31 March 2010

FROST MOON: Book 1 The Skindancer series - Anthony Francis

Technically (if one should need a technicality and genre label), this could be called a paranormal amateur sleuth mystery since Dakota Frost is a tattoo artist who gets pulled into the mystery. But mostly what this is, in actuality, is a kickass Urban Fantasy! I am soo glad that this is the beginning of a series.
It took me a bit to get comfortable reading it in the beginning, the story felt a little bit rough around the edges. Once I got past page 20 or so, I was right at home with Dakota Frost and her UF world of vampires and were-kin and, best of all, magick filled tattoos. That's what Dakota does, she creates tattoos, most of them magick-filled, in the tattoo palace known as The Rogue Unicorn. She's tattooed her own skin and what I wouldn't give to see the flowers, gems, butterflies and especially the dragon that moves and reacts to stimuli.
Dakota is brought into a police investigation of a serial killer whose targeted victims have magical tattoos. The police and Feds need info as well the need to let her know that she could be a possible target.
She also has been hired to ink a specific magical tattoo on a werewolf who wants more control at the full moon.
Both of these events soon yank her all the way into a murky world of human and the Edgeworld of paranormal creatures in Atlanta, GA. She meets up with police investigators, a 'man in black' Fed who works for the Department of Extraordinary Investigations. Dakota also has to deal with her ex, now the Queen of the Little Five Points Vampires and working for the Vampire Consulate of Little Five Points.
There is also the werewolf who needs her help, and possibly her companionship, to work the tattoo that will perhaps help him control his beast side.
There are so many possibilities of who could be the serial killer, but not irritatingly so. No, it was suspenseful each time a new possibility showed up.
This is a SUPERB Urban Fantasy/paranormal amateur sleuth mystery start of a series!!!

Five 'more soonest please' sparkly diamonds.....

29 March 2010

Books in the House Monday

From my dad:
FREE FIRE: #7 Joe Pickett series - C J Box, thriller
THE CATCH - Archer Mayor, thriller
BLOOD & BONE - William Lashner, thriller
THE BITE - Michael Crow, thriller
GOOD PEOPLE - Marcus Sakey, thriller
THE KEEPSAKE - Tess Gerritsen, thriller
AN INNOCENT CLIENT - Scott Pratt, legal suspense
THE VANISHED HANDS: Javier Falcon series - Robert Wilson, thriller

From Cassie:
THE LACEMAKERS OF GLENMARA - Heather Barbieri, current fiction

From The Cozy Chicks
An envelope full of excellent bookmarks from each of the authors on the blog

28 March 2010

How To Train Your Dragon

Lady K and I decided to forego the cha-ching of seeing How To Train Your Dragon in 3D or 3D IMAX and went to see it in good, old-fashioned 2D this morning at the first showing of the day at 0900. We had to drive to the theater where we used to go, the Promenade 24, where we had the choice of the three types. Got in and able to see it in a HEWGAH theater with about 30 other people. I love having Lady K as my movie going buddy. She's willing to get up and go at the crack of dawn if needs be, especially if popcorn and a good movie are in the offing.
Anyway, back to the movie...this was so much fun! Yes, it's Vikings with Scottish and American accents versus multi-hued dragons. I loved it and Lady K was ethralled. Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) is the son of the island's Viking king, Stoick (voiced by dreamy Gerard Butler, enough of a reason to see this movie). Hiccup is a bit of a disappointment to his father, he's not very big or strong like a good Viking.
Two things happen after the latest dragon attack, Hiccup gets chosen to join dragon hunter training and finds the dragon he brought down via one of his inventions.
The story goes from there and I can't go into more without spoiling it should you decide to go. And both Lady K and I say you should. It's a good story, made us both laugh and cheer, the animation is wonderful.
One of my other favorite characters is the dragon hunter trainer and Hiccup's mentor, Gobber, voiced by Craig Ferguson who I adore. America Ferrera voices the main female characters, Astrid. She's the trainee vying for the position of dragon hunter opposite Hiccup and it's fun watching the two of them together.
Can't wait for this to come out in DVD so DH can see it too. And Lady K and I can watch it over and over.

27 March 2010

SECONDHAND SPIRITS: A Witchcraft Mystery - Juliet Blackwell

From the back of the book: Lily Ivory is not your average witch. Her spell-casting powers tend to draw mischievous spirits while keeping normal humans at a distance. But now her vintage store could give her a chance to make friends in San Francisco.

Lily hopes for a normal life when she opens Aunt Cora's Closet. With her magical knack for vintage fashion---she can sense vibrations of the past from clothing and jewelry--her store becomes a big hit.

But when a client is murdered and children start disappearing from the Bay Area, Lily may be the only one who can unravel the crime. She tries to keep her identity a secret while investigating, but it's not easy--especially under the spells of sexy "myth buster" Max Carmichael and powerful witch Aidan Rhodes. Will Lily's witchy ways be forced out of the closet?
Lily is a natural witch and was ridden out on a rail of her home in Texas. She wanders the world and finally settles in San Francisco, opening her vintage shop, Aunt Cora's Closet.
I liked how the mystery found her, it didn't feel forced. Lily honestly felt compelled to find out who the killer was and who was taking the children. Yes, magic was involved and she used hers to help.
I enjoyed watching Lily find out the nature of friendship and how good it felt. She'd never fit in before, so this was new territory for her. I liked how naturally she used her magic abilities to find vintage clothing and find the right fit for her customers.
My favorite secondary character had to be Oscar, shape-shifting sort of goblin, Lily's familiar. He is so nifty!
I hope the readers get to meet Lily's grandmother, Graciela, somehow. There's some past info that meanders through the story about Lily's family that was intriguing.
This was darker than I expected it to be, so it's not a 'cozy' in that sense. It's a paranormal amateur sleuth, if a label is required.
I really liked this book and so very glad it's the beginning of a series. Juliet Blackwell is a pseudonym for Hailey Lind who wrote the Annie Kincaid, reformed art forger cozy series that I loved and miss. Yippee that the fourth in that series, ARSENIC AND OLD PAINT, will be out this year in September per the two blog sites.

Five magical sparkly diamonds.....

On My Wishlist as hosted by Book Chick City

On My Wishlist is hosted each week by Book Chick City. It's a place to share wishlists and get some good ideas to add to your own.
I added a whole bunch last night to the WWBL (Wanton Wantin' Book List) thanks to the Debut Urban Fantasy Challenge at Dark Faerie Tales
And a bunch of others from various and sundry spots as is my are a few:

25 March 2010

Debut Urban Fantasy Challenge hosted by Dark Faerie Tales

Yep, I've done it...I joined another challenge. In my defense, this is completely doable (I say this alot) and this is one I whole-heartedly yahoo because it's to help debut UF authors and who doesn't want to do that?
So if you like to help out and support, go on over to Dark Faerie Tales and sign!

Lady K-ism of the Day

"I'm not nosey anymore, I'm just curious. Nosey is when you peek through the neighbor's fence and curious is just wanting to know what's going on. I haven't peeked through the neighbors' fence since forever, since I was 6 and more when I was 5. Now I'm just curious and ask questions."

24 March 2010

How We Celebrate Spring Break in Colorado

11.5 inches of snow that started yesterday afternoon and continued through the night...the kind of snow we get in March..that good heavy wet stuff that's sooooo much fun to shovel, but uber fun to make snow angels and sled down the local hills.....That's what Lady K and I did today instead of going to the movies or to the zoo or botanic garden. Still a lot of fun and we can go to those other places any ol' time..the snow won't be here for much longer.

VAMPIRATES: DEMONS OF THE OCEAN - Justin Somper, narr Daniel Philpott

From the back of the BOCD: What could be worse than a vampirate? Half vampire, half pirate--shiver me timbers, how terrible they must be! Thankfully, most people will never have the misfortune of meeting a vampirate.
It's the year 2505 and the world's oceans have risen dramatically. In this new age, the vile practice of piracy is gaining ground, threatening seafarers of all types. During a mighty storm, twins Connor and Grace are separated when their boat is smashed . Each is rescued by a different ship. Connor is captured by a notorious band of pirates and forced to become one of them. Facing a different fate, Grace winds up on a ship of dark mysteries, imprisoned by its captain.
A well-known children's book publicist, Justin Somper makes a splash as an author with this exciting novel for young adults. A thrillin reading from narrator Daniel Philport heightens every moment of suspense.
I have just found a new-to-me favorite series and author and likely the narrator, too. I had so much fun listening to this first in the VAMPIRATES series and cannot wait to listen to the next in the series, TIDE OF TERROR, I hope it's next up on Recorded Books wishlist.
This is the perfect book to listen to for anyone, even though it's supposed to be a YA paranormal.
The world-building is very cool and I like that it's a future that isn't overwhelmingly bleak like a lot of futuristic venues tend to lean on. It's vampires and pirates and all that that entails....blood and fighting on the high seas and the gritty pirate pubs with wenches. There are good-hearted pirates and bad.
And Daniel Philpott gives just as fab voice to the fab written characters. Nothing too over the top, just right over the top. I have the image of a vampire Captain Jack Sparrow in my cranium as I listened to some of the vampirates...and obviously this is not a bad thing if you know me at all. *grin*
If you'd like to see a super interview with Justin Somper, the author, here's the site over at BittenByBooks. He's just as nifty as the books he writes.
Five more please vampirates beans....

23 March 2010

WORMWOOD: China Bayles #17 - Susan Wittig Albert, narr Julia Gibson, Linda Stephens, Ed Sala

From the back of the BOCD: Susan Wittig Albert has won critical acclaim and a devoted following for her China Bayles mysteries starring a beloved herb shop and tearoom owner. In WORMWOOD, Shaker traditions mingle with murder in a case requiring all the wits the author's plucky heroine can muster.

A Kentucky Shaker village seems just the place for China to get some much-needed rest and relaxation. And getting a chance to assist with a local herbal workshop is exactly the kind of thing China relishes. Meeting with the kindly villagers, China might rightly suspect that her peaceful surroundings would be the last place on Earth to happen upon violence. But when a death occurs, China's only chance to solve the crime may lie in the history of the village.
Albert succeeds magnificently with a tale China's fans are sure to eagerly devour. Narrators Julia Gibson, Linda Stephens, and Ed Sala give voice to the author's heroine with a narration of the highest quality.

This is one of the amateur sleuth series that I never tire and have never been disappointed. China is resourceful and smart. Each time I read one of this series, I want to go live in the part of Texas where Pecan Springs is located. I want to grow more herbs and raise goats and spin yarn and..and..and....well, you get the idea.

This story doesn't take place in Pecan Springs, rather China goes to Kentucky to a Shaker village of Mount Zion to help a friend conduct some herbal workshops and maybe help solve some issues that seem to be occurring. The problems of the present seem to be intertwined with those of the past of the Shaker village.

There is plenty of herbal lore to keep the fans of the series happy and the mysteries (past and present) are presented in a superb manner as we've come to expect from Susan Wittig Albert.

This is the first I've listened to or read of the series that is told by multiple voices and takes place in the past as well as the present. Julia Gibson is perfect for China and the present and Linda Stephens and Ed Sala are the epitome of the Shaker past.

Multiple past and present Shaker sparkly diamonds.....

22 March 2010

Lady K & the Bagel Bakery & Cupcake Shoppe for a Birthday Tea Party

Lady K's birthday party this year was at The Bagel Bakery & Cupcake Shoppe in our little 'burb. It's a locally owned biz that I easily support as the bagels are superb and thegourmet 'pupcakes' (Lady K's word) are outstanding. They just started having birthday tea parties this year, much to Lady K's delight, so we set one up for the Saturday following her birthday.
It was wonderful even though four of Lady K's guests had spring break plans, so it was a small company of three little 7 year old girls partaking of the tea, lemonade, ham and cheese sandwiches, scones, chocolate covered strawberries, lemon squares, brownies, and a veggie tray. The girls played Wii Sports and decorated all of the pupcakes with frosting and sparklie sugars.
I highly recommend this treat filled tea party for any celebration, especially for little girls.

21 March 2010

SINK TRAP: A Georgiana Neverall Mystery - Christy Evans

From the back of the book: Clues can be found in themost unlikely places.....
When Georgiana Neverall's fast-paced, corporate lifestyle goes down the drain, she moves back home to Pine Ridge, Oregon, and makes an unconventional choice--to apprentice herself to Barry the Plumber. Her uptight, super-successful raltor mother, Sandra, is disgusted. She never dreamed she'd see a Neverall in coveralls toiling under someone else's sink.
Georgiana loves her new occupation, but is a bit surprised when she finds the favorite brooch of Martha Tepper, the town's former librarian, clogging a sink. Martha suppposedly retired to Arizona, but everyone who knew her says she never would have left without that brooch. Georgiana has a sinking feeling that Martha may have been retired permanently--and suddenly t's up to a plumber's apprentice to flush out a killer.
(Includes fun plumbing tricks and tips!)
I just love finding new to me authors who write a super fun book and this one fit the fun bill perfectly. I was entertained and informed and didn't even mind that I figured out whodunnit towards the middle of the book. Sometimes that bugs the McCrappe out of me, but when the rest of the book is superb, I don't mind.
I really admire Georgiana's intestinal fortitude, coming back home to change her life after her computer security company she started gets taken over by someone she trusted. She could have easily let it crush her, but she put on her big girl panties and went home to start over as a plumber's apprentice.
She is back in her hometown with her mother, best friend and old boyfriend and a mystery. Sometimes (most times) the amateur sleuth looking into the mystery can feel forced. This one didn't really feel that way. Georgiana knew something was wrong and she needed to figure out what it was and show others she wasn't crackers.
Best of all, I loved the plumber tips. Common sense tips that helped me and proved my dad right when he gave my first need to have tool kit...tape measure, hacksaw, rubber mallet, adjustable wrench aka crescent, slip-joint pliers, locking jaw pliers, plumber's snake, toilet plunger, and sink plunger, screwdrivers (both common and Philips head)....and the tip about baking soda and vinegar unplugging a sink instead of using the commercial drain cleaners.
And the lovely funny Airdales, Daisy and Buddha! I want an Airdale now.

Multi fun plumber's tips and dogs mystery chocolate bunnies......

19 March 2010

Happy 7th Birthday Lady K!!!

7 years ago today Lady K decided that it would be a good day to be born during the biggest blizzard in recent Colorado history...and to commemorate, we are having another goodly snowstorm..she's having a good day all the way around. Her Grandpa Jack is here, she received her Pillow Pet from me and a pink 'real' guitar from her Daddy..among many other cool gifts..and there's the snowstorm to go play in soon..

16 March 2010

JESSICA'S GUIDE TO DATING ON THE DARK SIDE - Beth Fantaskey, narr Katherine Kellgren & Jeff Woodman

From the back of the BOCD: High school senior Jessica Packwood is a down-to-earth mathlete with a murky future. What she definitely doesn't see coming is foreign exchange student--and vampire-- Lucius Vladescu showing up at her door. According to Lucius, Jessica is actually vampire royalty, and they've been betrothe to one another since infancy.

Yeah, great. That's just what a girl wants to hear. Thankfully, Jessica has a copy of GROWING UP UNDEAD: A TEEN VAMPIRE'S GUIDE TO DATING, HEALTH, AND EMOTIONS to help her cope. And, after all, Lucius may be arrogant, but he's easy to look at. Unfortunately, Jessica's not the only girl in school who's noticed. If she can hold off the evil cheerleaders long enough, she might just find a future with Lucius--and save his sould from eternal damnation.

Author Beth Fantaskey injects a little humor into the vampire romance genre with this critically acclaimed debut, while narrators Katherine Kellgren and Jeff Woodman capture Jessica and Lucius' colorful personalities.


This story is such a fab one to listen to! It's funny, spooky, romantic, it's what I had hoped TWILIGHT would have been and wasn't.
Poor Jessica has enough issues with being odd chickie out what with being a 'mathlete', has vegans for parents and is an adopted child with a foggy foreign past.
I enjoyed watching the progression of the cautious and irritated Jessica dealing with the arrogant and pushy Lucius as he 'courted' Jessica. And then the tables started turning as Jessica realized what she was becoming and how she felt about Lucius and Lucius started courting other girls and enjoying his Americanized life.
The dry humor in the beginning segueing to life as it can be with the issues that plague normal let alone vampire teens was entrancing to watch.
I can't wait for her next book, JEKEL LOVES HYDE and I'll be listening to that one, too.
Four chocolate vampire yumminess.....

15 March 2010

VERY VALENTINE - Adriana Trigiani, narr Cassandra Campbell

From the back of the BOCD: Meet the Roncalli and Angelini families, a vibrant cast of colorful characters who navigate tricky family dynamics with hilarity and brio. In this luscious, contemporary family saga set in Greenwich Village and bella Italia, the Angelini Shoe Company, makers of exquisite wedding shoes since 1903, is on the verge of financial collapse. It falls to thirty-three-year-old Valentine Roncalli, the talented and determined apprentice to her grandmother and master artisan Teodora Angelini, to being the family's old-world craftsmanship into the twenty-first century and save the company from ruin.
While juggling a budding romance and a design challenge presented by a prestigious department store, Valentine returns to Italy with her grandmother to learn new techniques and seek one-of-a-kind material to build a pair of glorious shoes to beat their rivals. There, in Tuscany, Naples, and on the Isle of Capri, a family secret is revealed as Valentine discovers her artistic voice and much more, turning her life and the family business upside down in ways she never expected. VERY VALENTINE is a sumptuous treat, a journey of dreams fulfilled, a celebration of love and loss filled with Trigiani's trademark heart and humor.
Luscious is the key word here. O..M..G!!! I have never felt a desire to live in New York City until reading this book. I want to live in the city where the Angelini shoes are created and where the Roncalli and Angelini families reside. Trigiani totally makes me want to pick up sticks and move to flippin' Greenwich Village!
And I love the idea of living in Tuscany or the Isle of Capri some day, especially if I can make friends with the people who befriended Valentine.
I laughed, smiled, cried a bit, wanted to smack some of the people around and hug others throughout the whole time I listened to this wonderfully warm story. I fell in love with the families and friends.
I have been a fan of Adriana Trigiani since I first read BIG STONE GAP several years ago. I gave copies of the whole series to my mom and my sister. And now I will be getting this trilogy for them to love.

Five wonderfully HUGE Italian diamonds.....

14 March 2010

Spring Forward...and all that jazz...

Hope you remembered to set your clocks forward this morning!

11 March 2010


From the back of the ARC: A lush and compelling tale of intrigue and longing, set in the sixteenth-century Spanish court.
THE CREATION OF EVE is a novel based on the tru but little-known story of Sofonisba Anguissola, the first renowned female artist of the Renaissance. After a scandal in Michelangelo's workshop, Sofi flees Italy and joins the Spanish court of King Felipe II to be a lady-in-waiting to his young bride. There she becomes embroiled in a love triangle involving the Queen, the King, and the King's illegitimate half brother, Don Juan. THE CREATION OF EVE combines art, romance, and history from the Golden Age in Spain in a story that asks the question:Can you ever truly know another person's heart?
This book left me breathless. If you read my blog very often, you know that I don't typically 'do' historical fiction. It's not to say that I don't like it, it's just that the historical fiction books don't grab my attention as quickly as a mystery or paranormal books so the wandering finger as I trace out the titles choosing my next read will skim right on over the big 600 page tomes that are the norm for HF.
I won this from LibraryThing Early Reviewer, my first book win from them, from the January choices. I thought the premise looked very interesting and I was glad to win the book and to be proved correct.
It's a fantastic story based on a true occurrence. I think the Renaissance period of art history is my favorite. Sofonisba Anguissola was an artist who studied with Michelangelo for a time, but a perceived scandal and romance with a fellow artist sent her running home and then to the Spanish court to teach the new Queen of Spain how to paint and draw. It was mostly as a diversion due to her youth as the King was busy ruling half of the world and had no time for his young bride from France.
Sofi becomes the Queen's best friend in Court which had its positive bend and negative. She was at the Queen's beck and call which kept Sofi busy and her heart and mind occupied from dwelling too much on her love, Tiberio. It also kept her too busy to study her other love, painting. She was a woman, so couldn't be thought of as a serious artist. Her paintings and portraits mostly went unsigned or signed by other (male) artists.
The kicker was the constant intrigue of the Spanish court. All of the backstabbing and catfighting, though couched in kid gloves, was never-ending. I'd have been exhausted each day and someone would have been bitch-slapped. I'd not have lasted long back in the day of the royal Courts I would imagine.
Lynn Cullen's written imagery was spectacular and put me right in the time and place of sixteenth-century Spain. My face squinched each time the condesa de Uruena stuck her pomander filled with civet to her nose. I could see the scenery of the Spanish countryside and hear the barking dogs or the clatter of the banquet hall.
Five Renaissance diamonds.....

BLOOD RETRIBUTION: Lee Nez #2 - David and Aimee Thurlo

From the back of the book: Lee Nez is a nightwalker--a Navajo vampire. He's also a New Mexico state police officer. Paired with sexy FBI agent Diane Lopez, Lee is tracking down violent smugglers who have killed two cops while bringing silver and turquoise across the border from Mexico.
Shocked to discover that the smugglers are Navajo shapeshifters--skinwalkers--Lee and Diane realize they must wipe out the whole pack, and fast, before the skinwalkers realize there's a nightwalker on their tails. Werewolves and vampires are deadly enemies....
Complicating matters, Lee is being stalked by a pair of vampire assassins. He killed the leader of their clan and the survivors are bent on revenge. Blood for blood, as the saying goes.
This was my purse book, therefore it took a very long while to get through. I wish I'd had more time immediately with it so that the story would take hold and keep me there. I read the first one a long while back, but it stuck with me. This one didn't grab me right away and the two stories going on with two sets of 'bad guys' had me a little off at times, too.
All that said, I did like reading more adventures about Lee Nez, now known as Officer Leonard Hawk in this particular alias. I look forward to finding the next two in the series. I've been told they are hard to find, so I hope I can run across them somewhere. I will be looking for the Ellah Claw series the two authors have as well as the Sister Agatha series.
Four Southwest skinwalker beans....

08 March 2010

Books in the House - 8 MAR 2010

From the very cool & sweet Jaye Wells:
~Signed bookplate
~2 bookmarks featuring her two books RED-HEADED STEPCHILD and THE MAGE IN BLACK
From the author:
ANTICIPATION & SEDUCTION - Patrice Michelle, signed TPB, romance (smokin' HOT cover)
From Hilda on BTO:
BLUE MOON - Alyson Noel, TPB, paranormal
From Bonnie (RedLady):
THE BRIDE COLLECTOR - Ted Dekker, ARC - release in April 2010, thriller
From Pamala, Our Lady of the Books:
LIST OF SEVEN - Mark Frost, MPB, suspense
DARK LIGHT - Randy Wayne White, MPB, suspense for my dad
SIX SECONDS - Rick Mofina, MPB, suspense
PERSUADER - Lee Child, MPB, (now I have two copies...)
WITCH HUNT - Ian Rankin, MPB, Brit thriller
STEP TO THE GRAVEYARD EASY - Bill Pronzini, HC, noir thriller
THE EXCALIBUR MURDERS - J M C Blair, HC, Arthurian mystery (think this might be next up bedside book)
HEARSE CASE SCENARIO - Tim Cockey, HC, cozy mystery
HEARSE OF A DIFFERENT COLOR - Tim Cockey, HC, cozy mystery
CEMETERY OF ANGELS - Noel Hynd, MPB, horror
THE DARK ROOM - Minette Walters, MPB, Brit suspense
BUNDORI - Laura Joh Rowland, MPB, mystery
THE CONCUBINE'S TATTOO - Laura Joh Rowland, MPB, mystery
NOTHING TO LOSE - Lee Child, MPB, suspense
DISORDERED MINDS - Minette Walters, MPB, Brit suspense
LADY OF THE FOREST - Jennifer Roberson, MPB, Arthurian legend
Little sidenote, I now have all but the last two Jack Reacher series...yay!
LOGAN AND THE MAGIC FISH - Otto Scamfer, pdf, children's book
FROST MOON - Anthony Francis, pdf, paranormal

06 March 2010

Lady K and Fun Day at Swim Lessons

Fun Day is the last day of each swim lesson course and Lady K luh-huvs Fun Day. The kids get to frolic and go down the big purple slide, etc. She was only a little hesitant on the diving board at first, then it was all 'kowabungah' cannonballs. A good time.

05 March 2010

I am a Big Ol' Book Geek

Look what arrived in the mail today!! Take Me To Your Reader t-shirt can be found at Cameesa. I have been enamoured of this tee for a long while and finally decided to order one for my collection after seeing that WonderBunny had a coupon code for 30% off...jumped all over that donthca know. This may mark me officially as a bookaholic geek, but there it is... the by...that is not a picture of me in the shirt....pipes aren't that cool and I have a better rack....