Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Review: The Night is Alive by Heather Graham

Abigail Andersen's grandfather told her that her pirate ancestor Blue would appear in times of need to watch over the family. When she sees Blue in the tunnel with Gus beneath the family restaurant, the Dragonslayer, she knows something is terribly wrong and that it is more than just an old man's heart giving out. Coupled with the newspaper articles about the women found murdered recent FBI graduate Abby feels she has enough information to contact the Krewe and ask for assistance.

The Krewe send Malachi Gordon as an FBI consultant to check out what's going on with Abby in Savannah. Malachi has something in common with Abby. He too can see Blue. Abby and Malachi must learn to trust each other before they become victims.

The Night is Alive by Heather Graham is Book #10 in the Krewe of Hunters series and is due out July 30th from Harlequin Books.

The book moves along at a fairly fast pace. I hadn't read any of the Krewe books before, and I think this one can stand alone pretty well. The action focuses on Abby and Malachi with the rest of the Krewe only as a supporting cast.

I love the setting of Savannah and the combination of real history of the city, the pirates, and the tunnels with the fictional setting of the Dragonslayer. I enjoyed the paranormal aspect as well.

If you like your mysteries with a touch of romance and a bit of the ghostly, then you will enjoy this book.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - Naked Once More by Elizabeth Peters

 "Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week my choice is Naked Once More by Elizabeth Peters due out August 6, 2013 by Grand Central Publishing. This is actually a re-release, but I missed it the first time out which was 1989. It won an Agatha award for best novel that same year.

Jacqueline Kirby, Jake, is a librarian turned novelist. She is contemplating getting out of the writing business when her agent approaches her with the option to write the sequel to the blockbuster novel Naked in the  Ice. Naked in the Ice was written by Kathleen Darcy who was missing and declared dead after 7 years. The novel had skyrocketed her to instant fame. Jake thought only a fool would turn down this opportunity. 

From Goodreads: "It’s an opportunity no novelist in her right mind would pass up, and there’s no doubting Jacqueline’s sanity…until she starts digging through the missing woman’s papers—and her past. Until she gets mixed up with Kathleen’s enigmatic lover. Until a series of nasty accidents convince her much too late that someone wants to bring Jacqueline’s story—and her life—to a premature end."

Lest the thought that Jaqueline is a librarian turn you off, the official web site for Elizabeth Peters assures you that Jake is not your stereotypical librarian. Rather, she is described as "an intelligent, glamorous, and flamboyant woman of mystery whose passion for reference work and natural talent combine to make her an excellent detective. No matter what the situation, she always gets her man."

I find the premise intriguing. I used to work in the public library system. I think that I will enjoy it. I think that if you like Elizabeth Peters writing, you would probably enjoy it. I love the cover too.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

Top ten Tuesday is hosted by The broke and the bookish.

top ten words/topics that make me not pick up a book

  1. Any book that suggests there might be animal cruelty in it. 
  2. Any book with unnecessary cruelty to people of any age. Sometimes an author will just throw cruelty in there to get a knee jerk reaction, to jump start your emotional response to the action. To me, that's like saying your writing isn't strong enough to do that alone, so you felt you needed that extra boost. And if your writing isn't strong enough to do that alone, maybe it's not worth reading.
  3. Preachy books. Frankly, most of the time, even when I read nonfiction, I am reading for entertainment. I prefer not to be preached at while I read. Save it for Sunday please.
  4. Zombies. They seem to be the thing in pockets of literature, but I just can't seem to get into them. Plus, I have to admit, I am a little creeped out by them. 
  5. Romances about new mothers. I am way past that stage in life and no longer find reading about it any fun. Especially if they include the words "Baby Daddy" in the title.
  6. 50 shades of gray and sequels and copycats. I just can't get into that.
  7. Sports books. Not a sports fan, though I can understand other people being drawn to it.
  8. Miracle. I will admit that miracles happen, but especially in fiction books, I feel like miracles are just too easy an answer.
  9. How-to books. Most of the time I am just not interested in how-to books until I need one to do something.
  10. Animal stories. Generally speaking something problematic always happens to the animal and I don't like reading about that. I just don't enjoy animal stories. 
It was harder to come up with Ten things than I thought it would be. It would have been way easier to write a list of things I am willing to read. What kinds of things don't you like to read?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Frozen (Heart of Dread #1) by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Frozen is Book One in a series called Heart of Dread, and is expected out by September 17, 2013 through Penguin Publishing.  I was able to read a short excerpt from the book, and I can say I look forward to being able to reading the whole book when it comes out. It seems to be a  little bit of a mash up of fantasy and dystopian type stories. There is magic that isn't trusted by the majority of people. And  much of the world is frozen as a result of something that the humans have done. There is some romance as well.

From Goodreads: 
"From New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston comes this remarkable first book in a spellbinding new series about the dawn of a new kind of magic.

Welcome to New Vegas, a city once covered in bling, now blanketed in ice. Like much of the destroyed planet, the place knows only one temperature—freezing. But some things never change. The diamond in the ice desert is still a 24-hour hedonistic playground and nothing keeps the crowds away from the casino floors, never mind the rumors about sinister sorcery in its shadows.

At the heart of this city is Natasha Kestal, a young blackjack dealer looking for a way out. Like many, she's heard of a mythical land simply called “the Blue.” They say it’s a paradise, where the sun still shines and the waters are turquoise. More importantly, it’s a place where Nat won’t be persecuted, even if her darkest secret comes to light.

But passage to the Blue is treacherous, if not impossible, and her only shot is to bet on a ragtag crew of mercenaries led by a cocky runner named Ryan Wesson to take her there. Danger and deceit await on every corner, even as Nat and Wes find themselves inexorably drawn to each other. But can true love survive the lies? Fiery hearts collide in this fantastic tale of the evil men do and the awesome power within us all."

Monday, July 15, 2013

Review: Cobweb Bride by Vera Nazarian

This is book one in a planned trilogy. In the Cobweb Bride by Vera Nazarian published by Norilana Books, Death takes a holiday. Death announces he will take no more living things until he has his Cobweb Bride and asks the kingdom to send their young women to him in an effort to find her. Basically, he says he will know her when he sees her.

Families select girls to go on this perilous journey. Persephone, known as Percy, volunteers to go from her family after her grandmother is stuck at the moment of death. Percy can see her grandmother's death shadow lurking nearby, but can do nothing about it. Percy joins up with other girls on the road for safety in numbers and maybe finds a little magic.

Not everyone wants the girls to succeed on their quest. And not everyone on the quest is still alive.

The prose is beautiful. The book is slow in the beginning, but picks up. The characters are flawed and interesting. I particularly enjoyed watching Percy change and grow on the journey. The setting is an imaginary pocket of Europe in a medieval time period. I think the book would appeal to people who enjoy fantasy set in the medieval time period with a strong female protagonist.

I give this book 4 stars out of 5.

I received this book in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives ed. by Sarah Weinman

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My choice for this week is Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives: Stories from the Trailblazers of Domestic Suspense ed. by Sarah Weinman due out August 27, 2013 from Penguin Books.

This is an anthology of 14 women writers from 1940s through the mid 1970s. Among those selected are Charlotte Armstrong, Patricia Highsmith, and Shirley Jackson. The website domesticsuspense.com  has more on the authors and why they were selected for inclusion.

From Goodreads.com:" One of today’s preeminent authorities on crime fiction, Weinman asks: Where would bestselling authors like Gillian Flynn, Sue Grafton, or Tana French be without the women writers who came before them?

In Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives, Weinman brings together fourteen hair-raising tales by women who—from the 1940s through the mid-1970s—took a scalpel to contemporary society and sliced away to reveal its dark essence. Lovers of crime fiction from any era will welcome this deliciously dark tribute to a largely forgotten generation of women writers."

I hadn't thought of Domestic Suspense as a genre until I came across this book. Sarah Weinman suggests that as a genre it exists (from domesticsuspense.com):
"To my mind, it’s a genre of books published between World War II and the height of the Cold War, written by women primarily about the concerns and fears of women of the day. These novels and stories operate on the ground level, peer into marriages whose hairline fractures will crack wide open, turn ordinary household chores into potential for terror, and transform fears about motherhood into horrifying reality. They deal with class and race, sexism and economic disparity, but they have little need to show off that breadth.
Instead, they turn our most deep-seated worries into narrative gold, delving into the dark side of human behavior that threatens to come out with the dinner dishes, the laundry, or taking care of a child. They are about ordinary, everyday life, and that’s what makes these novels of domestic suspense so frightening. The nerves they hit are really fault lines."
It sounds fascinating to me from a historical perspective and from an entertainment perspective. I suspect it will also appeal to fans of noir fiction.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Eternally Bad by Trina Robbins

Throwback Thursday is about reviewing a book that's been out for a while. In this case the book has been out for quite a while. The hardcover edition that I have was released in 2001.

Eternally Bad: Goddesses with Attitude by Trina Robbins is about an assortment of goddesses with a few strong women thrown in. The book is divided up into topics:

  1. The Evil Twin 
  2. Tramps and Thieves
  3. Bad Girls of the Bible
  4. Sorceresses: Don't Drink That!
  5. G.I. Janes
  6. Goddesses Who Love Too Much
  7. They Got Away With Murder!
Each goddess or woman has a brief biography or short story entry. My favorite was under the Tramps and Thieves heading, the story of Uzume and Amaterasu. "Uzume, the Japanese goddess of merriment, was the first exotic dancer. She invented the striptease to lure Amaterasu, the sun goddess, out of her cave." I particularly liked that Uzume is described as short and round and that she still does this uninhibited act.

Some of the other goddesses and women in the book are: Isis, Lilith, Jezebel, Kali, Freya, Pele, The Morrigan, Circe, and Artemis.

The book is written in a light, humorous manner. It is more of an introduction than anything definitive. As such, it is enjoyable. I give it 4 stars.