Monday, April 30, 2012

Them Bones by Howard Waldrop

Them BonesThem Bones by Howard Waldrop

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In 1929, some archaeologists find a horse skeleton in a mound in the Louisiana swampland—a mound which pre-dates the re-introduction of the horse to North America. Moreover, the mound contains something even more anachronistic—a corroded brass rifle cartridge.

This is a novel about shifts in time. From the late twenty-first century, Madison Yazoo Leake, a member of the Special Group, is transported back in time in an attempt to stop the destruction of the human race. However, he arrives not in 1930s Louisiana, but in a world where Arabs explored America, the Roman Empire never existed, and the Aztec empire extended to the Mississippi


Interesting take on time travel. It was interesting enough to keep me reading, but not without issues. The book follows 3 different time lines/groups that are loosely tied together, but only partly comes together in the end. For me there should have been a lot more world building and a more concrete finish. I enjoyed parts of the story but was a bit disappointed overall.

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Santa Olivia (Santa Olivia #1) by Jacqueline Carey

Santa Olivia (Santa Olivia, #1)Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lushly written with rich and vivid characters, SANTA OLIVIA is Jacqueline Carey's take on comic book superheroes and the classic werewolf myth.
Loup Garron was born and raised in Santa Olivia, an isolated, disenfranchised town next to a US military base inside a DMZ buffer zone between Texas and Mexico. A fugitive "Wolf-Man" who had a love affair with a local woman, Loup's father was one of a group of men genetically-manipulated and used by the US government as a weapon. The "Wolf-Men" were engineered to have superhuman strength, speed, sensory capability, stamina, and a total lack of fear, and Loup, named for and sharing her father's wolf-like qualities, is marked as an outsider.
After her mother dies, Loup goes to live among the misfit orphans at the parish church, where they seethe from the injustices visited upon the locals by the soldiers. Eventually, the orphans find an outlet for their frustrations: They form a vigilante group to support Loup Garron who, costumed as their patron saint, Santa Olivia, uses her special abilities to avenge the town.

Aware that she could lose her freedom, and possibly her life, Loup is determined to fight to redress the wrongs her community has suffered. And like the reincarnation of their patron saint, she will bring hope to all of Santa Olivia.


Excellent read, though the blurb is a bit misleading. This is in no way a Paranormal Urban Fantasy and really has absolutely nothing to do with werewolves. I would classify it more as a dystopian or even more of a sci-fi type book, although those don't really classify it correctly either. It is set in the near future in a place that could easily exist.

Loup is the offspring of a genetically altered humanoid. We never really learn how exactly he was altered or even the full extent of how Loup is affected. The town it is set in is caught between the border of Mexico and the United States and has basically ceased to exist as far as the rest of the world is concerned. But really the story is about so much more than that. It is about survival and hope. It is about being different and fighting for what is right even when it is against all odds.

I am very much looking forward to the sequel as I think that we will learn a lot more about Loup and her kind. I hope that we will learn more about life outside of Outpost and learn about what the world has become. What will become of the Santitos that we have gotten to know and love? Can not wait to read the rest of the story!!

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Ghouls Just Haunt to Have Fun (Ghost Hunter Mystery #3) by Victoria Laurie

Ghouls Just Haunt to Have Fun (Ghost Hunter Mystery, #3)Ghouls Just Haunt to Have Fun by Victoria Laurie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A demonic guest terrorizes a haunted hotel

When ghost hunter and medium M.J. Holliday appears on a television show called Haunted Possessions, she encounters an evil knife that releases a demon. Now all hell has broken loose in the haunted hotel where M.J. is staying?and it?s up to her to give the uninvited guest an early checkout.


I really do enjoy Laurie's writing. This series is beginning to remind me a bit of her Psychic Eye series (which is not a bad thing). The stories are getting a bit darker and involving not only ghosts, but demons and other dark things, as well that the evil people who come with them. I like that the plot keeps me guessing right up to the end. I do feel like there is a little bit of excess at times. Too many details and repetition and every now and then I don't really like MJ a lot. I would also like to see MJ and Steven's relationship explored a bit. It is kind of stagnant, like the author is still trying to decide if they are going to be a couple or not. But overall I am enjoying the series and am looking forward to the next one.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Demons are a Ghoul's Best Friend (Ghost Hunter Mystery, #2) by Victoria Laurie

Demons are a Ghoul's Best Friend (Ghost Hunter Mystery, #2)Demons are a Ghoul's Best Friend by Victoria Laurie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Victoria Laurie's ghoulishly great follow-up to What's a Ghoul to Do? in her new Ghost Hunter Mystery series

Northelm Boarding School on Lake Placid has the worst bully of all-a demon by the name of Hatchet Jack. M.J. Holliday, along with her partners Gilley and the handsome Dr. Steven Sable, are ready to send him back to the portal from whence he came. The school's summer construction, an uncooperative dean, and the very tempting Dr. Delicious are all trying to distract M.J. from her ghost hunting. But with a demonic disturbance as great as Hatchet Jack, she must focus and show no mercyto send him to detention for an eternity-in hell.


Definitely loving this series. The mystery aspect of this book was a bit darker. MJ is dealing with the ghost of a murderer and his victims, so the plot was darker than the first book which imo made this an even better story than the 1st. I really love the development of the characters, though I would like a little more. I want to get to know them all a little better. Looking forward to the next installment.

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

What's a Ghoul to Do? (Ghost Hunter Mystery, #1) by Victoria Laurie

What's a Ghoul to Do? (Ghost Hunter Mystery, #1)What's a Ghoul to Do? by Victoria Laurie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

M.J., her partner Gilley, and their client, the wealthy, de-lish Dr. Steven Sable, are at his family's lodge, where his grandfather allegedly jumped to his death from the roof-although Sable says it was foul play. But the patriarch's isn't the only ghost around. The place is lousy with souls, all with something to get off their ghoulish chests. Now M.J. will have to to quell the clamor-and listen for a voice with the answers...


This is one of those fun quick paranormal series with some great quirky characters and a solid enough plot to make it worth reading. I love Laurie's writing style and am thrilled to have a new series of hers to follow. Moving right along to #2 in the series with the hopes that it just keeps getting better.

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Serpent's Daughter (Jade del Cameron Mysteries #3) by Suzanne Arruda

The Serpent's Daughter (Jade del Cameron Mysteries, #3)The Serpent's Daughter by Suzanne Arruda

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Joining her mother for a holiday in the ancient port city of Tangier, American adventuress Jade del Cameron expects their trip will be far less dangerous than her safaris in East Africa. But soon after their introduction to a group of European tourists, Dona del Cameron goes missing- victim of an apparent kidnapping-and, shockingly, the French authorities seek to arrest Jade for the murder of a man whose body she discovered in a series of ancient tunnels. Now, Jade must call upon her friends to find her mother and expose the true villains, who have every intention of bringing about her own destruction..


Another very enjoyable read in the Jade del Cameron series. I enjoyed this one because I think that we got to see a little more of a vulnerable Jade. He relationship with her mother is explored and I really enjoyed that aspect of the story. I like Sam, though the relationship between Sam and Jade is a little erratic. The mystery itself was interesting and I really enjoy how the author puts a little bit of mysticism/magic in the stories without making it an overwhelming aspect of the story. Definitely planning to read more of this series.

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Stalking Ivory: A Jade Del Cameron Mystery (Jade del Cameron Mysteries #2) by Suzanne Arruda

Stalking Ivory: A Jade Del Cameron MysteryStalking Ivory: A Jade Del Cameron Mystery by Suzanne Arruda

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

On a photography assignment in the northern territory of Mount Marsabit, American adventuress Jade del Cameron and her friends hope to film the area's colossal elephants. Instead, they discover the mutilated remains of four elephants and a man. Although the authorities suspect Abyssinian poachers and raiders in search of ivory and slaves, Jade has her own suspicions. Could it have been Harry Hascombe, her nemesis and unremitting suitor? Soon the Kikuyu boy accompanying her is captured by slave traders. Ultimately, it will take all of Jade's mettle to rescue her guide from slave traders, protect the animals, and expose another kind of beast.


Absolutely loved this book. It has been some time since I read the first book in this series, so I do not remember a lot of the details but I do remember that I enjoyed it and was impressed with the author's ability to write so descriptively. Well I was not disappointed with this second novel in the Jade Del Cameron Mystery series. The way that they author writes about Africa and the elephants makes it possible to picture the environment as Jade and friends work out the mystery of the poachers. I love the characters, including the new ones in this book. I am very much looking forward to more in this series.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Wolf at the Door: And Other Retold Fairy Tales by Ellen Datlow (Editor), Terri Windling (Editor)

A Wolf at the Door: And Other Retold Fairy TalesA Wolf at the Door: And Other Retold Fairy Tales by Ellen Datlow

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These are not your mother's fairy tales...
Did you ever wonder how the dwarves felt after Snow White ditched them for the prince? Do you sometimes wish Cinderella hadn't been so helpless and petite? Are you ready to hear the Giant's point of view on Jack and his beanstalk? Then this is the book for you.

Thirteen award-winning fantasy and science fiction writers offer up their versions of these classic fairy tales as well as other favorites, including The Ugly Duckling, Ali Baba, Hansel and Gretel, and more. Some of the stories are funny, some are strange, and others are dark and disturbing -- but each offers something as unexpected as a wolf at the door.


An interesting collection of fairy tales rewritten but based on some childhood favorites. I enjoyed reading stories by familiar authors and even a few new ones. Enjoyed all the stories. Maybe one or two that I really did not enjoy but overall a good read.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Gil's All Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez

Gil's All Fright DinerGil's All Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bloodier than Fried Green Tomatoes!
Funnier than The Texas Chainsaw Massacre!

Welcome to Gil's All Night Diner, where zombie attacks are a regular occurrence and you never know what might be lurking in the freezer. . . .

Duke and Earl are just passing through Rockwood county in their pick-up truck when they stop at the diner for a quick bite to eat. They aren't planning to stick around--until Loretta, the eatery's owner, offers them one hundred dollars to take care of her zombie problem. Given that Duke is a werewolf and Earl's a vampire, this looks right up their alley.

But the shambling dead are just the tip of a particularly spiky iceberg. Seems someone's out to drive Loretta from the diner, and more than willing to raise a little hell on earth if that's what it takes. Before Duke and Earl get to the bottom of the diner's troubles, they'll run into such otherworldly complications as undead cattle, an amorous ghost, a jailbait sorceress, and the terrifying occult power of pig Latin.

And maybe--just maybe--the End of the World, too.

Gory, sexy, and flat-out hilarious, Gil's All Fright Diner will tickle your funny bone--before ripping it out of its socket!


I really enjoy Martinez's writing. Considering that this was his first novel I have to say well done. What a fun read. I fully intend to find more of his books to read soon.

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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Keep Mama Dead by S. James Nelson

Keep Mama DeadKeep Mama Dead by S. James Nelson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In 1905 of this alternate history, in a country located between Arizona and Utah, 19-year-old Thomas Baker has accepted that his mother won't last out the day. She's used up all her second life days, and won't live again.

People should respect someone's wishes to stay dead, but Thomas's family will try to resurrect her. They need her to work the farm and cook their meals. They need her for a slave--a companion to Thomas out in the fields.

So Thomas has to stop them. He has to keep his mama dead.

Not a problem--at least, not until Mr. Milne arrives with Miss Sade. She's Thomas's age, and wears a white dress and hat. She has a face like an angel and hair like a halo. But she's also a zombie raiser--which means the barrier has fallen. The Moabites can invade with their undead army.

And no doubt they will. They want to own the sacred land of Zion's Canyon--the very location where Thomas's family will try to resurrect his mama. But he'll stop his family. Even if that means facing an army of zombies. Or his brother and father.

Or a zombie-raising belle.


I really quite enjoyed this book. The idea was an interesting one. The author could have done a little better job with explaining more about the blessings and second life days, but other than that the story moves at a good pace and has a very interesting story line. I have read several reviews that complained about the ending so I kept expecting some horrible ending, but I was actually quite please with the ending. Everything came together and the story worked itself out. I will definitely be keeping my eye on this author.

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**Kindle edition

Monday, April 2, 2012

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3) by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plains - except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay - no matter what the personal cost.


What to say about this final book in the Hunger Games...... I found myself slowing down towards the end because I was so immersed in the world of Panem and the lives of the characters that I did not want to finish. The entire trilogy is heart wrenching, edge of your seat, can't stop reading but this final book takes it up a notch. The devastation that The Huger Games have inflicted on the lives of our characters is just beginning to be seen. In this final book we see what physical and emotional damage they have all endured and their struggle to overcome things that are truly unbearable. This is a story that will stay with me for a long time and when it begins to fade I believe that I will be ready to read it again as a reminder of what true horror is and what it can do to the human spirit.

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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol - a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she's afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she's not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can't prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.

In Catching Fire, the second novel of the Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, testing her more than ever before... and surprising readers at every turn.

I was worried that the author would not be able to follow up the first book in the Hunger Game series, but was wrong! She did a wonderful job of continuing the story. I am glad that we got to see more of Katniss's life outside of the Hunger Games and what life was like in District 12 as well as get a glimpse into the other Districts. While the uprising is kind of played out behind the scenes, it still has a huge impact on the story line. I am very much looking forward to the next book just to see what will happen. How can Katniss possibly make a choice between Peeta and Gale? Will she even get the opportunity or will the choice be taken away from her. Will the uprising be a success and if it is what will the survivors do? So many questions left to be answered.

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