaline, the former crime boss who can shoot acid from his wrists, escapes from the maximum security prison, the whole city is gripped by panic. Leading the pursuit is Captain Harry O'Hara, Joanna's boss and secret lover, and the city's champion superhero Justice, who caught the villain last time, much to Joanna's chagrin. Before her father was murdered in a mugging twenty years earlier, Joanna worshiped the hero, but when he disappeared and failed to save her father, that adoration turned to contempt for all supers. After Alkaline attacks too close to home and targets Joanna as his next victim, tough-as-nail Joanna has to contend with her increasing fear while struggling to choose between her life-long crush and her new-found love.
At turns vulnerable and fierce, equally mordant and winsome, Joanna is an earnest yet emotionally damaged heroine, who despite the tough breaks of her childhood sees the good in people and vow to protect her beloved city at all costs. An ass-kicking petite firecracker with no superpowers of her own, she charges after supervillains unflinchingly, never losing her wit even when facing her toughest fight. With a coy blend of whimsy and vivid imagination, she delivers both humor and thrills in an action-packed and edgy blend of comic book cool, fantasy-noir, and bitter-sweet romance.
Jennifer Harlow had me with MIND OVER MONSTERS: A F.R.E.A.K.S. Investigation and has kept me with TO CATCH A VAMPIRE and a book in her Midnight Magic series, WHAT'S A WITCH TO DO....now I have another series of hers to love, Galilee Falls.
JUSTICE, book one in the series, is awesome. Joanna Fallon is a straight up, hard working detective in a city that has the highest concentration of supers..both heroes and villains. She has to be extra vigilant as she is normal, no extra powers, but it doesn't keep her from catching the bad guys and putting them super-villain prison.
There is plenty of action, secret love interest or two, gut-wrenching drama. I was in tears at one scene. I had one or two things figured out, but I can see how it would be missed by the characters in the book since it was right in front of them. And it's easy to miss that which we do not want to see.
Jennifer has made it easy to suspend belief that there is a world with superheroes and super-villains and the normal people who live with them.
I loved this book and can't wait for the next in the series. Hurry up Jennifer...

Thursday, October 3, 2013

MAMA GETS HITCHED: A Mace Bauer Mystery #3 - Deborah Sharp

According to Mama, a Gone with the Wind-themed wedding—complete with Scarlett O' Hara bridesmaid gowns and a ring-bearing Pomeranian—is fine and dandy for her fifth trip down the aisle. But what's a bridezilla to do when her caterer is murdered? Thanks to the nonstop gossip train in their small Florida town, Mama's gator-wrestling daughter Mace is getting the dirt on who did it.
Unfortunately, the suspect list is longer than the gift registry. Right at the top are the groom's East Coast Yankee cousins—who may have Mafia ties. With her on-again, off-again beau, Detective Carlos Martinez, Mace must track down the killer before Mama's Special Day turns especially deadly.
How I adore this series. Mama's antics make me laugh and I love how Mace steps up to each challenge even when some might make her roll her eyes...like Mama's 'GONE WITH THE WIND' themed wedding. Her three daughters don't know why she's going to all this fuss. It is wedding number five after all.
But Mama wants a fab wedding since this is true love. And Mama usually gets what Mama wants. It's easier to give in.

Mace gets involved in the investigation since it's Mama's wedding caterer and it also involves Mace's sweetie, Detective Carlos Martinez (so yummy)....it could mean some quality time even though it makes Martinez crazy that Mace gets involved and sometimes hurt.
I do feel for Mace and her sisters, but Mama is a wonderful character and I wouldn't mind having her for my Mama. At least for a little while.
If you want a superb mystery set in a wonderful locale and you want to laugh a lot, this is the mystery for you and definitely the series is.

CURIOSITY THRILLED THE CAT: A Magical Cats Mystery #1 - Sofie Kelly

When librarian Kathleen Paulson moved to Mayville Heights, Minnesota, she had no idea that two strays would nuzzle their way into her life. Owen is a tabby with a catnip addiction and Hercules is a stocky tuxedo cat who shares Kathleen's fondness for Barry Manilow. But beyond all the fur and purrs, there's something more to these felines.
When murder interrupts Mayville's Music Festival, Kathleen finds herself the prime suspect. More stunning is her realization that Owen and Hercules are magical-and she's relying on their skills to solve a purr-fect murder.
I've wanted to start this series for some time. Very glad I finally got to it. Cozies starring animals, especially cats it seems, are meant to be. Paranormal cozies starring magical cats? Mystical match.
This book is a fine example why I love cozies. I love suspending belief and enjoying a book with a murder to solve, a librarian main character, and a small town where I'd love to live. Add in the magical cats and I had a fun fast highly enjoyable read.

HEARSE AND BUGGY: An Amish Mystery #1 - Laura Bradford

Claire Weatherly has fled a high-stress lifestyle for a slower pace—in Amish country: Heavenly, Pennsylvania. She only planned a short visit but instead found herself opening an Amish specialty shop, Heavenly Treasures, and settling in.Claire loves her new home, and she’s slowly making friends among the locals, including Esther, a young Amish woman who works in the shop. So when the store’s former owner,the unlikable Walter Snow, is murdered, and the man Esther is sweet on becomes a suspect, Claire can’t help but get involved.

Newly returned Detective Jakob Fisher, who left Heavenly—and his Amish upbringing—as a teenager, is on the case. But his investigation is stalled by the fact that none of his former community will speak with him. Claire’s connections make her the perfect go-between.

When a cozy mystery has an endorsement from gritty Harlen Coben on the cover, a mystery-of-all-kinds reader like me will take note and buy that dadgum book. And immediately read it.
I liked the characters and the small town of Heavenly, Pennsylvania. I liked how Claire, the main character, came to be in the small town that is a blend of Amish and the English as non-Amish are known. I especially enjoyed how Claire is drawn into the investigation. It was fairly seamless and didn't feel at all forced just to move the story along.
And the ending....did not see that coming.
Exceptionally enjoyable and can't wait to read the next in the series, ASSAULTED PRETZEL and SHUNNED AND DANGEROUS (out in 2014).