29 February 2012

DEAD IRON: The Age of Steam - Devon Monk

Although the devisers have civilized the East with their contraptions, civilization hasn't tamed the frontier that bounty hunter Cedar Hunt rides. Cursed by lycanthropy and carrying the guilt of his brother's death, he's a hard man for hire. But when a trio of miners offers him the possibility that his brother may yet survive, Cedar isn't going to haggle for payment. All he has to do for them is find the Holder, a powerful device created by mad devisers from the realm of the Strange.

The Holder is in the hands of Shard Lefel, a dandified railroad tycoon who has come to Hallelujah, Oregon, promising a civilized tomorrow. But what Cedar doesn't know is that Lefel is an ancient Strange banished to walk this land for centuries. Now nearing the end of his sentence, Lefel is desperately searching for a way to fend off his own mortality---and the Holder may be the key.

In a land shaped by magic, steam, and iron, where the only thing a man can count on is his guns, gears, and grit, Cedar will have to depend on all three if he's going to save his brother and reclaim his soul once and for all.

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! I don't know who here as watched the TV shows 'Wild, Wild West' or 'Briscoe County, Jr' (starring my *boyfriend*, Bruce Campbell), but, for me, reading this book was like watching a supremely excellent episode of one of those shows. I now have my favorite style of steampunk and it is written by the highly fab Devon Monk (

I know others prefer their steampunk set in Victorian times or other alternate history and I've read and highly dug them, but this is now my favorite.

There's the rustic of the Wild West with the saloons and general store, stables and blacksmith. And there's the mystery of the paranormal and the things that steam and iron make things go forward or go boom. It's a very hypnotic combo. I really cannot wait to read the rest of this series!

A big bowl of rough and tumble diamonds.....

19 February 2012

A DARKLY HIDDEN TRUTH - Donna Fletcher Crow

Felicity has decided to become a nun. She departs to visit convents in spite of her mother's imminent arrival and Fr. Anselm's request that she and Fr. Antony recover a missing priceless Russian icon before the Patriarch of Moscow arrives at the community for Holy Week.


Even more than the mystery in the story, I enjoyed the history lesson I received while reading the book.

I love reading historical amateur sleuth books like the Brother Cadfael series by Ellis Peters or the Hawkenlye mystery series by Alys Clare. I don't understand all of the religious information, but I can enjoy the flow of it and the life occurring as the story rolls along.

It was the same with A DARKLY HIDDEN TRUTH. It read just like a historical mystery, but it is set in modern times.

Since I was not raised with organized religion, I didn't get all of the religious ceremonial bits, but it didn't keep me from enjoying the mystery. It only enhanced the story, especially as Father Antony is a teacher and enjoyed relating bits of history to Felicity.

I look forward to reading more of this series and I am on the lookout for the book before this one, A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE.

Thank you to Library Thing with another fab book to read and review.

Five English beans......

15 February 2012

IT TAKES A WITCH: A Wishcraft Mystery - Heather Blake

Darcy Merriweather and her sister, Harper, hail froma long line of witches who have the power to grant wishes using spells. They've come to Enchanted Village in Salem, Massachusetts, to join the family business, but they soon find themselves knee-deep in murder....

Until three weeks ago, Darcy and Harper were working dead-end jobs and trying to put their troubles behind them. Then their aunt Velma delivered a bombshell: They're actually Wishcrafters---witches with the power to grant wishes with a mere spell. Wanting a fresh start, they head to their aunt's magic-themed tourist town to master their newfound skills.

But their magic fails them when a wannabe witch turns up dead---strangled with Aunt Ve's scarf---and Ve's sweetheart, Sylar, is found looming over the body. Ve is standing by her man, but Darcy overheard Sylar wish that the victim would disappear---forever. With Harper distracted by her handsome new crush, Darcy is determined to sleuth her way to the truth. But it'll take more than a wish to unravel this mystery.....


A fun new paranormal cozy mystery to enjoy. Love adding to my favorites list of series and authors, though I already like Heather Blake's other writing persona, Heather Webber.

An author could easily just change their pen name and have the same style going in the new series, but Heather has two distinct feels for the Wishcraft Mystery series as Ms Blake and the Lucy Valentine Mystery series she writes as Ms Webber.

The mystery is well done and the magic premise is superb. There are a lot of wee rules to follow as a Wishcrafter, like the wish has to be true of heart and phrased exactly so. Darcy is compelled to grant the wish once the rules are followed, sometimes with hilarious results. She's still learning her skills and abilities so mayhem can occur.

And there are all kinds of witches in this town that's not too precious for words as it could have been. I'd love to live here. The herbal, healers, wishcrafters, all sorts of witches hide in plain sight in Enchanted Village area of Salem.

Definitely pre-ordering A WITCH BEFORE DYING, due out 7 Aug 2012.

Five wishcraft beans......

12 February 2012

TOMB WITH A VIEW: A Pepper Martin Mystery - Casey Daniels

Cemetery guide and reluctant medium Pepper Martin is always up for some fun that doesn't involve seeing and talking to dead people. So a gig commemorating a dead president can only mean good times are not ahead.....

Since Cleveland's Garden View Cemetery is going to be celebrating James A. Garfield's 179th birthday, Pepper has been assigned to plan it with Marjorie Klinker, know-it-all volunteer and Garfield fanatic. It's enough to send Pepper to an early grave---especially because Marjorie won't shut up about being related to the late president.

But when Marjorie takes an assisted header over the balcony in the Garfield memorial, Pepper needs to solve the case----if only to show up her detective ex-boyfriend. It doesn't help that Garfield's ghost is boring Pepper to tears with his excessive use of his freedom of speech. She's made an executive decision to find a flesh-and-blood killer, and she's going to stick to it----even if it gets her assassinated....


Oh, how I love Pepper Martin. She'd be the coolest chickie to be friends with just with her weensie snarky personality, let alone her ginchy ability to talk to ghosts.

I feel for her, as snarky as she can be, she's not mean spirited (pardon the pun). The woman she has to work with, Marjorie, is a real piece of work. If it were in me to do so and I knew someone like Marjorie, I'd assist her over the rail too. Marjorie is so well written, I was smacking the book after one of her supercilious tirades.

Pepper's dealing with President Garfield is hilarious. She shows proper respect as much as she can, but he does get a wee bit ponderous in his presidential pontificating, so her patience gets tested.

The mystery is two-fold, plenty of action going on with a mysterious handsome man, murder, and secret visitors at all hours.

Five ghostly mystery beans.....

08 February 2012

AREA 51: Area 51 Book One - Robert Doherty

When nine atmospheric crafts of unknown origin were discovered in the Antarctic in the late 1940s, the U.S. government established Area 51 to study the abandoned technology. Dr. Hans Von Seeckt, who is the only original member of the secret research committee, has observed the marvelous craft in flight and witnessed a fantastic array of bizarre, unexplained phenomena. But Dr. Von Seeckt fears that the technology of the mothership is beyond our scope and an explosive threat to the entire planet. He must race against time to unlock the secret of the ship—and to the origins of mankind itself.


Whew! This was a humdingah of a thrill ride. It showed up as 746 pages on the Nook, but it moved fast and the pages flew with the flick of a thumb.

It's the start of a series and I can't wait to read more. Doherty writes an intriguing mixture of science fiction and thriller. There's the military, scientists, archeologists, newspaper reporters, and aliens. The action takes place all over the world and the action moves fast. Don't get attached to anyone, as they are likely to die or get abducted or have experiments done....

All of the characters are well done, both good and bad peeps. At least this time the military isn't all the way bad guy, just onesie-twosie or threesie....

All I had to do was get over some inconsistancies in military schtuff, I can't help myself after being in the Air Force for a goodly while. The inconsistancies were hiccups after a bit, so not a biggie.

I hope there will be more archeological bits in the future books. And I hope the main core of the good guys will be in the upcoming books.

Five humdingah thrill ride beans.....

06 February 2012

Books in the House Monday - 6 Feb 2012

A few more to add to Mt Git'r'Read:

Nook books:

BLOOD AND GUITARS - Heather Jensen, UF

SOMETHING SECRET THIS WAY COMES: A Secret McQueen Story - Sierra Dean, UF

From High Crimes Mystery Bookshop (For All Things Mysterious) (

BURIED IN A BOOK: A Novel Idea Mystery #1 - Lucy Arlington, cozy, MPB

OLD HAUNTS: A Haunted Guesthouse Mystery #3 - E J Copperman, paranormal cozy, MPB

A FITTING END: A Magical Dressmaking Mystery #2 - Melissa Bourbon, paranormal cozy, MPB

Library Thing January win (

A DARKLY HIDDEN TRUTH: The Monastery Murders #2 - Donna Fletcher Crow, historical mystery, TPB

I'd best get readin'....

05 February 2012

MURDER ON THE ROCKS: A Gray Whale Inn Mystery - Karen MacInerney

Trading in Texas heat for Maine's tangy salt air, Natalie Barnes risked it all to buy the Gray Whale Inn, a quaint bed and breakfast on Cranberry Island. She adores whipping up buttery muffins and other rich breakfast treats for her guests until Bernard Katz checks in. The overbearing land developer plans to build a resort next door where an endangered colony of black-chinned terns is nesting. Worried about the birds, the inevitable transformation of the sleepy fishing community, and her livelihood, Natalie takes a public stand against the project. But the town board sides with Katz. Just when it seems like things can't get any worse, Natalie finds Katz dead. Now the police and much of the town think she's guilty. Can Natalie track down the true killer before she's hauled off to jail...or becomes the next victim?


I have a distinct fondness for cozy/amateur sleuth mysteries set along the East Coast. It might be my love of my guilty pleasure TV show "Murder She Wrote" or whatever, but it is a favorite setting.

Nat has an inn to run and that is threatened by the promise of a development deal of a hewgah resort right next door. The owner of the development company winds up dead and fingers are pointing at Nat. There are other likely suspects, but she's the likeliest.

The mystery is handled wonderfully and I cannot wait to read the rest of the series. I also liked yummy recipes in the back of the book. Karen MacInerney did a fab job of showing Nat running the inn, making the breakfast goodies each morning and getting involved in solving the murder in a realistic manner as possible. That makes for a pleasant reading experience for me and doesn't feed into my pet peeve of 'How does she/he do dat?' when the food is always in the freezer for just such an emergency, running a business, volunteering, perfect dishes for each occasion, solving the murder and always well know....

Five atmospheric mystery beans.....

04 February 2012

January 2012 Book Journal

I seem to have begun 2012 with some banner reading: 4 Nookbooks, 6 handheld, 5 audio:

1. TOO BIG TO MISS: An Odelia Grey Mystery #1 - Sue Ann Jaffarian, cozy, Nookbook, excellent

2. THE SCARECROW - Michael Connelly, thriller, BOCD, good

3. MURDER PAST DUE: A Cat in the Stacks Mystery #1 - Miranda James, cozy, MPB, super

4. SEA CHANGE: Jesse Stone #5 - Robert B Parker, suspense, BOCD, good

5. THE ABANDONED: Graveyard Queen prequel - Amanda Stevens, Gothic ghostly thriller, Nookbook, excellent

6. NAPOLEON'S PYRAMIDS: An Ethan Gage Adventure #1 - William Dietrich, historic adventure thriller, MPB, good

7. A HOE LOT OF TROUBLE: A Nina Quinn Mystery #1 - Heather Webber, cozy mystery, Nookbook, really good

8. DEAD BOLT: A Haunted Home Renovation Mystery #2 - Juliet Blackwell, paranormal cozy, MPB, superb

9. GOOD OMENS - Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, fantasy, BOCD, perfect

10. MURDER ON THE ROCKS: A Gray Whale Inn Mystery #1 - Karen MacInerney, cozy, TPB, superb

11. THAT THING AT THE ZOO - James R Tuck, UF, Nookbook, good stuff

12. THE NEW YEAR'S QUILT: An Elm Creek Novel - Jennifer Chiaverini, fiction, BOCD, excellent

13. TOMB WITH A VIEW: A Pepper Martin Mystery - Casey Daniels, paranormal cozy, MPB, super

14. STARDUST - Neil Gaiman, fantasy, BOCD, superb

15. IT TAKES A WITCH: A Wishcraft Mystery #1 - Heather Blake, paranormal cozy, MPB, excellent

NookBooks: 4

Books: 6

Audio: 5

Total for month: 15

Total for year so far: 15

03 February 2012

DEAD BOLT: A Haunted Home Renovation Mystery - Juliet Blackwell

From the back of the book: There's no room at the inn when it's full of ghosts...

General contractor Melanie Turner's latest restoration is a historic Queen Anne Victorian in San Francisco's Cow Hollow neighborhood. Trouble is, she'll have to work around the owners, the Daley family, who refuse to leave during the construction. But when eerie things start happening around the site, the Daleys threaten to call off the renovation for fear that the work is disrupting ghosts who live on the property.

But the ghosts aren't the only ones getting in the way of the renovation. The Daleys' neighbors aren't thrilled by the muss and fuss of the construction project. When Mel's father finds a dead body near the job site, Mel must add one more task to her growing to-do list. She has to finish the job, bring the house back from the brink, and complete her greatest renovation project yet: restoring her reputation....


Such a fun series with great characters and super ghostly goin's on. These are scary spectres roaming in the Victorian Mel is renovating. I like how atmospheric the ghost scenes read. I find myself wrinkling my nose at the 'smells' or the cringing at the sounds as I read a passage.

There's more than just ghosts, too. I like a book with more than one mystery to solve and this has a couple or more. A murder and missing people, so Mel has her hands full. All that and she has her company to run and her people to keep renovating. And the ghosts to move along.....

Five moving ghosts beans.....