Friday, November 6, 2009

The Things That Keep Us Here by Carla Buckley

The Things That Keep Us Here by Carla Buckley (to be released February 9, 2010)

“The Things That Keep Us Here” is a phenomenal debut thriller about what happens to one family when a virulent bird flu pandemic hits the USA. And it has the potential to kill about 50 our of every one hundred that it infects. And then that potential turns to reality.

This is the story of one broken family coming to grips of the reality that is America during an unseen and unprepared for emergency.

I’ve read so far this year, about 250 books…this is the one that I will remember for years to come. I’ve just finished it and I want to grab it up and start rereading it . It was an utterly amazing book especially for a debut. The characters are so well written that I came to think of them as friends of mine. The plot was very well thought out, fast paced, chilling, thrilling and yet tender. This book preys on our deepest emotions and fears, it also makes us ask the really hard moral and ethical questions of ourselves. It makes us wonder if we could cope just half as well as the Brooks family does. If we would come out of something like this with our sanity even half as intact as they did.

I look forward to Carla Buckley’s next novel.

Child of Fiere- A Twenty Palaces Novel

Child of Fire by Harry Connolly




Ray Lilly is what the driver and assistant to Annalise Powliss, a high ranking and very strong member of a group of sorcerers who hunt down and destroy rogue magicians. Unfortunately for Ray, he is her assistant under duress. He is there to be a sort of cannon fodder actually. The mission goes horribly wrong and takes Annalise out of commission and Ray has a choice…to ride in on the proverbial white charger and to try and save the day, the town and it‘s inhabitants or to wimp out and try to save his own neck.


“Children of Fire” is being marketed to the readers who happen to like Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden series. I think they might be making a mistake. I think that this book is so fantastic and different, that it should also be marketed towards the fans of Stephen King or Dean Koontz. “Child of Fire” reads more like an early King horror novel than a simple speculative fiction. If you are a fan of speculative romance, this may not be for you, but I really urge you to try it. The characters are so well written, the pacing is so brisk and the mystery is complex enough that you won’t even miss it. There is enough evilness and horror to keep even the most jaded reader looking behind his shoulder at night.
The only fly in the ointment is some of the interaction between Ray and Cynthia Hammer. Sometimes it seems a little forced and doesn’t ring true.


This is a roller-coaster of a ride. I never felt the need (like I have been needing to do a lot lately with new authors) to skim through boring or slow parts, or excessively long inner-dialogs dealing with the protagonists regrets and past. This book kept me chained to my reading chair until I finished it. Well not literally, but you know what I mean!! There is enough back-story to make you understand why Ray is doing what he’s doing, but not enough so that we don’t still have more questions for Ray and Annalise. I truly couldn’t put it down. A new installment to this series - “Game of Cages”, should be out in May of 2010. I can not wait.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Red Hot Lies by Laura Caldwell

Red Hot Lies by Laura Caldwell



This is the first book in the Izzy McNeil trilogy and it sure does start with a bang! Luckily if you got hooked on Izzy the way I did, you will be happy to know that the next two books in the trilogy came out in quick succession --- Red Blooded Murder in July and Red, White and Dead in August.

For those of you who like your novels written in first person POV you’ll love this book. But, Ms Caldwell threw in a sort of monkey wrench. There are a few chapters that are in Sam, her fianc├ęs voice. This is important for the reader since we never know if Sam is what he seems, and though he does sort of “speak” to us, he never gives away anything important.

The story starts with Sam and Izzy trying to finalize their wedding plans when Sam is mysteriously called away from a meeting with their wedding planner. He promises to try to meet up with Izzy later on that night but never shows. And as the book jacket says “trouble comes in threes”. Izzy’s mentor, friend and biggest client is found dead, Sam has taken off for parts unknown with 30 million dollars of bearer shares that the client owned, Izzy’s job is on the line and Izzy is in for the ride of her life as she hooks up with a PI to get help in finding Sam and clearing his name.

It’s been twelve days of Hell and there are time you the reader will feel every bit of frustration, despair and determination that Izzy feels. Ms Caldwell is amazing at getting the reader inside the characters skin and making her (Izzy) so real and so human. Izzy is not the usual butt-kicking expert at everything that some author like to write. She has her own flaws and they really work well with Ms Caldwell’s writing style.

I can’t wait until my copies of Red Hot Murder and Red, White and Dead show up on my doorstep!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Rosemary And Rue - Seanan McGuire




Rosemary and Rue is the quintessential Dark Fantasy novel and a must read for anyone looking to add to their new favorite authors. If you are a fan of Laurell K Hamilton’s “Merry Gentry” series and Jim Butcher’s “Harry Dresden” series, you will find this the perfect book to read while waiting for the next Merry or Harry novel. This book is completely character and action driven, and written in the first person point of view. This is a gem of a book and I’m already encouraging my readers and members to put this on their “to be purchased” lists.This new series by debut author Seanan McGuire seems to blend the best of the worlds of the Laurell’s fey (Fairies) with the bumbling antics of Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden character. This book will have you so immersed from page one that you’ll be forgetting to eat while you’re reading it. And I swear you will also be worrying about every little creak and noise you hear in your house, and you’ll be wondering just exactly what is under that little hill in your neighborhood park. We get to meet October Daye (a Changeling or half Fey) during a stake out; her liege lord has asked that she try to find his wife and daughter. As she is following her lead she is caught and sent out of her present life and into another one. (Sorry for the ambiguity but I don’t want to spoil anything for you.) Now move ahead 14 years and we find that Toby (October) has regained her life and for reasons that come clear in the novel, has moved ahead without the people from her old life. She is now a cashier for a supermarket chain and has left her private eye work in the past. That is until a fateful series of messages show up on her answering machine one day and forces her into investigating the murder of one of the full fey. Now she has to find a murderer or her own life will be forfeit. Rosemary and Rue is the perfect “set up” novel. One that introduces us to the world where the fey have found ways to live amongst us and blend in, yet still manage to remain apart from us. We are learning about October Daye’s history amongst the full blooded, her past and what it’s like to be a changeling. We also learn that the heroine is not always a kick butt “MaryJane” type who can do it all (and thank God for that!). The fact that October spends more time bloody and unconscious or as a Koi will certainly attest to the fact that she is not omnipotent and has a lot to learn in the coming books. (The Koi part is revealed in the prologue which is fabulous).I am by no means a “professional reviewer” and as you can see by my previous reviews my tastes for books run anywhere from historical romances to chick lit, comedic romance to mystery/suspense. But for some reason, lately the Dark Urban Fantasy has given me some of the most pleasurable reading I’ve ever had. It takes me from my mundane world and sends me into realms that I never dreamed possible. I have been lucky enough to be chosen as a Vine Voice and to be allowed to read books that haven’t hit the market yet. Okay, with that said let me tell you in the last few months I have immersed myself in my Dark Urban Fantasy world and have been happy enough with the pickings coming down the pike. Until I got this book…this book is just what the doctor ordered and so far from the norm in this genre that I can’t stop raving about it.I for one am very jealous of anyone who has already had the pleasure of reading the next two novels in this series which will be published in 2010.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Beach Trip: A Novel by Cathy Holton (Hardcover - May 12, 2009)


Beach Trip: A Novel by Cathy Holton (Hardcover - May 12, 2009)
When we first meet Lola, Mel, Sara and Annie in the first chapter, it is the very early 80’s in a small prestigious Southern College in North Carolina, but we aren’t going to stay there…oh my no! We have a long and winding road to go on and the author, Cathy Holton, takes pleasure in leading the way.
In the next chapter it’s 23 years later and we meet up with the ‘girls’ now women at the peak of their lives and they are going to meet up at the beach for a week long reunion of sorts. We learn how each of the woman have grown and how some have changed and that, well, some really have not changed all that much. The week becomes very cathartic, as past secrets that they all have been holding for these two decades are finally revealed. In addition, this is the crux of this novel…how we all have secrets. Secrets that even our very best friends do not know about, secrets that we don’t even want to admit to ourselves. Secrets that finally come out and bite us on the butt.
We have some very hilarious moments (Mel’s revenge on Mr. A Lincoln at the club and free dinner during Casino night for one) as well as some very emotionally scarring ones.
Ms Holton deftly swings from decade to decade, without getting the reader confused or pulling them out of the story, as so many authors have the habit of doing. She weaves the traditional tale of ‘best friends against the world’ with unique and strong characters.
I am not going to spoil anything for you, but let me say that this book does have several big revelations at the end. This is a book that you read the first time straight through with no stopping because you just know something important is going to happen. You want to read it again almost immediately, so you can fit the pieces of their lives together and see why they all chose the actions they did as well as have a clearer picture of the consequences of those actions.
A great, fast paced, well plotted read, with realistic characters and great secondary characters. It is a great story and Ms Holton is a great storyteller. Beach Trip is well worth your hard-earned book-buying dollar.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Larry's Kidney

I'm not going to waste my time recapping this piece of crap book for you. If you're interested in a fairy tale written to be auto- biographical, then please be my guest and buy it. If you want to encourage more unethical behavior of the "Ugly Americans" then go ahead and waste your hard earned cash...if you just like really crappy writing...then be my guest and kill another tree.



May I say that if you have any morals at all you will not buy this book…and I thank God I got it for free and did not line Mr. Rose‘s pocket with my hard earned book-buying money.
The writing is poor, the supposed “humor” isn’t funny, the over use of Larry’s speech impediment was extremely annoying, the non-stop use of dialect writing was in very bad taste…everything is just over done and I have to wonder how this book every got the green light.
If I could find some brain Brillo being sold by Amazon I would have it sent to me over night so I could get the remnants of this book out of my head. This was the most painful book I have ever read (attempted to read). I’m ashamed to say that I would rather donate my kidney to Larry than finish this highly disturbing look at kidney transplants and the high handed ethics of a certain type of Ugly American.
While I did get this through Vine, my reasons for choosing this particular book are not the same as most people here who had read this because they had traveled to China. I have a friend on the 74,000 person waiting list for a kidney and has been on this list for many years; I had hoped to find some answers in this little book of horrors, some humor, maybe some empathy and a side trip for Larry to hook up. Sadly I was hood-winked.
Imagine my horror while reading this unethical never ending, torturous book that I had recommended that they stock this in the dialysis department’s library? I hope they will forgive me.

The Accidental Bestseller by Wendy Wax

The Accidental Bestseller by Wendy Wax
Wow! Just wow! I just this moment finished this book and I’d like to say to Ms Wax BRAVO! If you are a published author, you will appreciate the insiders look at some of the quirks of the industry and perhaps you will even recognize someone you’ve had to deal with in the past. If you are a pre-published writer, you may appreciate the look into what other authors have to do to get over those dry spells. If you are simply a book lover like me you will appreciate everything about this book. And if you are a woman, you will appreciate the author’s views on best friends who will help you out when life seems to be too much; no matter what it costs them. And in this book they all have the potential of loosing it all.
 
Years ago four women from varied back rounds met at a writer’s conference and formed a bond. None of them had been published, but they sure hoped to be one day. Well that “one day” happened for all of them. Each woman writing a different style of books: Faye writing Inspirational Romances, Tanya writing contemporary romances books for a Harlequin-esque company called Masque; Mallory striking, confident and very prolific with her novels. Yet as successful as they are on the surface, each one holds a secret close to their hearts. And then there is Kendell.
Kendell is having problems in the literary world and has tumbled into mid-listdom, not only that, a new book deadline is quickly approaching with nothing yet written, and to add insult to injury her husband has left her for a younger woman.
Kendell is the main protagonist of this book, or is she really? We find her escaping to the mountains to lick her wounds. And of course Kendell’s BFF’s come to help her through this rocky time and hope to kick-start the creative juices that seem to be missing from Kendell’s messed up life. I won’t spoil anything for you more than has been already, but a plan is hatched, goes into effect and they collaborate on a novel using their own lives and unfortunately their own writing voices.
What no one would fathom is the book becomes “The Accidental Bestseller” (literally) and true to life - what may go well one minute, collapses the next.
We learn the secrets behind each of the masks each one wears and I found my stomach in knots praying that this would work out well for at least some of them in the end. But I’ll leave that up to you to find out.
Very fast paced, deeply absorbing, well plotted and written. It has finely drawn characters that you can imagine as your own bet friends. Do not by any means mistake this as a “chick-lit” genre book, it most certainly is not. This book is unique and a breath of fresh air . Something that you will not regret spending your hard earned book buying dollars on. I know that I haven’t.
I think this book will be putting Ms Wax on the best sellers list.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Last Vampire Standing by Nancy Haddock

I knew with the very first chapter of La Vida Vampire (Oldest City Vampire, Book 1)
that I had found something worth my book reading time, my patience and my cash. I don’t think I had even actually finished this book before I was off and running recommending it to anyone that would listen to me. I just knew that here was finally an author that knew how to write a fresh, funny vampire mystery/romance series. Now with the release of Ms. Haddocks newest, “Last Vampire Standing (Oldest City Vampire, Book 2) I am positive that we have the making for a long running series; a wonderful roller coaster ride that has me chortling with glee, and already anxious for my next fix of Princes Francesca, or Cesca (rhymes with Fresca) as she likes to be called!
All Cesca ever wanted from her underdead life…er…death was to make up for the centuries of being buried. She wants to live her life like a semi-normal human being. She wants to blend with the humans, shop Wal-Mart, surf (yes; a surfing Vampire, who knew!) have a boyfriend and give her historic ghost tours. After all she is living history. But alas, the road to hell is paved with good intentions and what could she do when the fates brought to her doorstep Jo-Jo the Jester? Yep J J the Jester (Ms Haddock has a real creative imagination!)
Then comes more trouble in the shape of Ike the head vamp from Daytona, his henchwoman Laurell (who braids her hair using human bones as decoration) and Vlad the head honcho from Atlanta (what mother would name her baby Vlad?) and Marcus, a blast form Cesca’s past. Toss into the mix Cesca learning how to fly, helping J J with updating his comedy act, some new Vamp powers of hers coming on line, a prophecy starting to come true, an old very old friend helping her out, a shape shifting cat and a surprise from her boyfriend Deke--and you have the makings of a rollicking good read.
 
This second book in the series delivers a more difficult mystery to be solved, wonderfully fleshed out secondary characters and even some pretty humorous tertiary characters like next door neighbors Hugh and Selma Lister.
Run, walk, fly or down-load it to your Kindle; I don’t care how you do it, just go and get this book. If you haven’t read La Vida Vampire yet, then may I suggest that you splurge on that book too, although you don’t need to have read it to understand what is going on in this second book in the series!
Happy reading!
I knew with the very first chapter of La Vida Vampire (Oldest City Vampire, Book 1)
that I had found something worth my book reading time, my patience and my cash. I don’t think I had even actually finished this book before I was off and running recommending it to anyone that would listen to me. I just knew that here was finally an author that knew how to write a fresh, funny vampire mystery/romance series. Now with the release of Ms. Haddocks newest, “Last Vampire Standing (Oldest City Vampire, Book 2) I am positive that we have the making for a long running series; a wonderful roller coaster ride that has me chortling with glee, and already anxious for my next fix of Princes Francesca, or Cesca (rhymes with Fresca) as she likes to be called!
All Cesca ever wanted from her underdead life…er…death was to make up for the centuries of being buried. She wants to live her life like a semi-normal human being. She wants to blend with the humans, shop Wal-Mart, surf (yes; a surfing Vampire, who knew!) have a boyfriend and give her historic ghost tours. After all she is living history. But alas, the road to hell is paved with good intentions and what could she do when the fates brought to her doorstep Jo-Jo the Jester? Yep J J the Jester (Ms Haddock has a real creative imagination!)
Then comes more trouble in the shape of Ike the head vamp from Daytona, his henchwoman Laurell (who braids her hair using human bones as decoration) and Vlad the head honcho from Atlanta (what mother would name her baby Vlad?) and Marcus, a blast form Cesca’s past. Toss into the mix Cesca learning how to fly, helping J J with updating his comedy act, some new Vamp powers of hers coming on line, a prophecy starting to come true, an old very old friend helping her out, a shape shifting cat and a surprise from her boyfriend Deke--and you have the makings of a rollicking good read.
 
This second book in the series delivers a more difficult mystery to be solved, wonderfully fleshed out secondary characters and even some pretty humorous tertiary characters like next door neighbors Hugh and Selma Lister.
Run, walk, fly or down-load it to your Kindle; I don’t care how you do it, just go and get this book. If you haven’t read La Vida Vampire yet, then may I suggest that you splurge on that book too, although you don’t need to have read it to understand what is going on in this second book in the series!
Happy reading!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sworn to Silence by LindaCastillo

16 years ago a serial murderer/rapist was killed by one of his victims...or was he?

In present day Painter's Mill Ohio; a community of approximately 6000 people and a third of them Amish, on one bitterly cold January night Officer T J Bank, while answering a call about cows that have escaped, finds a body of a young woman. Chief of Police Kate Burkholder ( formerly Amish now, not so much) sits in on the autopsy of this victim and finds the one piece of evidence to prove that they must have a copycat killer in their midst. Or do they? Is it possible that the first killer didn't die from his wounds?

As the killer escalates, the Mayor and several of his cronies call in different law enforcement agencies, which for her own personal reasons Kate was praying wouldn't happen. Among the agencies called out, John Tomasetti, a has been cop, with a drinking and drug problem and his own ghosts from his past clinging like leeches and who is now with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation comes calling. And just to make Kate's life even more difficult she calls for and gets `help' in the form of a County Sheriff Nathan Detrick. Secrets that had been kept for 16 years, betrayals of those secrets, families torn apart by secrets, injustices corrected, and justice meted out in the way of the vigilante are just some of the things you will find in Sworn to Silence.

Sworn to Silence is not Ms Castillo's first novel, she has written a number of romantic suspense novels for Berkley Sensation and I can state for a fact that this novel is nothing like what you'd find at that publisher! There is no sentimental triteness, no impossible trysts in between the action. There is just plane action, mystery, suspense (and a whole lot of that!) with a touch of police procedural thrown in. If you love action suspense you are gong to love this book. It's sure to be a winner with mystery and police procedural fans too. I started and finished in the same day because I just couldn't put it down. I had to see if I could match wits with the author and sadly I found myself somewhat lacking because I never saw the ending come out of left field. Although in retrospect clues had been sprinkled about, albeit thinly! A highly satisfying nail biting roller-coaster of a read. I can't wait to see more like this come from Ms Castillos pen. If you like books like Night Sins and Guilty as Sin by Tami Hoag but with less romance, then you really must try this book. Night Sins/Guilty as Sin

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Deadlock by Iris Johansen


Deadlock by Iris Johansen
I am not going to re-cap this book in my own words like a good reviewer should. It has been done and done so very well by so many others. What I will say, is that I know this author could do so much better than what I’ve read here. I feel as if this were a “phone in” instead of an honest attempt at writing in the mystery/thriller category.
What we have here with Deadlock, is a book that, in my opinion, lacks suspense or thrills, romance or even believable dialogue. The pacing is slow; the relationships are flat and one dimensional, the beginning where we are expected to relive Emily’s horror and nightmare abduction is bland and emotionless. The mystery and the history lessons that Ms Johansen treats us with, are tedious and endless.
The relationship between Emily and John Garrett never resonates and one wonders why the attempt was made at all. Perhaps just to fill the requirement of in being romantic suspense.
Take my advice if you must buy this book wait and buy it in paperback or get it from the library…save a tree.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Still Life by Joy Fielding

Still Life by Joy FieldingImagine being hit by a car, almost every bone in your body broken, bleeding in the brain, you are in a coma. Now imagine that you awake but nobody knows it. You are trapped inside your own body, you can’t see, move, feel or even catch a scent; but you can hear. Oh yes you can hear everything said around you. Imagine not knowing if what you are hearing is real or your dreams. You hear the Dr’s making their rounds, you hear your friends, your loved ones, the police, your enemies and your husband or wife talking about you as if you weren’t there. You are aware of it all and there is not a single thing you can do about it. Chilling, horrifying, terrifying. Now imagine that one of these people had deliberately done this to you. This is exactly what happens to Casey Marshall, a happily married, wealthy, successful business woman. One day as she is leaving lunch she had just shared with her friends she is run over while walking to her car. While In a coma she finds out that not all is as it seems. Locked inside her own brain she begins to have doubts about everyone around her and she even has doubts about her own sanity.As Casey starts getting better, she realizes that her days are numbered. The would-be killer also knows that she is slowly recovering and the killer’s time is swiftly running out.Ms Fielding writes this so vividly and expertly that I have to wonder how she did her research. Through Ms Fielding’s expert writing and vivid descriptions, I physically felt Casey’s panic at being transferred out of the safety of the hospital and into the hands of the assassin. The author’s ability to keep the tension going right through to the exciting conclusion was brilliant. Thank you Ms Fielding. I’ve never read anything by you until Still Life, but believe me when I say I’ll be stocking up on some of your other books now!If you know anything about the late Martha “Sunny” von Bulow, this will be right up your alley; and fans of the classic movie Gaslight will enjoy this too.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Nothing But Trouble by Susan May Warren

I may not have chosen this book had I known that it was an Inspirational styled novel, but in for a penny - in for a pound.

PJ Sugar has been in an out of some sort of trouble seemingly all her life. Her answer ten years ago was to run as far and as fast away as she possibly could. Over the years, she has gained knowledge in all sorts of things. She's been a zoo keeper, a stunt woman, a makeup artist among other things. Now she has come back to her hometown at her Mothers and sisters bequest and trouble seems to find her once again. This time it's murder that she stumbles upon. Plus then there is trouble in the shape of Boone her ex-boyfriend and fellow youthful trouble maker.

This is a very cute novel that appears to be a first in a series of other books soon to follow. My fellow readers may have thought that the Christian message was subtle but I think that it (toward the end at least) it was a tad too preachy for me. But don't forget, I'm not the person who would have necessarily bought this in the first place! I will say that I most likely will buy the next one, because I'd like to see PJ grow through her belief in herself. Well that, and I want to see which hottie she may pick in the end! LOL!

If I have anything bad to say about this book it's that I was very surprised to find out that this was a first in a series. The way it was written I felt that I had missed a previous book or two somewhere along the line. A lot of it, the emotional stuff was scattered and felt as if it was just thrown in later on for the heck of it and the plotting style was somewhat jerky and left so many things left unexplained. Some first time readers may find that a problem. Some things since they weren't ever explained just seems so out of left field like really - just why did Connie leave her son with a sister she hadn't seen in ten years? And why leave that same trouble causing sister with the in-laws that couldn't speak English? These are some simple things that should have been made clearer, at least in my opinion.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I Flipped Over This Fantastic Find! Seriously!!!


Flipping Out by Marshall Karp
I have to say that this book just flat out really did it for me. I have found a new obsession in Mr. Karps writing! I love mysteries, and this is a police procedural too…then to add the cherry onto the cake it is also laugh out loud funny. Mr. Karp better be sitting in front of his word processor right this minute cranking out the next book in this series that’s all I have to say. I read this the third in the series first and as soon as I was done, I immediately went back and ordered the first two on this series - The Rabbit Factory and Bloodthirsty. There really is no need to read the first books in order since each can stand on it’s own quite nicely, but it may help clarify some minor points and “in“ jokes..
Okay now down to the nitty gritty - this series stars two of LAPD’s finest Detectives Mike Lomax, Terry Biggs (an aspiring stand up comic) and a whole slew of other equally hilarious secondary characters, including Mike‘s teamster father who loves to be a butinski, Mikes lady friend Diana and Terry‘s wife Marilyn. The first murder that happens, just happens to be another detective’s wife and then there is a second murder of a cop’s wife and then… well you get the idea! What do these murders have in common besides they are all cops wives? Well this group of women just all happen to belong to a club that flips houses for profit and this group includes Terry‘s wife Marilyn. This club is headed by famed mystery writer Nora Bannister who is writing a series of mystery books called The House to Die For Series. Each house in her series is an actual house newly renovated by the partners and as soon as the newest house in the series is ready to go on the market the wives start dying.
If you think you will be able to figure out who-dun-it quickly and neatly you have a big surprise coming to you. I thought I had it all wrapped up neatly too, but Mr. Karp manages to throw in one heck of a curve ball at the end.
Add to this some additional mayhem of Mike and Diana buying and renovating an older home and the humor never stops.
PS: I just finished the The Rabbit Factory and Bloodthirsty and I highly recommend them also.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Shannon K Butcher - Burning Alive:The Sentinel Wars (Release Date may 5th 2009)

Wonderful Speculative Fiction Debut, March 5, 2009 Burning Alive: The Sentinel Wars by Shannon K Butcher With Burning Alive: the Sentinel Wars, Shannon Butcher (wife of author Jim Butcher) makes her paranormal debut. And let me tell you she had me by the throat with the very first sentence: "The man who was going to stand by and watch while Helen burned to death liked his coffee black." This is a wonderfully fast paced paranormal romance novel and a very fast read that will leave you wanting more. It is very different than the usual paranormal romance, possibly because of Ms Butcher's experience with writing romantic suspense and mystery. This book is filled with good guys, bad guys, steamy sensual scenes between Helen and Drake, there are things that would curl your hair and make you look under the bed before getting in and characters that you aren't sure just which side of the war they are fighting on. With this first book we get to meet some of the factions that are on both sides of the War. We get to meet Drake the Theronai warrior and part of the Sentinels born to fight the Synestryn, we also meet Logan who is a Sanguinar, a healer and called the `leech' since he seems to be a vampire, who has the ability to help heal the warriors, and who seems to have his own agenda. Helen Day the human (or is she?) who believes that Drake will be standing by to watch while a vision of hers comes true and who finds herself fighting the Synestryn by Drakes side. The characters are all flawed to some degree and that makes them seem more real to me. Ms Butcher also pulls no punches, this is no typical "romance" people die, even ones you like and they carry secrets. Many secrets. Enough so that you know that this will be a series worth reading. I'm not going to get bogged down in explaining what is going on or even give any other details. The book synopsis and description do a wonderfu job of that. I'm just letting you know that I couldn't finish this book fast enough so I could get the word out that this is one you definitely need to read. It's fresh, it's fast paced, it has mystery,it's hot and it is a book that has something for everyone.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Breakneck by Erica Spindler

Breakneck by Erica Spindler Never having read anything by this author, but being one who loves suspense novels, I was delighted by this book. And even though I am no computer "geek"; the lingo, explanations and plot were easily followed and understood by one as computer illiterate as I am. It may be a bit annoying to "alpha geeks" but there you have it! This is my first meeting with, Detectives M.C. Riggio and Kitt Lundgren and it won't be my last. Breakneck opens with the seemingly senseless murder of a young computer "geek" and quickly moves to happier events. An engagement, an engagement party and then a very surprising death close to Riggio's heart, followed quickly by more deaths of young computer geeks. Each murder striking closer to home for Riggio. Information and clues pile up at a nearly impossible to keep up with pace, but are quickly sorted, and lead us on a journey to the inevitable. I have to admit that the red herrings were so clever that I didn't figure this one out until nearly the same time as the author had M. C. figure it out. Excellent writing, suspenseful, highly emotional with tightly written characters and a very true look at very old Italian families. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and look forward to reading Erica Spindler's back list