28 December 2010

UNSYMPATHETIC MAGIC: Third Esther Diamond Novel - Laura Resnick

From the back of the book: Acting jobs don't grow on fire escapes....
So struggling actress Esther Diamond is outraged when her guest role as a hooker on The Dirty Thirty, a controversial TV drama, is jeopardized by zombies, angry spirits, and a voodoo curse. Meanwhile, the talented teens Esther is coaching at a Harlem cultural center are also being attacked by the sinister supernatural power that's spreading through Manhattan. And Esther's love life goes from bad to worse when her bed bursts into deadly flames while her would-be lover, Detective Connor Lopez, is trying to get her into it!

Since the show must go on (and the rent must be paid), Esther boldly helps her friend Dr. Maximillian Zadok, a 350-year-old sorcerer whose day job is protecting New York City from Evil, combat the supernatural forces at work in Harlem durng a sweltering summer heat wave. But will Esther's courage leadher to become a human sacrifice on the altar of Evil's voracious appetite?
I have completely enjoyed my time with the first two books in the series, DISAPPEARING NIGHTLY and DOPPELGANGSTER (my reviews) and UNSYMPATHETIC MAGIC is even more so. It's a little darker and not as much humor as in the previous two, but I think it's my favorite of the series. And I will likely say that for the next one as each book is read by me. I love watching Esther keep forging ahead in all that she does to keep acting, pay the rent, try for a normal life with all that she knows about having to fight Evil and what's in that supernatural world when you look for it.
Esther, Max, Nelli the familiar deal with zombies, voodoo, good and bad, one big ass snake, a bitchy priestess and assorted other ick factor entities. And there's the whole bed on fire action between Esther and Lopez....woof!

Laura, please tell me there will be more Esther Diamond adventures in the future!!
*just checked a past comment from Laura Resnick on my review of DOPPELGANGSTER and VAMPARAZZI is due out in June!!! YAY!*

Five big ol' sparkly Esther Diamonds.........

25 December 2010

MURDER FOR CHRIST'S MASS: A Templar Knight Mystery - Maureen Ash

From the back of the book: After eight years of captivity in the Holy Land, Templar Knight Bascot de marins finally escaped. Injured in both body and soul, he is on a sojourn at Lincoln castle, where the coming holidays hold the promise of hope and long life---but not for everyone.....
The town of Lincoln is covered in white on Christmas morning. But the snow also conceals the mortal remains of a clerk who worked in the local mint---stabbed, robbed, and left on the floor of a stone quarry. With the sheriff busy entertaining noble guests, Bascot is asked to investigate.
The only clue he finds is a pristine coin stamped with the visage of King Stephen, who reigned some fifty years earlier. The sheriff suspects that a hoard of hidden treasure may connect the killer to the victim. But Bascot, aided by his young protege Gianni, soon discovers that the motive goes beyond money---and beyond mere murder...
Bascot de Marins is a character I will be following as long as Maureen Ash wants to write his story. He is spiritual and a defender of justice. Watching his mind work out the mystery of the murdered man and the interweaving of all of the information he discovers.
I love his relationship with his young servant, Gianni. How he nurtures and guides Gianni to follow his strengths so that when de Marins goes back to his Templar duties, Gianni won't be at a loss for a position in life.
Greed is prevalent throughout the book and takes all forms. Some give into it and others resist.
Plenty of red herrings to go through with de Marins as he makes mistakes, but ultimately figures it all out.
Five medieval mystery beans.....

THE DIVA COOKS A GOOSE: A Domestic Diva Mystery #4 - Krista Davis

From the back of the book: Wrapped up in murder.....
It promises to be a jolly holiday for Sophie Winston, until a scrooge steals the gifts from her family and neighbors and even pinches their holiday meals! Sophie quickly ends the neighbors' finger-pointing by organizing a toy swap for the kids, restoring the spirit of the season. But not for long.....
When her sister-in-law's father shows up to the festive gathering with a diva girlfriend just a month after his separation, more than one person is thinking of murder. And when the girlfriend becomes the victim of foul play, some of Sophie's relatives are at the top of the suspect list. Her detective boyfriend, Wolf, is out of town, so it's up to Sophie to chase this goose and cook it, because nobody ruins her Christmas!
Another fun cozy featuring the Domestic Diva. Sophie is on the trail of a big ol' Grinch and she has a cast of plenty to choose from. That's my only distraction with this series, there are an awful lot of characters to keep track of and I have to go back and figure out who's who to who sometimes. Otherwise, I enjoy the heck out of the mystery and the domestic tips. Even Natasha, Sophie's Diva rival, has some interesting ones to offer this go 'round. She seems to have mellowed somewhat since the first book, but she's still a pain in the tookus. And has incredibly bad taste as in pink and teal are the new red and green! *shudder*
Sophie also doesn't have Wolf or my other favorite character, her buddy Nina, to help her out this time. She's sort of on her own and runs through several scenarios of the whodunnits. I like that she didn't immediately know and made mistakes along the way.
Five holidays can be murder beans.....

Happy Christmas

21 December 2010

MIND GAMES: Disillusionists Book One - Carolyn Crane

From the back of the book: Justine knows she's going to die. Any second now.
Justine Jones has a secret. A hardcore hypochondriac, she's convinced a blood vessel is about to burst in her brain. Then, out of the blue, a startlingly handsome man named Packard peers into Justine's soul and invites her to join his private crime-fighting team. It's a once-in-a-lifetime deal. With a little of Packard's hands-on training, Justine can weaponize her neurosis, turning it outward on Midcity's worst criminals, and finally get the freedom from fear she's always craved. End of problem.
Or is it? In Midcity, a dashing police chief is fighting a unique breed of outlaw with more than human powers. And while Justine's first missions, including one against a nymphomaniac husband-killer, are thrilling successes, there is more to Packard than meets the eye. Soon, while battling her attraction to two very different men, Justine is plunging deeper into a world of wizardry, eroticism, and cosmic secrets. With Packard's help, Justine has freed herself from her madness---only to discover a reality more frightening than anyone's worst fears.
O..M..G! MIND GAMES was so much better than I thought it would be. I read many glowing reviews, but the book kept going to the bottom of Mt Git'r'Read because of one little quirk of mine...I have low tolerance for hypochondriacs and the main character, Justine, is a raging HUGE one. I kept thinking that it would get to me and I would throw the book across the room or not be able to get past it.
I am so pleased that I was very very wrong. The hypochondria was handled very well and watching Justine learn to control it and use it as a weapon was intriguing as hell. The premise of the team that Justine works with was just so cool. Each member has a problem that they have learned to control and utilize to put away criminals that the law can't touch. Yes, that's vigilante-ism, but it's Urban Fantasy that takes place in an ambiguous time, so it seems like a good thing to do.
It has also been a while since I've actually read through the sex scenes in the books I read that have such scenes. I usually skim past as they can be written in rather uncomfortable phrasing or unbelievable positions. I can suspend belief in fantasy and paranormal, but refuse to do so with the between the sheets action. Whatever that makes me, there it is.
All that said, I read each and every sentence in the scenes between Justine and her two men. Holey McCrappe, Carolyn Crane writes superbly smokin' sex imagery.
Five sparkly didn't think I'd like it, but damned if I didn't dig it a lot diamonds......

17 December 2010


Head on over to Dark Central Station, one of my favorite blogs, and see what's up for the week.....there will be prizes and contests every know until 24 Dec, which is before Christmas...hence I reckon the title...
Dark Central Station is the combo team blog of authors Nancy Holzner, Wayne Simmons, Erin Kellison, Thomas Emson, Christina Henry, Sean Cummings and Gary McMahon.

15 December 2010

ELVIS AND THE MEMPHIS MAMBO MURDERS: Southern Cousins Mystery - Peggy Webb

From the inner sleeve: A lovable basset hound who's convinced he's the King reincarnated. A blonde bombshell mooning the lobby of the ritziest hotel in the South. And a murder witnessed by a parade of fame-hungry ducks? Something's afoul, alright, and it's definitely a case for the Southern Cousins.....
Callie Valentine Jones and her cousin Lovie really have their work cut out for them this time. Callie's mama Ruby Nell has gone and entered herself--and her hunk-a-geriatric-love dance parnter--- in a Memphis mambo contest, hoping to shake, rattle and roll her way to stardom. And if the past is any indication, she'll need at least two chaperones.
But someone at the competition is determined to step on a lot of blue suede shoes. First, a serial monogamist in a bright pink gown does a fatal swan dive from the top of the hotel. Then Callie finds an overdressed diva floating in a famous fountain. Now there can be no question: A murderer is loose in Memphis, and he's got a lot of killing to do.
With the help from Jack, the mysteriously reappearing ex Callie just can't get over and her delusional dog Elvis, Callie and Lovie are going to have to track down some answers before mayhem strikes again. And with Ruby Nell in the killer's sights, they'll need a little less conversation and a lot more action if they want their family waltzing home in one piece....
Now I love Elvis, young Elvis that is, tunes, hips, lips, uhhh...anyway...a dog who thinks he is the reincarnation of the King and is allowed to tell part of the story? Okay...neat premise...and maybe if I start this series in the beginning rather than the third one I might dig the premise better. I think I am missing how Elvis came into being, how he came to live with Callie, I want to learn what's the deal with Jack the ex, and how much trouble Ruby Nell can get into.
I had a hard time keeping up with all of the extraneous characters introduced.
They came and went rather quickly, so I didn't care if they were the victim or not.
Now the family members, I did care about and enjoyed my time with. My favorite character is Lovie. I love her no holds barred attitude and zest for life.
I received this book from LibraryThing. You should join, it's a great place to log your bookshelves and win some books from time to time.
Four gotta love those Southern cousins beans.....

14 December 2010

BOUNDARY WATERS: Cork O'Connor Mystery - William Kent Krueger, narr David Chandler

From the back of the BOCD: Drawing strong comparisons to the works of James Lee Burke and Tony Hillerman, William Kent Krueger's mysteries featuring Cork O'Connor never fail to please fans. Here, a desperate search-and-rescue mission becomes deadly in the Minnesota wilderness.
As her fame continues its upward climb, a young country-western singer goes missing along the US/Canada border. Accepting an offer from the girl's father, Cork joins a rescue team that includes an ex-con, two FBI agents and a 10-year-old boy. Trekking deeper into the unforgiving wild, the group soon discovers that mother nature isn't the only thing to fear. It seems there are others looking for the missing girl, and they will resort to lethal force if anyone gets in their way.
BOUNDARY WATERS is a pulse-pounding thriller as cool and crisp as a Minnesota breeze. Acclaimed narrator David Chandler helps ramp up the suspense with a riveting performance.
I have already bumped the third in this series, PURGATORY RIDGE, to the top of my Recorded Books wishlist. BOUNDARY WATERS was just as gripping as IRON LAKE (my review). I think I could easily listen to or read this series back-to-back and I rarely (if ever) do that.
There are so many good characters in the story and the reader cannot get too attached to anyone. That's part of what makes a good suspense read. That and a good suspense story, of course.
Cork is still reeling after the death of the woman he loved and trying to make good with his family, then father of the missing country singer comes asking Cork for his help in the search. Very few of the people are who they appear and that just brings extra zing to the intrigue to say the least.
Five nothing is at it appears beans......

13 December 2010

Books in the House Monday - 13 Nov 2010

From Sherri @ Sherri's Jubilee:
THE MERMAID'S PENDANT - Leann Neal Reilly, modern fairytale, TPB
and two gorgeous ribbon bookmarks for me and Lady is where you can find them on Sherri's Etsy site
DIVA COOKS A GOOSE: Domestic Diva Mystery #4 - Krista Davis, cozy mystery, MPB
HOOKED ON MURDER: A Crochet Mystery #1 - Betty Hechtman, cozy, MPB
IF WALLS COULD TALK: A Haunted Home Renovation Mystery #1 - Juliet Blackwell, paranormal cozy mystery, MPB
THE KING OF PLAGUES: Joe Ledger Novel - Jonathan Maberry, thriller, ARC out in March 2011
Mary Ann on WW/GDT/BTO:
GROUNDS FOR MURDER: Maggie Thorsen Mystery - Sandra Balzo, coffee cozy, TPB

12 December 2010

THE DIVA RUNS OUT OF THYME: Domestic Diva Mystery #1 - Krista Davis

From the back of the book: Some dishes are best served cold....
Few can compete with THE Natasha Smith when it comes to entertaining, but her childhood rival, Sophie Winston, certainly tries. While Natasha is known for her intricate centerpieces and painstakingly prepared gourmet meals, Sophie likes to keep things simple....real simple. Natasha may have stolen the spotlight ---and Sophie's husband---but Sophie is determined to take home the prize at the Stupendous Stuffing Shakedown. She just needs the right ingredients....
However, Sophie's search for the perfect turkey takes a basting when she stumbles across a corpse. And when the police find her name and photo inside the victim's car, they think she has some explaining to do. Sophie will have to set her trussing aside to solve the murder or she'll be serving up prison grub---and that definitely wouldn't be a good thing.
Includes delicious recipes and entertaining tips!
There are two domestic divas in this book, one is a pain in the tookus and the other is Sophie. She is way better at organization and having things on hand than I, or anyone I know, is..are....I marvelled at how Sophie had everything to hand to entertain at a moment's notice or many drop-in guests for dinner. She had room in her house for stay-over guests and had time to go with her friend to go on wacky investigating into the murders that have occurred.
I love Nina, Sophie's ready-for-anything-so-long-as-she-can-escape-her-mother-in-law's-visit buddy.
The murder solving was well-done, though there were an awful lot of characters for me to get introduced to and remember. I know who I don't like and look forward to learning more about in the next books in the series to like them even less or dislike them more....
Five way more organized than me beans.....

07 December 2010

MERRY, MERRY GHOST: Bailey Ruth Raeburn Mystery #2 - Carolyn G Hart

From the back of the book: Being dead can't put a damper on spirited, holiday-loving Bailey Ruth Raeburn.
Christmas is a time for family and giving , and a wealthy woman in Adelaide, Oklahoma, is about to embrace both. Discovering that she has a young grandson, the dowager decides to change her will to leave the bulk of her fortune to the young boy---an alteration that stuns the rest of her family. But a scrooge of a determined heir makes sure she never signs the new document. When she is found dead, it's up to that irrepressible spirit Bailey Ruth---on assignment from Wiggins and Heaven's Department of Good Intentions---to protect a little boy, foil a murderer, and save Christmas.
There's only one teeny hitch: how can Bailey Ruth figure out which family member was desperate enough to kill when everyone has a motive?
My first holiday read of the month and it was a humdinger. Highly enjoyable with engaging characters, especially Bailey Ruth Raeburn, the spirit on a mission from Heaven. She breaks rules, called Precepts, on a regular basis, but doing so with good intentions to help her charges.
Kids and animals can see her and Bailey Ruth lets herself be seen when she thinks it's needed and it's needed quite a bit in this story. She needs to look out for the little boy, Keith, as well as solve the murder of Keith's grandmother.
And Bailey Ruth does it all in style. I love the attention to detail when she "dons her gay apparel". Tip of her toes to the top of her lovely red hair, she is a fashion statement. And a sweetheart of a spirit representative.
Five splendid heavenly beans.....

06 December 2010

Books in the House Monday - 6 Dec 2010

From Recorded Books (using my Take it for $12 coupon):

From Library Thing for October:


High Crimes:

WOLF MOON - Charles de Lint

GRACE UNDER PRESSURE: Manor House Mystery - Julie Hyzy, cozy

VAMPIRE EMPIRE: Book One The Greyfriar - Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith

03 December 2010

BUZZ OFF: A Queen Bee Mystery - Hannah Reed

From the back of the book: When beekeeper Story Fischer is on the case, you can run---but you can't hive....
It's September--National Honey Month--- in Moraine, Wisconsin, and things are looking up for Story Fischer. Her messy divorce is final, the honey from her beekeeping business has been harvested, and the market she owns is thriving. Life seems pretty sweet...until Manny, her mentor in the honey business, is found stung to death in his apiary.
Story is still trying to explain to the panicked locals that her honeybees had nothing to do with Manny's death,when another body is found floating in the Oconomowoc River. This time the evidence points to Story's ex. Sure, he's a womanizer and a buzzkill--but a murderer? Desperate to save her bees and her business (and, okay, her ex). It's up to Story to find a way out of a very sticky situation.
I like when I read a book and learn something new to me. Being a gardener, I love what bees can do for my blooms and veggies. Pretty much everything we plant is to bring in as many of the little workers as we can. Reading BUZZ OFF was doubly enjoyable with the bee info.
Plenty of good guys, pewp-craniums to pop upside the head, a murder or two to solve and plenty to look forward to in the upcoming books. Seemed a plethora of characters to keep track of, but manageable and I found another town I'd love to live in or near.
Five bees are good beans.....

01 December 2010

Books Read in November 2010

Not a bad month for reading for November all things considered:
TOWN IN A BLUEBERRY JAM: Candy Holliday Mystery #1 - B B Haywood, cozy, MPB, good
THE TITAN'S CURSE: Percy Jackson #3 - Rick Riordan, YA fantasy, BOCD, super
BOOKPLATE SPECIAL: Booktown Mystery #3 - Lorna Barrett, cozy, really busy and good
61 HOURS: Jack Reacher #14 - Lee Child, suspense, BOCD, good
DEEPLY, DESPERATELY: Lucy Valentine #2 - cozy, MPB, really good
THE MASK OF ATREUS - A J Hartley, archeological thriller, MPB, good
VANISHED: Greywalker #4 - Kat Richardson, UF, BOCD, superb
STATE OF THE ONION: White House Chef Mystery #1 - Julie Hyzy, cozy, MPB, really good
MURDER MOST FROTHY: Coffeehouse Mystery #4 - Cleo Coyle, really good
SPELLMANS STRIKE AGAIN - Lisa Lutz, funny mystery, BOCD
GLAZED MURDER: Donut Shop Mystery #1 - Jessica Beck, cozy, okay
HUNGER GAMES - Suzanne Collins, YA postapocalyptic, BOCD, amazing!
BUZZ OFF: A Queen Bee Mystery #1 - Hannah Reed, cozy, really good

Books: 8
Audio: 5
Month: 13
YTD: 168