Thursday, September 6, 2012

Review: Grave Dance by Kaylana Price

Title: Grave Dance

Author: Kaylana Price

Publication Date: July 5th, 2011

Format: Paperback, 400 pages


Grave Dance is the second book in The Alex Craft series written by Kaylana Price. Again we meet up with Alex Craft, owner and detective with Tongues of the Dead. Alex also happens to be a grave witch, someone who has a particular talent to raise shades of dead people from their bodies in order to speak with them.

The story starts up with the main mystery of the book. A bunch of left feet from several bodies are uncovered at the beginning minus their owners. Alex is called to investigate and see if she can raise a shade using only the feet to get to the bottom of where they came from. Ultimately she can't raise a shade using just the feet by herself, however, she ends up uncovering something she isn't supposed to, putting herself and her friends in danger. Soon she is being pursued by constructs/glamours, that actually seem to be able to do real damage and everytime they attack her they rip a hole open to the aetheric. In the midst of all this, Alex is also being pursued by a group of witches who want her ability to access the aetheric, so that they can become more powerful.

I have to say that I enjoyed Grave Dance. Not quite as much as I did the first book in the series, Grave Witch, but Grave Dance had its own charm. This book served to show us more of Faerie and also expanded on what we learned about Alex's heritage at the end of the first book. In regard to this, it did a great job in making me want to learn more, because as much as it added to what we learned it also created even greater mystery. I have a feeling that Alex is much more than she seems (of course), especially since her powers seem to be morphing into something different and she seems to be getting stronger, which is usually typical in this type of book, but because I enjoy reading the character so much I don't really mind.

The main mystery of the book was interesting, but felt a bit lacking. It seemed a bit rushed, as if the story existed to build on the world rather than the world being a fluid part of the story. But, it helped to keep the action flowing throughout the book and if there is one thing we know about Alex Craft it is that she is a girl that never has to look for trouble, it just finds her and this kept the book exciting.

The love triangle didn't really advance as much as I thought it would in this book either, however, I do enjoy the fact that I really don't know which love interest I would choose for Alex if given a choice, which is rare for me. I like them both. I also like the fact that both options would provide for a bit of a forbidden love story. Falin is the lover of the Winter Queen of Faerie, so that presents problems in and of itself, and Death, well, he is Death and if you read the book you will understand a bit more of why his love would be a forbidden love aside for just the fact that he is a reaper.

I especially enjoyed the fact that we get a little more of a peek into who Alex might actually be, not too mention what may have happened to both her mother and her brother. I don't want to go into it too much because then we are hitting spoiler territory, but I have my own theories and it makes me want to read the next book in the series that much more.

All and all I would recommend this book. I like the world Kaylana Price has built. I enjoy her characters and I like her magic system. The fact that everything has a price and there are rules that need to be followed makes it all the more appealing.

The third book in the Alex Craft series, Grave Memory, was released recently. Review for that one to come soon.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Reviewed for:

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Back in Action!!!!

Remember that life stuff I was talking about that was eating up most of my time? Yeah, that sort of exploded in a big way and completely took over my life, but now things are finally starting to slow back down and getting back to normal. Hoping to have a few reviews up in the next week for your viewing pleasure and some interesting news and tidbits. Stay tuned. I promise....good things are coming!!!!

Monday, June 11, 2012

I'm good enough. I'm smart enough. And doggone it, people like me. HA!

There is somebody in the world that finds me interesting, which always kind of amazes me because I am actually a relatively shy person. When soon to be published and wildly talented author C.K. Garner (pictured) asked me if she could interview me for her own blog I was hesitant at first. I like to hear myself talk, but I was pretty sure that most of the world wasn't waiting with bated breath for what I had to say. But, it turned out to be a fun little interview. Ms. Garner asks the most interesting questions.

If you would like to read the interview please go here: The Book Geektress gets interviewed!

Even if you don't want to read the interview, you should definitely check out C.K. Garner's blog, Pile on the Protagonist. She has some interesting things to say and I have a feeling they are only going to get more interesting once her story goes live in August.


Saturday, June 9, 2012

I have been remiss....

So, you know that feeling when you know you should be doing something and life just keeps getting in the way. Yeah, been having that feeling a lot lately. I haven't done a review in a couple weeks, not that I get a whole lot of traffic here, but I like to be at least semi-consistent. I have been reading like crazy. Unfortunately one of those books was Fifty Shades of Grey, which (and please don't throw rotten fruit at me for this)I am not a fan of. I don't intend to review it, but I may do a quick blurb to let you all know why I didn't like it.

But, for now, I leave you with a book I am looking forward to coming out Tuesday, June 12.

Here is the synopsis:

Griffin Shaw used to be a PI, but that was back when gumshoes hoofed the streets . . . and he was still alive. Fifty years later, he's an angel, but that doesn't make him a saint. One small mistake has altered fate, and now he's been dumped back onto the mortal mudflat to collect another soul—Katherine "Kit" Craig, a journalist whose latest investigation is about to get her clipped.

Bucking heavenly orders, Grif refuses to let the sable-haired siren come to harm. Besides, protecting her offers a chance to solve the mystery of his own unsolved murder—and dole out some overdue payback for the death of his beloved wife, Evie.

Joining forces, Kit and Grif's search for answers leads beyond the blinding lights of the Strip into the dark heart of an evil conspiracy. But a ruthless killer determined to destroy them isn't Grif's biggest threat. His growing attraction to Kit could cost them both their lives, along with the answer to the haunting question of his long afterlife . . .

I had the pleasure of meeting and having lunch with Vicki Pettersson several years ago when her first book in her first series, The Sign of the Zodiac, had just released. Meeting her made me decide to give her books a try and I loved them. Now her new series is about to launch and I am anxiously waiting to purchase my copy!

If you haven't read Vicki Pettersson I urge you to give her books a try.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

When Will You Rise?? Mira Grant's Blackout Out Now!

I am so excited!!!! There are a handful of authors who I will run out the day a book comes out for and Mira Grant (aka Seanan McGuire) happens to be one of them. The third and final novel in her Newsflesh series, Blackout, is out today! And if you haven't guessed by the title of the series.....there are zombies in it!!! Oh, and not to mention government conspiracies, traitors, insane people who like to poke zombies before they run, blogs....and did I mention the zombies?!!!

If you have not read the first two books in the series, Feed and Deadline, I urge you to run, not walk, to your nearest bookstore, online library, physical library, whatever your medium of choice and obtain these books. Mira Grant has crafted an amazing, sometimes heartbreaking story. Her imagination knows no bounds (and the fact that she happens to love reading about viruses to a near obsessive level helps). I am only sad because this is the final book in the series.

Oh, and this happened today......!

I have book in hand, but unfortunately not enough time to tear through the book today, but soon, very, very soon.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Review: Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

Title: Battle Royale

Author: Koushun Takami

Format: Paperback, 576 pages

Publication Date: February 26, 2003 (English version)

Koushun Takami's notorious high-octane thriller is based on an irresistible premise: a class of junior high school students is taken to a deserted island where, as part of a ruthless authoritarian program, they are provided arms and forced to kill one another until only one survivor is left standing. Criticized as violent exploitation when first published in Japan - where it then proceeded to become a runaway bestseller - Battle Royale is a Lord of the Flies for the 21st century, a potent allegory of what it means to be young and (barely) alive in a dog-eat-dog world. Made into a controversial hit movie of the same name, Battle Royale is already a contemporary Japanese pulp classic, now available for the first time in the English language. (via Goodreads)

"Someone else will finish you off if you get too hung up on every person you kill." - Shogo

Battle Royale by Koushun Takami was first published in 1999 (that is the Japanese version was, the American version was published in 2003) and a movie based on the book followed in 2000, as well as a manga series. It has since had a resurgence in popularity due to the book, and now movie phenomena, of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, since both books seems to have some similar themes and ideas. There has been some debate as to whether Suzanne Collins borrowed some of her ideas from Battle Royale, but I am not going to go into that. I am, however going to direct you to a fantastic post about this very thing on the website It is an excellent article on the comparisons and how, while Battle Royale and The Hunger Games definitely have similarities, they also have many differences that make both stories unique.

Third Year Class B, Shiroiwa Junior High School students are on a bus to what they think is a school retreat, but half way through the ride they are all mysteriously falling asleep at the same time and one student, Shuya Nanahara, realizes that the bus driver is wearing a mask right before he passes out. When he wakens he is in a unfamiliar class room with a metal ring around his neck and we are introduced to Kimpatusu Sakamochi, the "game master" if you will. The students are told that their class has been chosen to participate in this years Program, a time honored tradition the Republic of Greater East Asia has instituted for "security reasons". Every year 50 junior high third year classes are selected to participate and classmates are forced to fight friends and peers they have known for years until only one is left standing. These students are on an island and their only chance of escape is to win the game. And the metal ring is to keep track of the students whereabouts on the island and used as a way to keep the students in line when they are told it will explode if they try to escape or if they are caught in a forbidden zone, areas of the island that become off limits during the course of the Program, in order to keep the students constantly moving towards each other and to a conclusion.

Battle Royale is pulse pounding from the word go. You are thrown into the action almost immediately and the author has a way of getting across the terrifying fear these kids are feeling once they realize what they have been thrown into. For lack of a better description this book becomes a psychological mind-fuck, which was definitely one of the things I liked about the book. It is hardcore brutal. It keeps you on edge throughout the entire story. It is interesting to see the different ways the teenagers react when they are thrown into pretty much a kill or be killed scenario. Some, of course, want to resist and rebel and believe they can. Some throw themselves whole-heartedly into the game, killing in chillingly unique ways. And others try their best just to avoid any sort of contact whatsoever mistakenly believing they can hide out until the game is over. But, of course the Program is designed so that this is not possible.

There was a death countdown at the end of each chapter which I thought added to the intensity of the book. You always knew how many students were left alive and it kept you on your toes wondering who would die next and who would be the ultimate victor. Although occasionally this would also provide spoilers as to how many kids would die in a specific chapter if you happened to look ahead, which I personally couldn't resist doing.

I also like the fact that interspersed between all the killing and dying you get to know some of the characters by their point of view and a bit about some of their history. Now this doesn't happen with every single character, it would simply make the book too long, but the stories of the characters that are included were interesting. Not only do I think the author meant it as a device for the reader to sympathize with the students, but I think he also intended to show that it didn't matter what kind of background the person came from, what gender they were, or what type of student they were, they all had an equal chance of being chosen for the Program, just as they all had an equal chance of dying in the duration.

Some of the deaths were a bit predictable. On occasion I had that horror movie feel you get when you know the person on screen is walking right into a death trap and you keep screaming at them to run the other way, but they keep going in the direction of the danger. That is basically how this book makes you feel a good portion of the way through. Then there was the fact that I would have liked to see more of what was going on in the "control room". Once the teenagers leave the classroom we really only see Sakamochi appear once throughout the book besides when his voice comes over the island to tell the students which ones of their classmates are dead and which parts of the island are going to turn into forbidden zones, but you don't physically see him again until the end. I thought maybe there could have been more done with that, but again the book was already pretty long without including this.

This book makes you think what you would do if you were thrust into a situation such as this. Would you be able to kill your friends or people you may have not been friends with but have known since you were little? Would you feel remorse or would you feel, since you had no other choice, it was justifiable? Would you try to fight the system? Would you lay down your life for another person? These are certainly questions that you may not know the answers to unless you were living it, but are extremely interesting to contemplate. It is fascinating the way the author puts these questions to his characters and lets the drama play out in high fashion. It also highlights what some people may be capable of doing in high stress situations, especially life or death ones.

I highly recommend this book, especially if you area fan of The Hunger Games or any of the multitude of stories over the years that have similar themes. I should mention there is some gore. This book is not for the faint of heart. I would reach a point and think, "oh, this isn't as gory as some said it would be" and then turn the page and a particularly stomach churning scene would pop up. But, if you can get through that and the idea of kids being forced to kill kids, it is a fascinating examination of how a scenario like this could possibly play out if it were real. The fun part is getting to the end and finding out who survives, how they survive, and what may be in store afterwards.

Rating:4.5 out of 5

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Review: Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children

Title: Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children

Author: Ransom Riggs

Series: Miss Peregrine #1

Format: Hardback, 348 pages

Publication Date: June 7, 2011

A mysterious island.

An abandoned orphanage.

A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.(via Goodreads)

The synopsis above calls the book a "spine-tingling fantasy" and while I wouldn't exactly term it as "spine-tingling" or even an overly creepy book, I would definitely call it a fun, interesting book. It begins with the main character, Jacob, listening to his grandfather Abe's stories about where he grew up in a far off land among the peculiar children, who all had their own special talents. As a youngster, Jake is more than happy to believe these fantastical stories, but as he starts to grow up and begins to encounter opposition to the stories from his peers, he decides he doesn't want to believe them anymore, so it is at this point when Jake tells his grandfather this and Abe quits telling him the stories. But, we are soon to find out that maybe Jake should have put more faith in the stories. The family tragedy the synopsis talks about happens when Jake turns 16 and he has an encounter that makes him finally believe in the monsters and the Peculiars thus leading him on the journey of a lifetime.

The book is fun mainly because it has a wonderful cast of characters. When Jake convinces his parents to let him travel to the island his grandfather told him about he is almost positive he is going to find all these kids either very elderly or dead. But, what he finds is way more than he bargained for. And I would like to tell you more about the Peculiar Children, but I think that might spoil one of the things that makes the book so interesting.

Jake's journey also leads him to learn about himself, as well as his family and what his grandfather was really all about. At the part of the book where we first meet teenage Jake he is your pretty ordinary, typical 16 year old, although he comes from a privileged background. He is bored with his life. His path has pretty much been laid out for him. He will join in with the family business of running drug stores. But, you get the sense that he definitely wants more, but even he doesn't quite know what exactly that is and he has given in to the path of least resistance. But, when he witnesses tragedy first hand and sees the monster that did it, his life is thrown into an uncontrollable spiral that can only end in him seeking the answers to who his grandfather really was and what secrets the mysterious island Abe grew up on holds.

This book definitely felt like a first book in a series. The reason for this being that it seemed the author was paying particular attention to building the world and setting up future conflict than anything else. It definitely has a story to go with it, but when you reach the end you get the feeling that it is the second book that is really going to contain a lot of the excitement and adventure you are looking for. That is not to say this book didn't have adventure. It did. But, again, all of the adventure sort of centered around setting up for something more to come.

The one unique thing this book did have to offer is the pictures of the Peculiar Children. They depicted the children engaged in their various talents. They are delightfully strange and really have a very classic feel to them. There are even end credits as to who the pics are of and to who took them, or at least whose collection they came out of.

Bottom line...I would definitely urge you to give this book a go. It is definitely geared for the more Young Adult crowd, but, I have a feeling that the second book is going to really going to take the story to the next level. At least that is what I am hoping for. The set-up at the end of the book leaves it ripe for continuing on an extremely strong note.

Happy Reading!

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Grave Witch by Kalayna Price

Title: Grave Witch (Alex Craft, Book #1)

Author: Kalayna Price

Format: Paperback, 325 pages

Publication Date: October 5, 2010


As a private investigator and consultant for the police, Alex Craft has seen a lot of dark magic. But even though she’s on good terms with Death himself—who happens to look fantastic in a pair of jeans—nothing has prepared her for her latest case. Alex is investigating a high profile murder when she’s attacked by the ‘shade’ she’s raising, which should be impossible. To top off her day, someone makes a serious attempt on her life, but Death saves her. Guess he likes having her around...

To solve this case Alex will have to team up with tough homicide detective Falin Andrews. Falin seems to be hiding something—though it’s certainly not his dislike of Alex—but Alex knows she needs his help to navigate the tangled webs of mortal and paranormal politics, and to track down a killer wielding a magic so malevolent, it may cost Alex her life...and her soul. (via Goodreads)

Opening Paragraph: "The first time I encountered Death, I hurled my mother's medical chart at him. As far as first impressions went, I blew it, but I was five at the time, so he eventually forgave me. Some days I wished he hadn't-particularly when we crossed paths on the job."

What I Thought:

I normally don't give you guys the first paragraph, but honestly after I picked up the book because I liked the cover (yeah, I do that sometimes), but the first paragraphs was actually what got me to purchase the book!

Alex Craft is a grave witch. She can raise the shades of the dead in order for them to talk to the living. Several years ago the Fae revealed themselves to the world and with their revelation came about a magical reawakening among some humans. Alex being one of them. She primarily uses her gift to help in criminal investigations while running her Private Investigation business Tongues of the Dead. The shades she raises have the memory of the person who has died, but not the emotion that goes along with it, so her gift can be invaluable to these criminal investigations. Now, however, she is about to get involved with a high profile investigation that is going to take all her skills to survive.

When we first meet Alex, she is having a rough week. Her dog had to receive medical attention which pretty much left her broke, her latest client refuses to pay her because the shade she raised did not answer any questions the client wanted, then the client is unceremoniously "collected" by Death before she is able to convince him to pay. But, this is just the start of day. Her sister asks her to assist in finding out information about the death of Governor Coleman, who happens to be affiliated with the Humans First party, a group that doesn't believe witches and Fae should be part of society, but as in any good urban fantasy she is about to get more than she has bargained for. She ends up getting physically attacked by a shade she raises, something that should never happen, she gets on the bad side of Detective Falin Andrews, who happens to be running the case her sister asked her to look into, she is shot at, but the bullet misses her and hits her good friend putting him into a coma. And to top it all off she now has a ghost named Roy following her around and who just may be the key she needs to break the case. All in a days work for our girl Alex.

This is the first book by Kalayna Price that I have read and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this story and introduction to this new series. Ms. Price has created a imaginative and vivid world, where for some magic is an everyday thing, but for others it is a thing to be feared and discouraged. I really enjoyed the magic in this book. Now, they don't really delve into a lot of the different types of magic in Alex's universe other than her grave magic, however the thing that intrigued me the most is that her magic has a price. When she raises a shade she tends to go temporarily blind after she releases her grave sight. It is always refreshing to me to see magic have some sort of cost other than finding a character who can just wield it at a drop of a hat without any consequences, which sometimes can make a character too perfect. This is definitely not the case with Alex.

Alex Craft fun and highly relatable as the main character. She definitely is not without her issues. Alex struggles to pay her bills on time, including her rent to her Fae landlord, her family situation isn't exactly peachy keen being that her father is also a member of the Human First party, her sister treats her like she has the plague unless she wants something from her and she continually struggles to feed herself and her dog PC, which happens to stand for Prince Charming, which I loved. But, she does what any strong, independent woman would do and she deals with the problems as they come along. Of course Alex's problems also include getting shot at, kidnapping attempts and many more supernatural happenings that I won't spoil for you, but, you know, we all have our own problems.

I also enjoyed the way Kalayna Price dealt with the potential love triangle. While intriguing and one of the things that is definitely going to have me coming back for more, she doesn't make it the main focus of the story or even a main focus for Alex. Alex has other pressing matters. But, it can't be all bad when you have two mysterious, overly good looking men, whose job descriptions and the information we have yet to find out about them that may cause issues in further books, pining after you.

All in all I thoroughly enjoyed Grave Witch. It was fast-paced, fun and definitely left me wanting more. I just so happen to have the second book in the series, so I am excited to read that and post my thoughts. And better yet, the third installment in the Alex Craft series is due to come out July 3rd. I look forward to the continuing adventures of Alex and her entourage and I encourage you to check this series out as well. Happy reading!

Rating: 4 our of 5

Reviewed for:

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sword and Laser Podcast Now a Web Series!!!!

Awhile back I stumbled upon a podcast/sci-fi/fantasy book club called Sword & Laser hosted by Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt. The podcast is centered around the topic of fantasy (Sword) and sci-fi (Laser) books and news and usually includes new release dates for books in these genre, author interviews, and, of course, discussion of the book of the month, which readers can read along. Sword & Laser also has a wildly popular fan forum over on the Goodreads forums, in which the hosts themselves are quite active. As a huge fantasy and sci-fi book fan I was thrilled because if there is one thing I enjoy just as much as reading books it is finding out about new books and discussing books. The show has given me countless hours of ear candy. The hosts are extremely knowledgeable and they have a great dynamic which makes them very entertaining to listen to.

Well, this Friday the 13th, the show is giving listeners yet another treat. A few weeks ago it was announced that Sword & Laser, in addition to its audio podcast, which is usually uploaded every two weeks, was now going to be a new web series hosted on Felicia Day's new YouTube channel, Geek & Sundry. The show will be available every other Friday for viewing and will feature a different book other than the one on the podcast, so it will be twice the fun if you listen/watch both. Or depending on your favorite medium, you can always do either or. Either way it should be fun. Just as in the audio podcast there will be author interviews, reviews of the latest fantasy and sci-fi books to hit the shelves, upcoming release updates and sci-fi/fantasy news. Now we will actually be able to see Veronica and Tom do what they do about books! I urge you to check out both the podcast and web series if you are either a fantasy or sci-fi buff or both. But who better to tell you about the web series than the hosts themselves.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Review: Witch Way to Murder by Shirley Damsgaard

Title: Witch Way to Murder

Author: Shirley Damsgaard

Format: Paperback, 304 pages

Publication Date: August 30, 2005

What It's About: Thirty something Ophelia Jensen wants to live a quiet life as a small town librarian. She's created a comfortable existence with her kooky, colorful grandmother Abby, and if it were up to her, they could live out their days—along with Ophelia's dog Lady and cat Queenie—in peace and quiet. But, to Ophelia's dismay, she and Abby aren't a typical grandmother/granddaughter duo. She possesses psychic powers, and Abby is a kindly witch. And while Ophelia would do anything to dismiss her gift—harboring terrible guilt after her best friend was killed and she was unable to stop it—threatening events keep popping up, forcing her to tap into her powers of intuition. To make matters worse, a strange—yet devastatingly attractive—man is hanging around Ophelia's library, and no matter how many times she tells him she's sworn off men forever, he persists. Soon this handsome newcomer reveals he's following a lead on a local drug ring, and then a dead body shows up right in Abby's backyard. And much as Ophelia would like to put away her spells forever, she and Abby must use their special powers to keep themselves, and others, out of harm's way. (via Amazon)

What I Thought:

I really wanted to like this book because I have heard so many good things about the series as a whole and, while I fully intend to read the rest of the series, this first book just didn't do much for me. First off, the lead character Ophelia really puzzled me. Ophelia is a librarian who is also a witch, but because of some tragic events in her life she disregards her heritage. In the course of her work she meets a man named Rick who comes into the library looking for some information about the town in the beginning of the book. The problem is that right off the bat he starts asking her personal question after personal question and instead of telling a man she doesn't know to sod off she answers them!!!! Has this woman never heard of stalkers? Now I may be being a bit too harsh, but it just seems really strange that an intelligent woman, especially one whose best friend was murdered some years earlier, would know to be more careful. I just couldn't relate. But, her and Rick have similar interludes several times throughout the book and she always answers his questions, so I suppose the author want her readers to take a leap of faith and believe in good ole' Rick.

One thing I have to point out specifically that bothered me in the story about Ophelia, is in the course of her investigation when she gets sucked into events happening around the small town she lives in and needs to find out some important information, her 70-something year old grandmother, who doesn't know how to use a computer, has to remind her that she can use her computer and the internet to do some important research. Isn't Ophelia supposed to be a librarian? The book was written in 2005, so the internet was definitely in full swing. I would think that a librarian would know right off hand where to find certain types of info.

Then there are her would be romantic inklings towards Rick. It is no joke that their main interactions throughout the book are him asking her intrusive questions and her answering them. Then they stumble upon a dead body and all of the sudden she is falling for him. Obviously the author was trying to make clear that Ophelia and Rick are supposed to have this strong attraction to each other that could lead to something more meaningful in the future. However, I just didn't buy it. There really wasn't anything in the book that would lead me to believe that a woman would fall for this guy based on the situations I read unless you count how attractive he is. If it had been me I probably would have been completely creeped out by the guy and called the cops numerous time on him.

The most interesting character in the story is Abby, Ophelia's witch grandmother, and unfortunately she is barely utilized in the book. She pops up now and then mainly to give Ophelia the ominous warning that bad events are coming to a head and they will involve Ophelia and Rick. You get a small peek at her magical workings, but nothing overly substantial. I am really hoping that in future books she plays an even bigger role.

The book is a really easy read. It was not the most exciting read ever and I am sure you can tell that there were many things that bothered me about the book, not too mention it was a bit predictable as to who the bad guy was, but I think the series could have potential. I look forward to delving into the additional books in the series. I would recommend this book for anyone looking for a light read that they could finish in a day or two and doesn't require a lot of higher brain power.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Reviewed for:

Friday, March 23, 2012

Review: Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire

Title: Discount Armageddon

Author: Seanan McGuire

Format: Paperback, 350 pages

Publication Date: March 6, 2012

What it's about:

Ghoulies. Ghosties. Long-legged beasties. Things that go bump in the night... The Price family has spent generations studying the monsters of the world, working to protect them from humanity-and humanity from them. Enter Verity Price. Despite being trained from birth as a cryptozoologist, she'd rather dance a tango than tangle with a demon, and is spending a year in Manhattan while she pursues her career in professional ballroom dance. Sounds pretty simple, right? It would be, if it weren't for the talking mice, the telepathic mathematicians, the asbestos supermodels, and the trained monster-hunter sent by the Price family's old enemies, the Covenant of St. George. When a Price girl meets a Covenant boy, high stakes, high heels, and a lot of collateral damage are almost guaranteed. To complicate matters further, local cryptids are disappearing, strange lizard-men are appearing in the sewers, and someone's spreading rumors about a dragon sleeping underneath the city... (via Goodreads)

Favorite quote: "The things I do to keep potentially extinct monsters from eating the human race, I swear."

My Thoughts:

Seanan McGuire will make you question if the things that go bump in the night could be your next door neighbors, your co-workers, or even friends in her latest book Discount Armageddon, part of her new Incryptid series.

Discount Armageddon focuses on Verity Price, a typical 20-something year old, who just happens to be a cryptozoologist, a ballroom dancer, and has a familial obligation as a member of the Price family to study the monsters who may just happen to be serving you lunch all while, as stated in the description above, working to protect them from humanity and humanity from them.

Not only did I immediately fall in love with this book, but I fell in love with the main character Verity Price. She is Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the next generation minus all the teen angst. Blonde girl bad-ass, who loves to dance, loves boys, loves shoes, she just happens to know how to get blood out of her clothing better than most. What is not to love? Not to say Verity doesn't have angst, after all she has to constantly try to protect her identity as a Price, so the society called the Covenant of St. George, which the Prices used to be members of but left because they discovered that not every cryptid in the world was senseless killer that needed to be exterminated, as the Covenant preached, so basically killing harmless creatures would make them just as bad as the cryptids who do kill, don't find her and exterminate her as well. She does all this while working at a strip club as a cocktail waitress and leading a double life as a ballroom dancer who has found moderate success after staring on a reality show called, Dance or Die. Sometimes a girl has to do what a girl has to do to live out her dream.

But, beyond the bad-ass main character, McGuire has created a rich, fantastically detailed world. I am envious of what goes on in this woman's head! One thing that I know some readers have claimed to struggle with in her books is the fact that the she uses a lot of exposition, however, I felt that all of the back story was relevent and actually served a good purpose, not to mention it seemed to flow seemlessly between what was happening situationally in the book and giving us enough detail to get a really good idea of what the world Verity lives in as a whole.....past and present. I personally enjoyed the descriptions of different types of cryptids and their purposes.

There is a bit of romance in the book, which I also thoroughly enjoyed. Dominic De Luca is the hot boy Verity has a run in with on night while she is patrolling the rooftops, and who just happens to be a member of the Covenant. All sorts of complications ensue. But, what I liked most about the romance is that it wasn't constantly in your face. You knew that Verity was the main focus of the story. And Verity didn't become a blithering idiot every time Dominic looked in her direction. In fact, she spends a good amount of time wondering if she should join him, kick his ass or kill him. Dominic never treats her as lesser either. From the beginning he respects her abilities even if he doesn't respect her philosophies or her reasoning.

Throughout the story we are introduced to several members of Verity's family, although we only really get to know her cousin by adoption, Sarah, who is a cryptid of the cuckoo variety and who just happens to possess telepathic abilities. We learn they all have some special talents and have been researching cryptids for generations. We also learn that Verity's grandmother spends most of her time spelunking in the Underworld trying to find her grandfather. With just the few glimpses we get of the family members McGuire introduces us to I can't wait for future books and stories to get more involved in the Price family.

Overall, this is a fun, fast-paced read. I have read all of Seanan McGuire's books, including the ones she writes under her pseudonym Mira Grant and I have to say that this is by far one of my favorites. I definitely urge you to give this series a go and to check out McGuire's website that has links to not only more adventures of the Price clan, but information about her other series, as well as links to her music and her LiveJournal account, to which she is a very active blogger, and other goodies. I tell you I have no idea how this woman gets any sleep!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

2012 Reading Challenges-Witches and Witchcraft Reading Challenge

I made a bet with my boyfriend in regards to reading this year. Last year my goal was to read 50 books. I made it to 57. This year I decided not only to double my original goal, but go a little bit further. My goal is 104 books this year. Don't ask where the 104 came from...I have no idea! I thought to make my challenge a bit easier I would check out some of the book challenges floating around cyberspace.

The 2012 Witches and Witchcraft Reading Challenge hosted by Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf is the first challenged I have signed up for.

Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf

I am going for Crone level and am going to read 16 - 20 Witchy Books.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Review: A Perfect Blood by Kim Harrison

Title: A Perfect Blood

Author: Kim Harrison

Format: Hardcover, 438 pages

Publication Date: February 21, 2012

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Synopsis: Ritually murdered corpses are appearing across Cincinnati, terrifying amalgams of human and other. Pulled in to help investigate by the FIB, former witch turned day-walking demon Rachel Morgan soon realizes a horrifying truth--a would-be creator is determined to make his (or her) own demons. But it can't be done without Rachel's blood, in this latest blockbuster by a "New York Times"-bestselling author. (from Goodreads)

My Thoughts: I have been a fan of The Hollow series since the very beginning. This is the 10th book and while I can't honestly say I have loved all the books I found this particular book to be highly enjoyable. After 10 books a lot of series have a hard time keeping it fresh and there were a couple books in the middle of this particular series that I wasn't too keen on. Mostly because I was finding the books starting to be a bit repetitive and I felt it had lost some of the adventurous feel of the earlier books that I loved so much. But, much like her main character Rachel Morgan, Kim Harrison has really started to come full circle with these novels.

I felt as though this book was really about Rachel "growing up", so to speak, and accepting who she is. She is finally realizing she can't change what has happened to her, and in starting to accept her reality, I felt the character finally start to move forward, even while struggling with the perceived idea of her friends moving on without her. And, of course, being Rachel, she still does some really stupid stuff, which can be frustrating and make you want to smack her upside the head. But, in the end I was really happy with her continued character development and I have high hopes for Rachel.

(THIS PARAGRAPH CONTAINS A MINOR SPOILER!) I thoroughly enjoyed the further possibility of a love interest in Trent that has been spanning a few books now. I like that Harrison is giving it to us in small doses because it is nice to have that tension and it is something to look forward to. And come on! Who doesn't love a sexy, powerful, dangerous elf? But, beyond that, this is another element that is really coming full circle. Rachel is finally starting to trust Trent (although who can really blame her for not trusting him in the first place for all he has put her through) and not only are they starting to look like they may actually be able to carry on a romance, but they are also looking as if they could work as a work-related team.

I highly recommend this to any fan of The Hollows series. I would definitely recommend the Hollows series as a whole to anyone who hasn't read any of Harrison's books, but I would not start with this book if you are new to the series. There is just too much info and back story in the other books that you need to know for everything to make sense that definitely does not make this a stand alone novel. All in all this is a great book. It has good action. It has our sassy heroine once again getting herself into all kinds of trouble. It has some truly nasty villains. And, of course, it has the familiar cast of characters Rachel calls her friends and teammates, who I for one, know and love.

What I did find interesting though is Harrison has recently started that there are only going to probably be one or two more books in the series, however she introduces some elements in the story, which I will refrain from talking too much about since I don't want to give anything away, that seem like they are going to be an integral part in the future and I just am not sure how she is going to be able to wrap it all up in only a couple more books! I guess we will just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Future Author To Look For: C.K. Garner

You have not yet heard of C.K. Garner. She is a new author. In the midst of writing her first novel, she decided to start work on a short story and achieved a very rare feat that most new writers can only aspire to....she had her very first submission for publication accepted. Her short story, Stealing Time, will be published in the next few months by Musa Publishing's Urania Division, which is their speculative Science Fiction & Fantasy imprint. I thought it would be fun to pick her brain and see what makes her tick because something tells me we will be hearing a lot from her in the future.

Tell us a bit about your short story, Stealing Time?

Acastu Atenai is a youth living the 1863 of San Atenai Bay, a fictional town the next cove up from San Francisco Bay. His ancestors, the Pieraomati, an ancient caste of pirates and thieves founded the town, becoming its first settlers, and finally its defenders. But Acastu's missing father was the last of those defenders, and now, Acastu is the last heir of the Pieraomati. In the mid-nineteenth century, technology is in its infancy. Steam power is king, Nikola Tesla is testing his Tesla Coil science, lines for cable cars are still being built, and land technology is superseded by experiments with air travel by dirigibles. San Atenai is home to the latest secret experiment; time travel. Acastu takes his little sister, who has a penchant for blood and boxing, to watch a friend box in a match on the wharves. The town is attacked Acastu, normally defended by his friends, must fight to save himself and his sister from impressment. Their efforts to escape land them in a Time Traveler Pod.

What motivated you to write this particular story?

When I was a young girl, I was fascinated with adventure tales. My nose was always in a book, and I read everything from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, to Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Louis Carrol's Adventures of Alice in Wonderland, anything by Madeline L'Engle, horror tales by Edgar Allen Poe, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Vern, H.G. Wells The Time Machine, Alexander Dumas' The Three Musketeers, The Legends of King Arthur, and so many others. But I was equally obsessed with real life adventurers such as Robert E. Peary's North Pole expedition, the tragedy of the Hindenburg, and the Wright brothers' invention of the airplane, which of course, led to Amelia Earhart as an early heroine, and a collection of material on western outlaw legends such as Jesse James robbing steam locomotives, and even legends from as far away as Australia's famous Ned Kelly, among others. My interest in writing a Steampunk novel is an inner push of all of these ideas and time-frames mixing up in my head. It all had to come out sometime, in some fashion. Pouring it all into a new adventure tale seemed like a good idea.

How long have you considered yourself a writer?

I've been writing since I was little. It's funny, I can't write a poem to save my life, but as early as first grade I was stepping outside the lines of the prescribed lessons; to wit: I was supposed to write a nice Easter story, and instead I wrote a short tale about a giant man-eating rabbit who lived in a cave and came out annually to dine on little children. Ha ha, that one got a letter home to my mother. Stealing Time is my first published story.

What motivated/inspired you to become a writer in the first place?

My friends have been telling me I should be a writer for as long as I can remember. They say I have tales in my head that should visit a page, and one even went as far as to say that if I shut my mouth it flows out from my brain to my hands. Nah, it's not an insult. It came from a person who is a dear friend, and she was making an observation of sorts; moreover it's true. Instead of saying what do you think about this idea I've had floating around in my head, I now write it out. One of my best friends told me to sit down and write a sentence to her. Just one sentence, and if it turned into more, that was okay, so, I tried it. End result? After a week of sentences and paragraphs, my writer's block broke (in the shower, of course) and I wound up sprinting for pen and paper in a towel, and still wet with water, filled ten sheets of paper, both sides, with the beginnings of a fantasy novel...and yes, it's still in the works. Writing for a living-- well that's the goal now. Lofty thing, that last.

Can you talk a little bit about your writing process? Is there any particular thing you do that helps you focus? Any particular rituals? Do you do any sort of research, etc.?

Hmm, well as far as how I do it, I have to say I'm a seat of my pantser. That is, rather than have an outline, I plop myself in front of the computer, pull up screen and blank document, or continuation of a WIP (work in progress) and stay there until I write something. I've been known to write, effity, effing eff! when nothing else comes to mind. Point is, I stay there until I've got something. I play 'what if' in my head, or actually write a what if onto the page, even if it doesn't pertain to my story, it will eventually lead to something juicy, and I can use what I've written that doesn't relate to the WIP in another project later on. I did, however, have to stop on a longer project, that fantasy novel I mentioned earlier, yeah, that one, because I am juggling so many characters, events, religions, and subplots, it got away from me. As a writer, you are in control, and if the plane feels like it's going to crash land, well, bring her in ahead of time. Set it down for a while until you can sort out what isn't jiving. You can even work on something else for a while, which is how I began Stealing Time. The thing is to always be writing something.

What are your major literary influences?

As far as literary and other influences, well, as I mentioned earlier, adventure novels were always around, but I also delved into my father's collection of paperback science fiction novels, names such as Poul Anderson, Isaac Asimov, Marion Zimmer Bradley, JRR Tolkien were pilfered daily from his bookshelves. Later teen years and my adult choices lean toward darker climes. I adore Kim Harrison's Hollows series, anything by Seanan McGuire, Laurel K Hamilton's earlier books, Stephen King, Cherie Priest, speculation about Jack the Ripper, and don't get me started on movies! Hammer Horrors top my list of fun things to watch on a lazy rainy day. And did I mention Harry Potter? How about the entire series of Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars, and Logan's Run. See, I told you not to get me started on movies.

What do you find toughest about the writing process? How do you handle criticism?

Well, I think the hardest part of writing is when you get stuck. That's when Stephen King's "what if" game comes into play. The second hardest for me is the mountain of editing required, and that's where handling criticism well comes into play. Yet another quote from Stephen King, who may have got it from someone else, "Kill your Darlings." That means that however precious a sentence, paragraph, or scene is to you, it might not be so great to your Beta readers, friends, or editors. These early editing folk represent actual readers, i.e. your future audience, so listen to what they have to say, and "kill those darlings," even if it hurts you to see them go. Your story will be tighter for chopping out the unnecessary things, and your editor will thank you for being so cooperative a word slayer.

What advice would you give to other new, aspiring writers out there? Gosh, the best advice I can give to a new writer would be to just do it. No matter what anyone says, you know what you want and who you are. If you are driven to write, whatever it is, let nothing stop you. You can make time for people, but you must designate a time to write. It is a one person prospect getting the ideas from your head to the hand and onto the page. Give yourself the space in which to be alone and do it. Everyone else will still be there ten minutes, thirty minutes, an hour later. Sit your butt down in the chair and don't move until you've got something on that page, even if it's just, "Eff me, I cannot write a sentence!" At least you will have written something. There is also the what if game, ala Stephen King: Just take any situation; say you are looking out the window and you see a lady walking her dog; give the dog wings, have the dog get loose and run after a cat, have an old man meet her at a park bench...they are both cheating on their spouses, you know...everybody says so. See, that's how “what if” mode works. Try it, you'll be spinning tales in no time now, if you want to become a published author, here's a great piece of advice given to me by Batton Lash, the writer of the Comic Book series Supernatural Law, Batton:"Do you know the difference between a Writer an an Author, CK?" CK: "Please!" Batton:"The Author never quits."

Where can readers find you if they want to learn more about your and your writings?

My story is still in the midst of the publishing process, in the works right now at Musa Publishing's Urania Sci-Fi & Spec-Fi imprint. You can read my Author's Blog: and find me on Facebook under CKGarner.

I will update you on C.K.'s progress once her story gets published. In the meantime...happy reading!!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Kim Harrison's New Book & Book Tour

Author Kim Harrison celebrated the release of her new book, A Perfect Blood, by kicking off a 16-city book tour. A Perfect Blood is the 10th book in Harrison's popular Hollows Series, which follows the life of detective and earth witch Rachel Morgan as she tries to navigate her job and her relationships with a cast of characters including vampires, pixies, elves, werewolves, demons and many more all while trying to maintain her sanity and keep on living. Rumor has it that there is a potential Hollows TV show in development. Fingers crossed that this actually happens!

I have been a fan of Kim Harrison's books ever since I read the first book in the series Dead Witch Walking. I am definitely looking forward to reading this 10th installment, but since I am in the middle of about 3 books right, now the review will probably be posted later next week. But, I wanted to make sure people knew about the book tour whether you are a Kim Harrison fan from way back or just getting into her. I am excited that she is actually going to be in a city near me this time. There will be pictures!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Hi and welcome to my book blog!

I always tease people that I believe I was born with a book in my hand. From the minute I started I could not stop. I love talking to people about books almost as much as I love reading books. I have started this blog as a place to post my thoughts on certain books, talk about author events I attend, and to highlight authors I enjoy and maybe some new authors on the rise and much, much more. So I look forward to people commenting and posting their opinions. I also love book suggestions, so please feel free to post those as well.

I hope you have as much fun reading my blog as I am sure I will have writing it! So grab your glass of wine, cup or tea, or whatever you fancy and happy reading!!!!