Sunday, May 26, 2013

Dirty Martini (Jack Daniels Mystery #4) by J.A. Konrath

Dirty Martini (Jack Daniels Mystery, #4)Dirty Martini by J.A. Konrath

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The latest "entertaining," "tangy," and "hilarious" Jack Daniels mystery from Anthony, Macavity, and Gumshoe Award finalist J.A. KonrathIn Whiskey Sour, Chicago police Lieutenant Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels hunted down a killer dubbed "The Gingerbread Man." In Bloody Mary, she busted a psychopath with a penchant for dismemberment. In Rusty Nail, it was a serial killer with a doozy of a family tree. And now, in Dirty Martini, Jack faces her toughest adversary yet: a sicko who's poisoning the city's food supply. Can she catch him -- and decide whether to accept boyfriend Latham's surprise proposal -- without destroying both her reputation and her sanity

Loving this series!! While I have no problem with the disturbing nature of the serial killers in the previous books, I found that I enjoyed this book even more than the previous three. Maybe because this one takes the series from several stand alone books to a true continuing story line. I love the characters and I really enjoyed the mystery aspect of this one. I thought I had it figured out, but was surprised. I have to admit that I am already half way through the next book which I started as soon as I woke up this morning and am enjoying it even more!!

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Rusty Nail (Jack Daniels Mystery #3) by J.A. Konrath

Rusty Nail (Jack Daniels Mystery, #3)Rusty Nail by J.A. Konrath

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lt. Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels of the Chicago Police Department is back, and once again she's up to her Armani in murder. Someone is sending Jack snuff videos. The victims are people she knows, and they share a common trait -- each was involved in one of Jack's previous cases. With her stalwart partner hospitalized and unable to help, Jack follows a trail of death throughout the Midwest, on a collision course with the smartest and deadliest adversary she's ever known. During the chase, Jack jeopardizes her career, her love life, and her closest friends. She also comes to a startling realization -- serial killers have families, and blood runs thick. Rusty Nail features more of the laugh-out-loud humor and crazy characters that saturated Whiskey Sour and Bloody Mary, without sacrificing the nail-biting thrills. This is Jack Daniels' third, and most exciting, adventure yet!


Totally enjoyed this third book in the Jack Daniels series. Love the characters, love the action and enjoy the mystery. I figured out the whodunit pretty early on but that did not detract from my enjoyment of the story. Looking forward to reading the next in the series.

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

The List by J.A. Konrath

The ListThe List by J.A. Konrath

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

JA Konrath is the author of six novels in the Lt. Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels thriller series, the latest of which is Cherry Bomb.

THE LIST is a bit of a departure for Konrath. It's a technothriller about a group of ten people who all have tattoos of numbers on the bottoms their feet, and don't know why.

One of them, a Chicago Homicide cop named Tom Mankowski, has had one of these strange tattoos since birth. When he investigates a violent murder and discovers the victim also has a tattooed number, it sets the ball rolling for an adventure of historic proportions.

To say more would give away too much.

Like the Jack Daniels series, The List combines laugh out loud humor with serious suspense and thrills.

If the Kindle had back jacket copy, it would read:

A billionaire Senator with money to burn...
A thirty year old science experiment, about to be revealed...
Seven people, marked for death, not for what they know, but for what they are...

THE LIST by JA Konrath
History is about to repeat itself


Action packed and enjoyable. I would have liked a little more character building and background but overall a good read. I read this because I am in the midst of the 'Jack Daniels' series and knew that this was loosely tied to that series. In hindsight this book is so loosely tied that it is practically nonexistent, but I am glad that I went ahead and read it. Seems that the author may have left an opening for another book. I really enjoyed the characters and would not mind seeing them again.

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***Kindle Edition

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Christmas Cookie Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery #6) by Leslie Meier

Christmas Cookie Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery, #6)Christmas Cookie Murder by Leslie Meier

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For Lucy Stone, the best thing about Christmas in Tinker's Cove has always been the annual Cookie Exchange. But this year, she's busy counting suspects instead of calories, when one of the guests is found strangled.


I really enjoy the Lucy Stone mysteries. Probably more for the small town atmosphere and insight that we get into real life through Lucy's problems with her children and town. The actual mystery in this one was more of a backdrop of the story. This book focused more on small town life, problems faced with growing children, etc. I really enjoyed it, but worry about Lucy. She came closer this time to becoming a part of the murder mystery instead of just solving it.

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Bloody Mary (Jack Daniels Mystery, #2) by J.A. Konrath

Bloody Mary (Jack Daniels Mystery, #2)Bloody Mary by J.A. Konrath

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Start with a tough but vulnerable Chicago cop. Add a hyperactive cat, an ailing mother, a jealous boyfriend, a high-maintenance ex-husband, and a partner in the throes of a mid-life crisis.

Stir in a psychopath littering the city with body parts. Mix with equal parts humor and suspense, and enjoy Bloody Mary--the second novel in the funny, frightening world of Lieutenant Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels.

Join Jack as she struggles to repair her train wreck of a personal life while tracking down and convicting one of the scariest serial killers in recent memory--a killer for whom getting caught is only the beginning...


I actually enjoyed this book more than the first. Although I figured out who the bad guy was early on it was still a great read. The gore factor was not quite as graphic in this book and there were several laugh out loud moments involving Mr. Friskers. Jack is a great main character and I can not wait to read about her next case.

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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Jack Daniels Series Order

I found this interesting bit on Amazon and wanted to not only share but have a convenient place to keep this for future reference. I have just finished reading 'Whiskey Sour' and have a feeling that I will be reading each and everyone of these other stories featuring Jack.


I purposely write each of my books so it can be read without any prior knowledge of any of the others. If you want to start on the last book and work backwards, or start in the middle, you can still enjoy the series without missing anything.

That said, some readers do want a chronological list of events in Jack's life. So here it is.

Besides the eight Jack Daniels novels, Jack and her cohorts have appeared as supporting characters in several other books and stories. Here's the order, from her years as a rookie cop, to the future.

SERIAL KILLERS UNCUT by JA Konrath and Blake Crouch
THE LIST by JA Konrath
RUSTY NAIL by JA Konrath
EXPOSED by JA Konrath and Ann Voss Peterson
HIT by JA Konrath and Ann Voss Peterson*
NAUGHTY by JA Konrath and Ann Voss Peterson*
PUSHED TOO FAR by Ann Voss Peterson
FLEE by JA Konrath and Ann Voss Peterson
SPREE by JA Konrath and Ann Voss Peterson
THREE by JA Konrath and Ann Voss Peterson*
FLOATERS by JA Konrath and Henry Perez
BURNERS by JA Konrath and Henry Perez
SHAKEN by JA Konrath
STIRRED by JA Konrath and Blake Crouch
LAST CALL by JA Konrath and Blake Crouch*
*coming soon

The Jack Daniels books also cross over with several books with my frequent collaborator Blake Crouch, and my pen name, Jack Kilborn. These include:

DESERT PLACES by Blake Crouch
LOCKED DOORS by Blake Crouch
BREAK YOU by Blake Crouch
AFRAID by Jack Kilborn
TRAPPED by Jack Kilborn
ENDURANCE by Jack Kilborn

Whiskey Sour (Jack Daniels Mystery, #1) by J.A. Konrath

Whiskey Sour (Jack Daniels Mystery, #1)Whiskey Sour by J.A. Konrath

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lieutenant Jacqueline 'Jack' Daniels is having a bad week. Her live-in boyfriend has left her for his personal trainer, chronic insomnia has caused her to max out her credit cards with late-night home shopping purchases, and a frightening killer who calls himself 'The Gingerbread Man' is dumping mutilated bodies in her district. Between avoiding the FBI and its moronic profiling computer, joining a dating service, mixing it up with street thugs, and parrying the advances of an uncouth PI, Jack and her binge-eating partner, Herb, must catch the maniac before he kills again....and Jack is next on his murder list. Whiskey Sour is full of laugh-out-loud humor and edge-of-your-seat suspense, and it introduces a fun, fully drawn heroine in the grand tradition of Kinsey Millhone, Stephanie Plum, and Kay Scarpetta.


Well I started this book thinking that I was starting a new cozy mystery series. I figured out right away that there is nothing cozy about this series.

I like the main character, Jack Daniels. She is a strong, somewhat screwed up detective with the Violent Crimes Unit and I like her a lot. The book held my attention and kept me reading to see what would happen next.

I am looking forward to continuing with this series to see what the author has in store for Jack and the other characters of this series.

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Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse (Wastelands #1)

Wastelands: Stories of the ApocalypseWastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse by John Joseph Adams

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Famine, Death, War, and Pestilence: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the harbingers of Armageddon — these are our guides through the Wastelands...

From the Book of Revelation to The Road Warrior; from A Canticle for Leibowitz to The Road, storytellers have long imagined the end of the world, weaving eschatological tales of catastrophe, chaos, and calamity. In doing so, these visionary authors have addressed one of the most challenging and enduring themes of imaginative fiction: the nature of life in the aftermath of total societal collapse.

Gathering together the best post-apocalyptic literature of the last two decades from many of today’s most renowned authors of speculative fiction — including George R.R. Martin, Gene Wolfe, Orson Scott Card, Carol Emshwiller, Jonathan Lethem, Octavia E. Butler, and Stephen King — Wastelands explores the scientific, psychological, and philosophical questions of what it means to remain human in the wake of Armageddon. Whether the end of the world comes through nuclear war, ecological disaster, or cosmological cataclysm, these are tales of survivors, in some cases struggling to rebuild the society that was, in others, merely surviving, scrounging for food in depopulated ruins and defending themselves against monsters, mutants, and marauders.

Complete with introductions and an indispensable appendix of recommendations for further reading, Wastelands delves into this bleak landscape, uncovering the raw human emotion and heart-pounding thrills at the genre’s core.

Contains the following stories:

Introduction by John Joseph Adams
The End of the Whole Mess by Stephen King
Salvage by Orson Scott Card
The People of Sand and Slag by Paolo Bacigalupi
Bread and Bombs by M. Rickert
How We Got In Town and Out Again by Jonathan Lethem
Dark, Dark Were the Tunnels by George R. R. Martin
Waiting for the Zephyr by Tobias S. Buckell
Never Despair by Jack McDevitt
When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth by Cory Doctorow
The Last of the O-Forms by James Van Pelt
Still Life With Apocalypse by Richard Kadrey
Artie’s Angels by Catherine Wells
Judgment Passed by Jerry Oltion
Mute by Gene Wolfe
Inertia by Nancy Kress
And the Deep Blue Sea by Elizabeth Bear
Speech Sounds by Octavia E. Butler
Killers by Carol Emshwiller
Ginny Sweethips’ Flying Circus by Neal Barrett, Jr.
The End of the World as We Know It by Dale Bailey
A Song Before Sunset by David Grigg
Episode Seven... by John Langan
Appendix: For Further Reading


Like all anthologies this one has some good stories and some not so good. I enjoyed the different ideas on how society could end. Especially found interesting the couple of stories that have a 'dumbing down' apocalypse.

Some of the more memorable reads for me were --

The End of the Whole Mess -- Stephen King
The People of Sand and Slag -- Paolo Bacigalupi
Dark, Dark Were the Tunnels -- George R. R. Martin
Judgement Passed - Jerry Oltion
Inertia -- Nancy Kress
Speech Sounds -- Octavia Butler

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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Under the Dome (Under the dome #1) by Stephen King

Under the DomeUnder the Dome by Stephen King

King's return to supernatural horror is uncomfortably bulky, formidably complex and irresistibly compelling. When the smalltown of Chester's Mill, Maine, is surrounded by an invisible force field, the people inside must exert themselves to survive. The situation deteriorates rapidly due to the dome's ecological effects and the machinations of Big Jim Rennie, an obscenely sanctimonious local politician and drug lord who likes the idea of having an isolated populace to dominate. Opposing him are footloose Iraq veteran Dale “Barbie” Barbara, newspaper editor Julia Shumway, a gaggle of teen skateboarders and others who want to solve the riddle of the dome. King handles the huge cast of characters masterfully but ruthlessly, forcing them to live (or not) with the consequences of hasty decisions. Readers will recognize themes and images from King's earlier fiction, and while this novel doesn't have the moral weight of, say, The Stand, nevertheless, it's a nonstop thrill ride as well as a disturbing, moving meditation on our capacity for good and evil.


My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Have had the HUGE hardcover edition of this book on my TBR shelf for quite some time. Luckily I managed to pick up the Kindle Edition for a good price a while back since I saw an advertisement for the TV movie of this book coming out in June and had to read it before I watched it.

It has been a while since I have read a King novel. He used to be my favorite author and back in the day I would read his books as fast as they came out, but I lost interest when he hit a stage in his writing career that veered away from his wonderful 'horror' beginnings.
I am very happy to see that he seems to have gone back to his roots with his writing style and I was right there under the dome with the inhabitants of Chester's Mill.

Very much looking forward to seeing what they do with this on TV.

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**Kindle Edition

Wanted: Undead or Alive (Love at Stake #12) by Kerrelyn Sparks

Wanted: Undead or Alive (Love at Stake, #12)Wanted: Undead or Alive by Kerrelyn Sparks

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

He's a vampire from the big city . . .

Phineas McKinney thought New York City was tough, until he was attacked by Malcontents—evil vampires who consider mortals to be snacks. Saved by the good vampires, Phin swore to devote his now undead life to stopping the Malcontents. He's got his job cut out for him when word comes that their enemy may be hiding in Wyoming. What does a city boy like him know about horses and campfires? Good thing he's got Brynley Jones with him . . . if only she didn't hate every vampire on earth.

She's a werewolf princess . . .

Bryn believes vampires are seductive and charming, and that makes them dangerous. So she's more than a little annoyed about teaming up with Phin, even if he is the only bloodsucker able to make her inner wolf purr. But as they hunt down the new leader of the Malcontents, danger threatens . . . and Phineas and Brynley discover a passion that will rock the foundation of their supernatural world.


Another fun book in the series. This is a fun series and I love how it is coming together as more than individual books.

Enjoyed reading about Phineas, though to be honest it was hard to take him seriously most of the time, given his 'Love Doctor' persona from previous books. What an ending too! Can't wait to see how Phineas handles his new life in future books.

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