Friday, May 30, 2014

Quickie Review: Let the Dead Sleep by Heather Graham

An ancient Roman bust causes Danni Cafferty to confront her paranormal legacy from her father. Michael Quinn both attracts and maddens her, but she loves his dog Wolf. Billie, a former co-worker of her father and current co-worker of hers vouches for Quinn, but Jane the bookkeeper is skeptical. Danni decides Quinn might not be that bad after all. They begin to work together, closely. The bust falls in and out of several crooks hands sewing dissension and leaving a trail of bodies until it reaches the boss. Madness ensues. There is a partnership with the police and support from the unlikely resources of both a voodoo woman and a Catholic priest.

This is the first book in the Cafferty and Quinn series by Heather Graham. It was published March 26, 2013 by Harlequin MIRA. I read the Kindle edition.

The plot moves along quickly and is suspenseful. The romantic subplot is only suspenseful to a point. Saying more than that would be a spoiler. It takes place in New Orleans. The history of the city and the surrounding area that is mentioned is interesting. The characters are interesting as well. Each one has his or her own quirks. It makes them seem all the more real. All in all it is a good book. I would particularly recommend it for people who enjoy paranormal mystery and romantic suspense. I gave this book 4 stars for originality and keeping my attention. Now onto book two!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

2014 Armchair BEA - Beyond the Borders

Beyond the Borders 
It’s time to step outside your comfort zone, outside your borders, or outside of your own country or culture. Tell us about the books that transported you to a different world, taught you about a different culture, and/or helped you step into the shoes of someone different from you. What impacted you the most about this book? What books would you recommend to others who are ready or not ready to step over the line? In essence, let’s start the conversation about diversity and keep it going! 

One book that provided an interesting insight into what it's like to be an American working abroad was That Bear Ate My Pants! by Tony James Slater. Tony worked as a volunteer at the Santa Martha Animal Rescue Centre in Ecuador, South America. It does talk about the culture of where he is living and what happens when he falls in love with a local woman as well as what his interactions are like on a day to day basis. It's interesting and humorous. I remember thinking he was either terribly brave or terribly foolish to take on a job like that so far from his home in the UK.

Another book that provided a good armchair adventure is Dancing with the Witchdoctor - One Woman's Adventures in Africa by Kelly James. Kelly is an international private investigator. The book tells about 4 of her cases that she investigated in Africa. The title comes from the last case detailed in the book. You not only get a taste of what it's like to be in her shoes, but you get a picture of what the cultures are like that she is dealing with.

I've only read a few of the entries in this book, A Woman's World - True Stories of Life on the Road edited by Marybeth Bond, but they are fascinating. My favorite so far is "A Typical Japanese Woman" by Cathy N. Davidson. It talks about going to a traditional Japanese bath and meeting some old women there and what it was like. The old women made me smile.

A book doesn't have to be about a different country to transport you to another culture. There are other cultures within the United States. Small town Alaska for instance is different from big city California. Never Look a Polar Bear in the Eye: a Family Field Trip to the Arctic's Edge in Search of Adventure, Truth, and Mini-marshmallows by Zac Unger is an example of that sort of shift as well as being about Polar Bears.

No matter what kind of travel adventure you read, I hope you enjoy it. What's your favorite place to visit via books?

2014 Armchair BEA - Novellas/Short Stories

Novellas/Short Stories 
Now it is time to give a little love to those little stories in your life. Share your love for your favorite shorts of any form. What is a short story or novella that doesn’t get the attention that it deserves? Recommend to readers what shorts you would recommend they start with. How about listing some short story anthologies based upon genres or authors? 

It really depends on what you like just as when you choose a novel. When looking at my short story collections and novellas I found that they mostly fell into one of 3 categories: fairy tale related, scifi/fantasy, or horror. There were exceptions of course, but these were the main categories. 

Of my anthologies, I found that I tended to go for some of the same editors over and over again. They seemed to pick some of the best stories and authors. The editors I picked most were Martin Greenberg, Ellen Datlow, Terri Windling, and Paula Guran. 

Many people who read my blog have expressed interest in retellings. So, I am going to list some anthologies of retellings here first: Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling did a whole series of books starting with Snow White, Blood Red where some of the tales are just like retellings and others are on the horror side of things. They also have another series that  includes books like Coyote Road which is trickster tales and The Beastly Bride which includes tales about shapechangers. Paula Guran has a book called Once Upon a Time which again is retellings of various tales. 

As for horror, Datlow and Windling edited the Year's Best Fantasy and Horror for several years. Much of the fantasy included was dark fantasy. Currently Paula Guran edits the Year's Best Dark Fantasy and Horror. 

As for novellas, the only genre I have any listed in is horror. There is The Painted Darkness by Brian James Freeman. And there is Turtle Boy by Kealan Patrick Burke.

If these interest you, I wish you Happy Reading!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

2014 Armchair BEA - Author Interaction

Author Interaction 
Let’s talk interacting with authors IRL (in real life) or online. This is your opportunity to talk about your favorite author readings that you have attended. Or, you can feature your favorite author fan moment (i.e., an author sent you a tweet or commented on your blog). Maybe you even want to share how your interactions have changed since becoming a blogger or share your own tips that you have learned along the way when interacting with authors as a blogger. 

I've been lucky over the years living close to Atlanta to have met a few authors in person that I've really enjoyed. Anne Rice, Douglas Adams, Terry Brooks to name a few. That was when Oxford Bookstore was still in business and used to get some of the top authors in to sign books and sometimes read as well. Oxford is a thing of the past now and I find I attend fewer readings/signings. That may change now though that I have become more dedicated to my blog, but it still needs to be someone I am interested in meeting.

DragonCon and other cons are also a great way to meet authors, but the cost can be prohibitive. One time though, when I was working for Media Play, I won VIP tickets to DragonCon in a contest for employees. The author the company was sponsoring was Brian Froud. So I got to meet him and hang out with him for a little while. He signed my book and drew a little fairy in it for me. That was one of the coolest interactions I've had offline.

Has becoming a blogger changed anything about these sorts of interactions? Being a blogger makes me think a little more before I go to one of these events about what kind of questions I might like to ask. 

What I've found has changed my interactions with authors more is twitter. I interact more frequently with authors on twitter and more confidently sometimes than I would in person. I've found they really want to know what people think about their books and like to read your reviews if they have the time. Some authors will even retweet links to your reviews. I find this sort of interacting fun.

Looking forward to reading about other bloggers interactions with authors!

Monday, May 26, 2014

2014 Armchair BEA Introduction

Design by Amber of Shelf Notes
Today is the first day of Armchair BEA - Armchair Book Expo America. Since I can't go to the Expo in NY, I thought this year I would participate in the Armchair edition. If you'd like more information on it, check out the link above. 

Today is an introduction.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging? Where in the world are you blogging from? 
 My name is Laura. I am a mother, grandmother, wife, poet, and writer. I've been a teacher, a bookseller, and worked different positions in the public library system. I started blogging sporadically in 2010, and more faithfully in 2013. I got into blogging because I love talking about books and this is one way to share my love of books with other people who have a similar interest. I blog from the Atlanta, Georgia area. And my maiden name was Laframboise which is french for Raspberry which is why I named my blog, "Through Raspberry Colored Glasses."

What does your favorite/ideal reading space look like?
It has a comfortable chair and someplace for me to put my feet up. Add a good side table with enough room to hold a book or 2 and a drink. And plenty of light is a must. 

Any one of these would do!

Share your favorite book or reading related quote.
"I cannot live without books." ~ Thomas Jefferson

What genre do you read the most?
I tend to read retellings and books that have some connection to folktales and fairytales the most. After that, I read a lot of  paranormal, mysteries and thrillers, and horror. Sprinkled here and there are bits of non-fiction, romance and scifi. I prefer my books to have some humor no matter what genre they are if it's at all possible/appropriate. 

What book would you love to see as a movie?
Pirate Vishnu (a Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery) by Gigi Pandian would make a good movie. I could see the flashbacks to the past and the action and adventure from both the present and past providing good fodder for the film.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Review: Doctor Who: Keeping Up with the Joneses by Nick Harkaway

Doctor Who: Keeping Up with the Joneses by Nick Harkaway is a Time Trips series short story starring the Tenth Doctor. I read the Kindle edition which was published by BBC Digital February 6, 2014.

The TARDIS hits a temporal mine and it seems it has a bit of Wales stuck in its teeth or a storeroom or two. Somehow The Doctor finds himself in the library of a bed and breakfast belonging to a different Christine de Souza in Jonestown in this bit of Wales. And somehow there is a monster (Puh Puh Pom) after them as well. Structural integrity of the TARDIS is threatened too.

I only really had one negative comment here. At one point the Doctor dismisses explaining things as Timey Wimey and then later proceeds to get technical about how things work. Kinda felt like one or the other, but not both. And honestly some of the technical bits gave me a little headache, but that's just me.

On the plus side, it is a  Doctor heavy story. It must have him in it to work. And it works well. Christine de Souza functions both as a part of the story and as a little bit of a companion. The story moves along quickly once things start happening. I had no problem suspending disbelief. It was an interesting story. Good suspense and good characterization. Ten is written true to form.

I liked it, but I didn't love it. Found it confusing in spots. So, I give it 3 stars out of 5. I would recommend it to others who enjoy Doctor Who, especially the Tenth Doctor, and who don't mind a little technical TARDIS jargon.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #40 - The String Diaries by Stephen Lloyd Jones

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine where we spotlight upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating. 

Now for something a little different... This week I am looking forward to The String Diaries by Stephen Lloyd Jones to be released July 1, 2014 by Mulholland Books. From the description it seems like it's a thriller, but could also be considered horror because it has paranormal aspects. The mother of the family has a stack of diaries with strings tied around them that have information in them to help her against a paranormal monster of sorts. This is handed down mother to daughter in each generation. From what other reviewers have said, the story covers about 3 different time periods going back and forth between them. It sounds like it has the potential to be terribly confusing, but most of the reviews say that he pulls it off pretty well, especially considering this is his first novel. 

Here is what the publisher has to say about it: 

The String Diaries opens with Hannah frantically driving through the night—her daughter asleep in the back, her husband bleeding out in the seat beside her. In the trunk of the car rests a cache of diaries dating back 200 years, tied and retied with strings through generations. The diaries carry the rules for survival that have been handed down from mother to daughter since the 19th century. But how can Hannah escape a shapeshifter with the ability to look and sound like the people she loves?
Stephen Lloyd Jones’s debut novel is a sweeping thriller that extends from the present day, to Oxford in the 1970s, to Hungary at the turn of the 19th century, all tracing back to a man from an ancient royal family with a consuming passion—a boy who can change his shape, insert himself into the intimate lives of his victims, and destroy them.
If Hannah fails to end the chase now, her daughter is next in line. Only Hannah can decide how much she is willing to sacrifice to finally put a centuries-old curse to rest.
So, I think it sounds pretty interesting. Reviewers say it is a fast moving book that's hard to put down. I'd like to judge that for myself. 
What book are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Quickie Review: The Sound by Sarah Alderson

The Sound by Sarah Alderson was released May 13, 2014 by Simon Pulse. It's a YA romantic suspense title.

Ren, a seventeen year old British citizen, takes a job on Nantucket as a nanny for the summer and gets way more than she bargained for. In her free time she ends up associating with snarky, preppy kids and a moody, intense yet sweet, bad boy. Meanwhile, someone is sexually assaulting young teens on the island and someone else is killing foreign nannies.

The book moves along quickly. The two strongest characters are Jesse, the bad boy, and Ren, the nanny. The others aren't as heavily characterized. There is a love triangle of sorts through most of the book. I got so caught up in the story that I read it all in one day. I gave the book 4 stars.

A more in depth plot synopsis can be found at

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Review: Doctor Who: The Bog Warrior by Cecelia Ahern

Doctor Who: The Bog Warrior by Cecelia Ahern is part of the Time Trips series - short stories that are bigger on the inside. I read the Kindle edition which was published May 8, 2014 from BBC Digital. Each story in the series is written by a different author and which incarnation of the Doctor varies from story to story.

In The Bog Warrior, Ten has arrived on planet Cashel hoping for a little peace and quiet to recharge his batteries, so to speak. And almost at once things begin to happen to prevent him from doing so, just as we knew they would. What follows is a short story loosely based on the Cinderella tale, but with some differences of course. For example, most of the live humans are named for elements or minerals, the exceptions being the first 2 people the Doctor  meets. And instead of an evil stepmother there is an evil queen with an army of bog warriors.  

A synopsis from the publisher:
Arriving on the planet Cashel, the Tenth Doctor witnesses a strange masked ball. To guarantee peace, Prince Zircon has to choose a bride from the Bog People – dead men and women who have been resurrected as slaves. Or as warriors. But Zircon is in love with the enslaved Princess Ash, whose parents were deposed and executed by the current Queen. As usual, the Doctor has walked right into trouble, and it's up to him to sort it out.

The overall idea of the story is a good one, but it loses something in execution. The characterization of the Tenth Doctor is spot on. The story moves along at a good pace for the most part. There are places where a sentence of show could replace one of tell and occasionally awkward phrasing. Things are kinda skipped over as to where they came from or why they work the way they do. They might have fallen victim to an overzealous editor somewhere along the way or never been there, but I think Ten would have looked for them. And yes, I know it's a short story, but it seems a sentence or three could have cleared up some of this confusion. Saying exactly what would include spoilers. Sorry I am not being too specific.

So, I give this story 2 stars. It's ok, but it wasn't very satisfying.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this story in exchange for my honest opinion.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #39 - The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine where we spotlight upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating. 

It's no secret that I love fairy tales and retellings. This week's WoW is a novel that is loosely based on the Twelve Dancing Princesses. It looks really good. Shifted to Jazz Age Manhattan, the 12 sisters dance their nights away in speakeasies instead of a secret place beneath their bedroom. That era always has a little magic of it's own anyway. It'll be interesting to see how the author blends the story with that time period. 

Kindle Edition288 pages
The Girls at the Kingfisher Club (a novel) by Genevieve Valentine is due out June 3, 2014 from Atria Books. Here's what Goodreads has to say about it: 

From award-winning author Genevieve Valentine, a stunning reimagining of the fairytale of the Twelve Dancing Princesses as flappers during the Roaring Twenties in Manhattan.
Jo, the first born, “The General” to her eleven sisters, is the closest thing the Hamilton girls have to a mother. She is the one who taught them how to dance, the one who gives the signal each night, as they slip out of the confines of their father’s townhouse to await the cabs that will take them to the speakeasy. Together they elude their distant and controlling father, until the day he decides to marry them all off.

The girls, meanwhile, continue to dance, from Salon Renaud to the Swan to the Funeral Parlor Supper Club and, finally, the Kingfisher, the club they come to call home. They dance until one night when they are caught in a raid, separated, and Jo is thrust face-to-face with someone from her past: a bootlegger named Tom whom she hasn’t seen in almost ten years. Suddenly Jo must weigh in the balance not only the demands of her father and eleven sisters, but those of her own heart.

With The Girls at the Kingfisher Club, award-winning writer Genevieve Valentine takes her superb storytelling gifts to new heights, penning a dazzling tale about sisterhood, freedom, and love in Jazz Age Manhattan.

So, what book are you waiting on this week?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Review: A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain by Adrianne Harun

A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain - a Novel by Adrianne Harun was released by Penguin Books on February 25, 2014. It's a novel that tends to defy categorization, perhaps best fitting under a general literature heading. Why? It's part mystery, a little bit thriller, some magical realism, with some folklore and mythology thrown into the mix.

Mostly told through the eyes of Leo Kreutzer, though occasionally through one of his friends as well, this story tells what happens when two unrelated strangers come to town independently and interact with the population. Hanna Swann with her snow white features has Jackie falling in love with her and the boys tripping over themselves to follow her almost subliminal suggestions. Kevin Seven, on the other hand, seems to mesmerize almost everyone he comes in contact with appearing to be someone slightly different to each of them. His domain is mostly the hotel, but for some souls, he will leave it for a while.

And in between these bouts of description and action come Uncle Lud's tales. Uncle Lud is dying and has been trying to give his stories to Leo to carry on. But, do his stories help? Or do they stir things up? I like these lines near the beginning of the book that say, "But, Uncle Lud's not here, and he's left me and a few scattered notebooks to set the shards of the story side by side and conjure demons once again. Even as I do I want to call out to all of us. I want to yell: Look sharp!"

The publisher's synopsis starts out with, "In isolated British Columbia, girls, mostly native, are vanishing from the sides of a notorious highway."  But in truth while that does play a part in the story and knowing that does heightens the tension, it is only a small part to the story.

The plotting on the book is great. There is a level of tension maintained just because of the family lives these kids have and how their town is. The interactions with Hanna Swann and Kevin Seven up the ante. Any sanity there was in the town seems to go out the window.

Leo and his friends are all sympathetic characters. You hope for the best outcome for them. They are well written, well described.

It's a good book. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. It tends to stay with you a while after you finish it.

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

Waiting on Wednesday #38 - Death in Perspective by Larissa Reinhart

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine where we spotlight upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.

This week I am waiting on Death in Perspective by Larissa Reinhart. This is the fourth book in the Cherry Tucker mystery series. It's due to be published June 24, 2014 by Henery Press. What can you expect from a Cherry Tucker mystery? A nice blend of slightly crazy southern families, humor, romance and mystery. These mysteries are fun to read. 

In the author's own words: 

In Cherry Tucker’s fourth mystery, the curtain rises on Cherry’s debut as a high school set designer at the posh, private Peerless Day Academy. Cherry’s been hired to design scenery for an avant garde adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, but the theater teacher's hoping Cherry can also turn the spotlight on a malicious bully who’s sending poisonous texts to the faculty. The director’s got his own drama to hide, and the phantom texter seems eager to spill school secrets. When a school secretary's death is ruled a suicide, Cherry suspects foul play. The phantom bully may be using blackmail to rid the school of unwanted staff, urging a Montague-Capulet styled showdown.
With Deputy Luke Harper wanting to return as Cherry’s leading man, he’s eager to assist her efforts in fingering the phantom culprit, but Cherry fears family secrets may doom them to the role of star-crossed lovers. Offstage, Cherry’s searching for her missing brother who’s fixed on a vendetta against Luke’s stepfamily, so she instead turns to the local, foreign racketeer, Max Avtaikin, for assistance. With the bully waiting for a murderous encore and her own family skeletons to hide, Cherry scrambles to find her brother and the mysterious texter before the phantom decides its curtains for Cherry and forces her to take a final bow. 
Sounds good to me. What's your Waiting on Wednesday pick for this week?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Teaser Tuesday - Let the Dead Sleep by Heather Graham

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of 
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week's teaser comes from Let the Dead Sleep by Heather Graham. I'm reading the Kindle version.

"In voodoo, a lot is taken from the Catholic church, so you needn't think these are tourist souvenirs!"

Natasha put a medallion around each of their necks. "It's what you believe that's important."

30% through, pg. 106

What's your Teaser this week?

Review: Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris

"Stop at the one traffic light in town, and everything looks normal. Stay awhile, and learn the truth..."

Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris is the first in a new trilogy taking place in Midnight Texas. It's expected to be released today, May 6, 2014 by Ace Hardcover. 

The novel opens with a new resident, Manfred Bernardo, moving into town. So we see a lot of it through his eyes at first. The plot moves a little slow at this point because of the description involved in the world building, but then it picks up rather rapidly afterwards. Then it becomes nigh unto impossible to put down. 

The characters are interesting and varied from non-human and paranormal to the normal human. There is even a snake shapeshifter. I liked that the female characters were equally as strong as the male characters for the most part. 

Part of the ending weirded me out a little, but I could see it happening in this town. And I imagine that there are those among us would be only too happy if it happened elsewhere as well. I can't say what, because it would be a huge spoiler. 

It's well plotted. The characters in Midnight are likable. It's worth your time to give it a read especially if you've enjoyed Charlaine Harris' other works. It is a trilogy so there are only 2 more books expected in this series. 

I liked this book enough to give it 4 stars out of 5. I would consider giving it as a gift to friends who enjoy this genre. I hope if you read it that you will enjoy it too.

Disclaimer: I received my copy free from the Penguin First to Read program.