30 January 2011

THE GREYFRIAR: Vampire Empire Book One - Clay Griffith & Susan Griffith

From the back of the book: In the year 1870, a horrible plague of vampires swept over the northern regions of the world. Millions of humans were killed outright. Millions more were died of disease and famine due to the havoc that followed. Within two years, once-great cities were shrouded by the grey empire of the vampire clans. Human refugees fled south to the tropics because vampires could not tolerate the constant heat there. They brought technology and a feverish drive to reestablish their shattered societies of steam and iron amid the mosques of Alexandria, the torrid quietude of Panama, or the green temples of Malaya.
It is now 2020 and a bloody reckoning is coming.
Princess Adele is heir to the Empire Equatoria, a remnant of the old tropical British Empire. She is quick with her wit aswell as with sword or gun. She is eager for an adventure before she settles inot a life of duty and political marriage to a man she does not know. But her quest turns black when she becomes the target of a merciless vampire clan. Her only protector is the Greyfriar, a mysterious hero who fights the vampires from deep within their territory. Their dangerous relationship plays out against an approaching war to the death between humankind and the vampire clans.
I cannot get over how much I luh-huvved this book!! I've read many reviews for it, all glowing
raves, not a stink-a-roo in the bunch. Not many books can claim that as far as I know.
Strong lead characters, intriguing story, highly excellent eeee-vil vampires, and the Greyfriar conflicted hero. And the steampunk...gotta love it. I know I do.
Anything else I'd say would likely be spoilerific, so I'll stop.
I hope the Griffiths hurry and get the second book in the trilogy written and out on the shelves. It will be a must buy ASAP for me.
Five sparkly steampunk diamonds...

GHOULS, GHOULS, GHOULS: A Ghost Hunter Mystery - Victoria Laurie

From the back of the book: Ghost Hunters turned treasure hunters.
When MJ and the crew of her cable TV show, Ghoul Getters, venture to the haunted ruins of Dunlow Castle in Ireland, they hope that the road will rise up to meet them, that the wind will always be at their backs, that the sun will shine warm upon their faces...and that the resident phantom won't push them off a cliff.
That is what has befallen others drawn to the castle by the legend of hidden treasure. Dunlow Castle has more spooks than turrets---including the long-dead lord in all his ghostly greediness--but they pale in comparison to the phantom. If MJ and her fellow ghost busters treasure their lives, they need to get the drop on the menacing phantom---before they plunge headfirst into one cliffhanger of an ending....
Victoria Laurie has two series: Abby Cooper Psychic Eye and this one, Ghost Hunter...I started with Abby Cooper, but when I found MJ and the gang in Ghost Hunter, that was the winner of the two series. I enjoy watching MJ and her peeps bust ghost butt in haunted houses and hotels. Now they are in Ireland and looking for treasure in uber haunted Dunlow Castle.
MJ gets help from sort of boyfriend Heath, best friend just-about-a-big-baby Gilley, and the crew from their cable show Ghoul Getters...but she also gets help from the ghostly lord of the manor appearing in her dreams.
The gang is beset by issues and problems from the get-go. The castle is definitely off the mainland and is only accessible at certain times of the tide, the producer of the show goes missing and there's a phantom that no one mentioned.
I liked the book quite a lot, only issue is Gilley and MJ's relationship. Gilley gets all hysterical and selfish and MJ first gets pissed then forgives him. I got a bit tired of the scenes this time around, but it won't keep me from getting the next in the series, GHOUL INTERRUPTED.
Four ghostly beans.....

28 January 2011

Save Publishing and Authors....READ A BOOK at Bedtime!

Author Sean Cummings, over at Dark Central Station (Authors Playing With Dead Things), has this request going out. Please help publishing, helping authors, READ A BOOK AT BEDTIME! I know I do my part by reading before going to sleep, I have to or I won't sleep very well. This helps my monthly book journal increase since I get the most reading time at night. The other ones that fair almost as well are the audio books in the car for the 90 min daily commute for work.
So go forth and do your part, read a book at bedtime and help the publishing world stay around. And go over to Dark Central Station for a visit. They pretty much rock.

24 January 2011

It's Official...I dig the SyFy Being Human...

I am completely diggin' this version even after only an episode and a half (watching episode 2 as I type this). The thing is, the whole fam is diggin' it too, and the DH and Lady K like to chatter and comment as the show airs...thank the gods I love them so and for the capability to DVR...

SKINWALKER: A Jane Yellowrock Novel - Faith Hunter

From the back of the book: Last year Jane nearly lost her life taking down a deadly family of vampires who preyed on the helpless local populace. Now, after months of recuperation, she's back and ready to fight again. Except this time, she's been hied by those she's trained to kill---vampires.
Jane Yellowrock is the last of her kind---a skinwalker of Cherokee descent who can turn into any creature she desires---and hunts the undead for a living. But now she's been hired by Katherine Fonteneau, one of the oldest vampires in New Orleans and the madam of Katie's Ladies, to hunt a powerful rogue vampire who's killing other vamps.
Amidst a bordello full of real "ladies of the night" and a hot Cajun biker with a panther tattoo who stirs her carnal desire, Jane must stay focused and complete her mission...or else the next skin she'll need to save may be her own.
Man oh man! I love finding a series that starts with a big ol' bang. And that it takes place in New Orleans lends that extra little Gothic feel to the vampires and shapeshifters.
SKINWALKER has been on the shelf for about a year after I bought two books in Faith's Rogue Mage series, BLOODRING and SERAPHS. I fully expected to read those pretty much immediately, but they are still on Mt Git'r'Read and I kept hearing so many fab things about Jane Yellowrock, so I made it an imperative to read it soonest. I guess I have been in a vampire and shapeshifter kind of mood and I will be in a rogue mage kind of mood later in the year, probably sooner than too much later.
And..... I liked the premise and characters so damn much that I bought books two and three, BLOOD CROSS and MERCY BLADE pretty much immediately after finishing. I can't wait to read what Jane and the vampires (apparently they don't like being called 'vamps') and the hottie Cajun get up to next.
Five sparkly shapeshifting diamonds.....

Books in the House Monday - 24 Jan 2011

From Our Lady of the Books in Bartlett IL:
GARDEN OF DARKNESS - Anne Frasier, suspense
DEEP DISH - Mary Kay Andrews, funny Southern humor
THE HOUSE AT RIVERTON - Kate Morton, suspense
THE SECRET OF THE GLASS - Donna Russo Morin, historic fiction set in Murano, Italy
THE TROUBLE WITH WITCHES: Ophelia and Abbey #3 - Shirley Damsgaard, paranormal mystery
REBECCA'S TALE - Sally Beauman
99 COFFINS - David Wellington, a historic vampire tale
SEVENTY-SEVEN CLOCKS: Peculiar Crimes Unit #3 - Christopher Fowler, historic mystery
THE SEVENTH WITCH: Ophelia and Abby #7 - Shirley Damsgaard, paranormal mystery
A DEADLY YARN- Maggie Sefton, cozy
THE HERETIC QUEEN - Michelle Morgan, historic fiction
KNITTING - Annie Bartlett, fiction
A POISONED SEASON - Tasha Alexander, mystery
From Bitten By Books contest win from interview with M K Hobson:
NATIVE STAR - M K Hobson, signed by the author, historical paranormal
B&N order:
BLOOD CROSS: Skinwalker #2 - Faith Hunter, UF
MERCY BLADE: Skinwalker #3 - Faith Hunter, UF

17 January 2011

Being Human Starts Tonight

Being a fan of the BBC original version, I will be doing some comparison viewing to say the least.

That said, I already like what I see....already signed up for the facebook fan-age...and here's some info on SyFy site on the show...

16 January 2011

THE CORPSE WORE TARTAN: A Liss MacCrimmon Scottish Mystery - Kaitlyn Dunnett

From the back of the book: Can there be such a thing as too many men in kilts? Liss MacCrimmon, proprietor of Moosetookalook, Maine's one and only Scottish Emporium, would say no. But that's before one of them turns out to be murderous.....
The bagpipes are blaring at The Spruces, Moosetookalook's finest hotel, reopened just in time to host the Burns Night Supper, an annual celebration of Scotland's beloved poet, Robert Burns. In the midst of the long Maine winter, the festivities are just the thing to give the hotel a much needed boost---and to bring fresh business to Liss's shop.
But when the Scottish Heritage Appreciation Society arrives on the scene, they bring more than a hunger for haggis and a passion for plaid. The quarrelsome group harbors their share of long held grudges, and the animosity only grows as the whiskey flows. Then a fierce blizzard hits, trapping everyone---angry Scotsmen, hapless hotel staff, and Liss herself---inside.
It's a situation with all the makings for mayhem, and sure enough, it isn't long before a body is discovered, face down in a storage room, covered in tartan---and blood.
Lucky for Liss, she's got some good friends alongside her to help sort out the facts: local police officer Sherri Willett, and Dan Ruskin, the man who's got Liss all tied up in Celtic knots. But they'll have to work fast, before another body goes as cold as the snowstorm keeping them cooped up with a killer.
Don't you just love this cover? Oooooo! Cozy mystery in the classic sense...everyone is trapped in a big old hotel in a snowstorm that shows no sign of letting up, communication is lost with the outside world, and there's a dead body in the basement and it's....murder.
I will be looking for the rest of this series. I didn't feel like I'd missed anything by reading the fourth in the series before any of the others. It did whet my curiosity for the next in the series as well as starting at the beginning to see how everyone gets introduced. There are some interesting characters living in a place I want to visit or live. I really want to meet Liss and Dan and see this grand hotel and shop at the Scottish Emporium. That's a nifty thing when the author makes me want to live in the book.
Five when do we leave for Moosetookalook beans....

ARSON AND OLD LACE: Far Wychwood Mystery - Patricia Harwin

From the back of the book: An American woman. An English town. A whole lot of trouble.

"You're a librarian, not a detective," Catherine Penny's daughter reminds her But Catherine, suddenly single in her sixties, finds it easy to slip into sleuthing mode when she leaves behind New York City and a failed marriage for a lovely 17th century cottage in the idyllic English village of Far Wychwood.

But behind the town's quaint stone walls and lace-curtained window lurk dark secrets and whispers of witchcraft. And when her crusty neighbor George Crocker dies in a tragic fire, Catherine alone suspects arson. Lacking hard evidence, the police pay little attention, and the villagers swear she must be mistaken. Catherine, however, is one feisty expatriate American who leaves no stone unturned when circumstances point to murder. She may not be Miss Marple---yet---but her ingenious knack for uncovering the truth is about to take Far Wychwood by storm!


You know how much I love finding a new series to enjoy. I definitely found one in ARSON AND OLD LACE. Catherine Penny is a feisty lead character who I grew to admire. She is in her 60s and pulls up roots from her life in New York City after her husband of a chunk of years leaves her for another, younger, woman. Catherine moves to England to be near her daughter who has married an Englishman and had Catherine's grandson.

Catherine is a lot nicer than I would be if the crotchety old neighbor treated me the way he treated her when she goes over to help when she sees smoke coming from his house and puts out the fire and fixes his dinner for him. And continues to do so until she gets fed up, but kind of still looks over him afterwards.

Then she looks into the suspicious death by fire and gets into hot water when she starts digging too deep into the death that no one thinks is worth investigating. Her daughter already thinks there's something wrong with her and the police detective neighbor is gently irritated with her.

She does make some friends pretty much immediately which I thought was pretty nifty. The village is fairly typical for an English village as seen in other English mysteries. Not sure if it's stereotyping, but it's what I tend to expect and love when I read English mysteries, especially English cozies.

I will be on the lookout for the next in the series, SLAYING IS SUCH SWEET SORROW, so I can see how Catherine gets through the visit from her ex and his 'Barbie' he left her for.

Five can't wait to see what happens in this bucolic village beans.....

10 January 2011

Books in the House Monday - 10 Jan 2011

THE CORPSE WORE TARTAN: A Liss MacCrimmon Scottish Mystery - Kaitlyn Dunnett, cozy

From the author, Laura Bickle/Alayna Williams:
SPARKS: An Anya Kalinczyk Novel #2 - Laura Bickle, UF, signed by the author
DARK ORACLE - Alayna Williams, UF, signed by the author

Buckley Base Exchange:

MORTAR AND MURDER: A Do-It-Yourself Mystery #4 - Jennie Bentley, cozy mystery

BUTTER CREAM BUMP OFF: A Cupcake Bakery Mystery #2 - Jenn McKinlay, cozy

A KILLER CROP: An Orchard Mystery #4 - Sheila Connelly, cozy

GHOULS, GHOULS, GHOULS: Ghost Hunter Mystery #5 - Victoria Laurie, paranormal mystery

09 January 2011

IF WALLS COULD TALK: A Haunted Home Renovation Mystery - Juliet Blackwell

From the back of the book: She puts up walls, he walks through them.
Since she took over her father's construction business, Melanie Turner has made quite a name for herself remodeling historic houses in San Francisco Bay area. But now her reputation may be on the line.
At her newest renovation project, a run-down Pacific Heights mansion, Mel is visited by the ghost of a colleague who recently met a bad end with power tools. Mel hopes that by tracking down the killer, she can rid herself of the ghostly presence of the murdered man.
Mel's only clue is an odd box she discovers inside a wall at the job site. If she can make sense of its mysterious contents, she might be able to nail a killer----before she becomes the next construction casualty.....
I really like Juliet Blackwell's other series, about Lily Ivory the witch from Texas who lives in San Francisco and has a vintage clothing shop. I loved that one from the get-go.
It's going to take the next book to get me to really like Mel Turner and this series. There are some loose ends that I don't remember being tied together at the end or anywhere near the end.
That said, I am looking forward to the next one, due in December 2011. I love the premise of Mel being a strong woman character who owns her own construction company and can see ghosts. I think there is a lot of room for discovery of information of Mel and her cast of characters. I read the sneak peek at the end of IF WALLS COULD TALK and the second one looks super.
Five giving it a ghostly shot beans......

05 January 2011

HAIL TO THE CHEF: A White House Chef Mystery - Julie Hyzy

From the back of the book: White House chef Ollie Paras has a lot on her plate, what with holiday meals to map out, the First Lady's matchmaking plans to deflect, safety classes to take, and terrorist plots to avoid. Oh, and a senator's assistant has been begging Ollie to rig the countrywide gingerbread-man-decorating contest in favor of the senator's kids.....
Then, a cautious, kindly electrician is electrocuted, and the First Lady's nephew dies in an apparent suicide when not twenty-four hours before he was happily cleaning shrimp with Ollie. Ollie suspects there's something going on that's fishier than shrimp cocktail. Now, she'll have to watch her back---and find a killer unlikely to be pardoned....
Now that Ollie is the White House executive chef, she has even more on her plate to deal with than what's going on in the kitchen. She has never-ending staff meetings, bomb threat drills, safety classes, constant menu and guest list changes. She manages to take it all in stride for the most part as well as keeping her eyes and ears open to all the upheaval going on with the First Family.
She can't help herself when it comes to what others see as being nosey. She should have enough to do, but she needs to know that all is well within her other home, the White House.
Five all must be well beans......

03 January 2011

Books in the House Monday - 3 Jan 2011

Now that the holidays are waned, I have the mellow time to post the stack of books (and book related items) that have been, well, stacking up since mid December:
From Ann at work:
SOUTHERN FRIED - Cathy Pickens, cozy, MPB

BookDepository via a book win from Abigail at the fab AllThingsUrbanFantasy:

DOUBLE CROSSED: Disillusionists #2 - Carolyn Crane, UF, MPB

High Crimes Mystery Bookshop:

SPACKLED AND SPOOKED: A DIY Mystery - Jennie Bentley, cozy, MPB

NAPOLEAN'S PYRAMIDS - William Dietrich, thriller, MPB

STOLEN: A Blackpool Mystery - Jordan Gray, thriller

SIXTY-ONE NAILS - Mike Shevdon, thriller, as highly recommended by Becky (NoMoreGrumpyBookseller)

DAMN NEAR DEAD 2: Live Noir or Die Trying - anthology of noir mystery that includes one by one of my favorites, Kat Richardson

EVIL WAYS: Morris and Chastain Investigations #2 - Justin Gustainis, UF

NIGHT RISING: Vampire Babylon #1 - Chris Marie Green, paranormal, because I finally came to my senses and got this one!

From Devon Monk:

BOARDING INSTRUCTIONS - Ray Vukcevich, thank you Devon, this looks superb!

From Jeri Smith-Ready:

Bookmarks and signed bookplates for my copies of her WVMP series

From Mary Ann:

A CHRISTMAS ODYSSEY - Anne Perr, Christmas mystery, HB

From Julie Hyzy:

Five signed bookmarks