**Notice** Due to transfering back from a godaddy hosted wordpress blog back to blogger, reviews published before june 2017 don`t all have a pretty layout with book cover and infos. Our apologies.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Stacking The Shelves [219]

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Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!


If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


Happy Saturday to you all!!  Not much to report on the literary front, I am sad to say.  I only picked up one book. It's the first in the series and I'm really looking forward to it.


Updraft_by_Fran_Wilde


It is the time of year when my family and I spend four whole days immersed in pop culture.  San Diego Comic-Con was last weekend and it was a blast.


Aliens_30th


This was the panel they held in celebration of the 30th anniversary of  the movie Aliens.  Fun fact: this was the only acting role for the actress who played the little girl Newt.  She is now a 4th grade teacher.IMG_9543


I loved Guardians of the Galaxy and I look forward to the sequel.


StarTrek001


Here is some of the cast from Suicide Squad. It turns out Jared Leto really got into the role to the point he was playing pranks on his fellow cast members.StarTreks


This year was the 5oth anniversary for the Star Trek series.  They gathered cast members from all the different series for a panel where they talked about the series impact on society and remembered their times with on set.


So, tell me, what bits of literary culture have you added to your collection?


Roberts Signature


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Stéphanie Leroux [5:28 AM]Open in archives
Yesterday at 5:28:51 AM
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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Mary Poppins Opens the Door by P.L. Travers

Mary Poppins Opens the Door is the third book in the Mary Poppins series; click here to read my reviews of Mary Poppins and Mary Poppins Comes Back.

This is another wonderful addition to the Mary Poppins series!  In fact, I'd venture to say that this one might be one of the better ones.  Mary Poppins is a bit more Disney-esque in this one than she was in the previous two: a little softer and nicer.  I truly enjoyed all the magical stories as well.

The book opens with Mary Poppins' arrival on Guy Fawkes Day, while the Banks children are in the park setting off fireworks in celebration.  I had to remind myself that this book was written in 1943- in the opening chapter Mrs. Banks sends the children to the park in the care of the chimney sweep that she just met that afternoon.  Nowadays parents are reluctant to let their children be in the care of anyone other than close family!  They'd never let their kids go to the park with the neighborhood chimney sweep!  (Nor should they, of course.)  There's another part a little later on in another story where there's a comment made that would today be considered mildly racist.  We'll chalk that up to the 1943 publication date as well.

In between the spectacular arrival of Mary Poppins and her magical departure, the children meet a man with seven wishes to share, the cat who looked at a king, Neleus (a park statue who comes to life to read comics), Miss Calico (who sells magical flying candy canes), mermaids and talking sea creatures, and fairy tale characters come to life.  Mary Poppins continues to play a part in all these adventures, and to deny their happenings after the fact.  But while in the moment, Mary seems much more fun.  When Neleus comes to life, it is heavily hinted that it is by Mary's doing, and she grants him extra time when he and the children beg her for it.  She also lets herself have fun at the undersea party, dancing and chatting with all the sea creatures.

Maybe it was because Mary seemed kinder and gentler in this volume, or maybe it was because I knew and loved the characters even more after spending three books with them, but I was actually sad to see this one end.  Like the first two, this one read almost like a series of vignettes, and could possibly be picked up and read out of the order of the other books in the series.  I would recommend starting with Mary Poppins, though, if you want the most complete enjoyment.

Marie

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler Szarlan

What kind of murder mystery starts out with the full knowledge of the identity of the person who pulls the trigger? The obvious answer is that it has to involve magic of some sort.  This is one of the elements of this gripping tale of love, murder, family and magic by Chrysler Szarlan in the book The Hawley Book of the Dead.

The story begins with the glitz and glam setting of Las Vegas and a husband and wife magic show.  They are enjoying a level of success and fame that allows them to provide a stable life for their three daughters and themselves until fate steps in.  After a tragedy on stage, the remaining members of the family  are left to confront and live with what they learn of their ancestors and the legacy that has been handed them.  I am sure that it would be easy enough to find other stories that could loosely fit that description but, this is one that takes that skeleton and fleshes it out into an entertaining story.  Chrysler Szarlan uses setting and history to great effect and in a way which pulls the reader even further into the narrative.  Whether in the deserts of Nevada or a New England woods we are treated to scenes and scenery that helps build the energy and tension for this book.

We get to learn about the family mainly from the perspective of Revelation Dyer.  It is her thought, feelings and observations that bring this all to life to us for the most part.  The author did do something a bit unusual in shifting from Revelation's first point of view to a third person point of view centering on other characters.  The real surprise is how well it works.  To me, it came across as a clever way to give the intimate details that first person allows while still providing a glimpse into other parts of the story.

The Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler Szarlan is an interesting and entertaining book. It breaks a few a the rules and tells a story that will surely play the heart strings of its readers.  There is a bit of language and a small amount of suggestive dialog which earns this one a PG13 in my mind.

 

 

Roberts Signature

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Claiming by Jayne Faith and Christine Castle

I was quite disappointed with this fourth and final book of the Sapient Salvation series. What started off as a good story in book one and two, turned into a mediocre and predictable ending. I felt rushed throughout the book and like I was being led nowhere.

The characters, while we see emotions control most of their actions, never mature or evolve. Maya remains the innocent and timid girl we met in the beginning. While the authors would have us believe she has grown into a fierce woman with her interest in BDSM, it all seems fake and forced. Maya's interest in whips and floggers are simply to please Lord Toric and I just can't see it. Maya is too much of a submissive herself to dominate Lord Toric, the way he needs to be dominated. If the roles were reverse, I think I would believe that so much more, but as it stands, it just doesn't feel authentic. We never really see much in terms of bed play since the book is aimed more for the young adult and new adult crowds, but in my opinion, what's the point in brining up BDSM if you shy away from vanilla sex?

The whole series has been about the Calistan return to Earthenfell. The prophecy says that the time is near, however, as Lord Toric begins the steps for the return, the High Priestess is suddenly against him. For someone who truly believes in the prophecy, Lord Toric is quick to dismiss the leader of his faith, the one who is supposed to guide him through the process. For an alien race who is so advanced technologically and intellectually, you would think faith would be secondary instead of ruling their actions and emotions. In Lord Toric's case, his love for Maya is more important than his faith and while he still follows the steps of the prophecy, he is quick to dismiss everything else about his faith. For a leader to reject almost everything in the divine books, you have to wonder how his subjects will react to this. Personally, I'm not a religious or spiritual person, but the way everything played out with the prophecy and the Calistan faith, it's not right. You can't pick and choose what you like and ignore what you don't like.

I'm glad the characters did get their happily ever after. Lord Toric and Maya love each other, and even though they seem like the oddest couple, it's nice that love can triumph through difficult times. As I said, I was disappointed with the conclusion of this series. I think I was expecting something bigger and grander but it's almost as if the authors simply took the easy way out. My expectations were too high, but I'm glad I got to finish the series and that everything ends positively.

stephsig moon

Friday, July 22, 2016

Stacking The Shelves [218]

Stacking the Shelves


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!


If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


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Hey everyone! I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer so far. It's been quite warm here in Northern Ontario this past month. I'm so looking forward to this weekend. I actually have to full days off to do nothing, or everything I want. Relaxing in the sun, with a book, and cool drinks sounds like my weekend. I can't remember the last time I had two days off in a row and I really need it to recharge.


I only purchased a few books these past few weeks, and here they are!


july 23 2016


Purchased


This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab


Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey


The Claiming by Jayne Faith


Let me know what's stacking your shelves this week. Thanks of stopping by!


stephsig moon


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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Tales of the Peculiar by Ransom Riggs | Sneak Peek!

Hello!  I was super excited to receive an advance copy of a chapter from Ransom Riggs' forthcoming novel, Tales of the Peculiar.  It is going to be a sort of companion to the Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children trilogy.  If you've read those books, then you've met the peculiar children:  children who have some sort of supernatural feature.  Maybe they're invisible, or levitate, or eat their supper with the mouth in the back of their head.  They can also travel through time loops, and don't age.  Tales of the Peculiar is half folktale collection/half history book, and tells of some of the first peculiars.  It also gives hints as to the locations of other time loops, other than Miss Peregrine's.

The chapter that I got my hands on was "The Splendid Cannibals."  Talk about shock factor!  It's not every day that you read about cannibals so casually.  The cannibals aren't the peculiars in this case, though:  the villagers in Swampmuck are.  They live happily, farming the swamps around their village.  They work hard for a little money, only just enough to get by.  Then one day some very wealthy cannibals come to the village, and everything changes.  You see, it's a match made in heaven:  Swampmuckians regenerate their limbs whenever they're lost (like a lizard can re-grow it's tail if it's bit off) and the cannibals are hungry.

Tales of the Peculiar has Riggs' expected excellent prose.  As I was reading it, I could totally imagine that I was reading a history book (of a very strange-to-me society).  There was just enough familiarity to the setting to make it believable... even though it was populated with people who could regrow limbs and others who ate those limbs!  And if you've read the Miss Peregrine's Home trilogy, you'll know that one of the great features to those books is the antique photos of peculiar people; in Tales of the Peculiar we get pen-and-ink drawings by Andrew Davidson.  They're gorgeous!

After reading this teaser chapter, I'm totally looking forward to requesting a full-length copy when it's released in September!

Marie

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Hex Appeal by P. N. Elrod

It is no secret that I love a good anthology.  After all, there is no better way to get introduced to a new (or new to you) book series or author.  Most often there is good variety in these gems of literature and most of those times the good out ways the bad significantly.  In the book Hex Appeal by P. N. Elrod, it is pretty much an even split between the good and the so-so stories.

This collection of stories centers around the use of hexes and spells.  For the most part, the stories are of witches, wizards and other practitioners of magic.  P. N. Elrod does an excellent job of taking all these disparate works and blending them into an overall cohesive collection.  The reader is always aware that each is a new story but, the style of each allows them to flow together.  The net effect is almost a narrative of it's own.

This is not to say that I enjoyed all the stories.  A few of the stories were the type of pulp stories I can't really get into.  It is really nothing I can put my finger on except to say maybe I've seen these tropes done elsewhere in a way more appealing to me.  It really is a personal preference but, quite often that is what art and literature is all about.

One of my favorite stories was a Dresden Files short story I had no idea existed.  This one gives a new twist to very old legends of the native Americans.  I don't want to spoil but, you might get a fresh perspective on parenting and acceptance of those that are different.

Hex Appeal by P. N. Elrod is an interesting collection of stories that is sure to have something to grab the attention of most readers of speculative fiction.  There is a variety of violent scenes and scenes of a more mature nature.  This book gets an R rating from me.

 

Roberts Signature

Monday, July 18, 2016

Aberrant by Ruth Silver

I have mixed feelings about this book. I usually like all dystopian books I read, but lately I've been disappointed. Aberrant is similar to The Hunger Games, A Brave New World and Divergent, but at least it's different enough to make it original. Early in the book, we learn that the main character Olivia is different from everyone else, being the first and only baby to be conceived naturally in generations. In a world where fertility is non-existent, all babies are created in labs, and the government controls who and when you can get pregnant.

Usually, I really enjoy fast paced books but in this case, I think it was the book's downfall. It lacked detail and description, which made everything feel rushed. As a reader, you're left in a haze of confusion, wondering what is real and what is a lie. With every new place Olivia and Joshua visit, you would think we could learn more about this dystopian world, but on the contrary, we're left with more questions. Everywhere they go, there seems to be someone in charge but ultimately, we still have no clue who runs the "government" and what their endgame is.

Except for the possibility of fertility, Olivia isn't very special. She isn't especially strong or intelligent, and she doesn't inspire much confidence. She is loyal to Joshua, and their friendship could possibly lead to something more, however both are slow to make a move. As for Joshua, there's nothing memorable about his character. Even his loyalty to Olivia is questioned at some point when he pushes her away to spend time with strangers. Also, when he learns that his mother has lived a double life for most of his life, he doesn't really react to the news. He acknowledges it without question or emotion.

What I enjoyed the most about the book is the premise of infertility caused by medical science. I'm definitely pro-vaccination and I alway will be, but I'm also a strong believer in the scientific method. To use an untested vaccine globally is bound to cause some problems and while I have no clue whether infertility is a probable repercussion for vaccines, it's still a very interesting premise. While we did get this small bit of information, the story lacks so much more information about the history of society, the structure of the isolated cities and the government.

The ending was also very confusing. The author threw in some paranormal elements near the end but it wasn't great timing. Overall, I do think the idea behind the book is great but the book itself lacked detail and good editing, which doesn't inspire much confidence in the rest of the series.

stephsig moon

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Stacking The Shelves

Stacking the Shelves


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!


If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


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 Hello all!  Y'all were supposed to hear from my last week, but guess what?  Right before I was about to write the post, we lost power in a big storm!  Even blew the supposedly super-safe power strip that the computer was plugged into, and we thought we might have lost the whole computer for a few minutes.  By Saturday morning we had everything back up and running, but that was tense.  How dependent we are now on tech...  So what's your go-to power outage activity?  If I'm with others, I like good old charades (neither hubby nor puppy were willing to play with me, but the baby and I had fun making silly faces at each other) but if I'm flying solo I immediately prop up a flashlight or candle to read by!  So, a big THANK YOU to Robert for pinch hitting for me!


My stack isn't too big this go around.  I've just now started working again after maternity leave, and I'm also finishing up a grad school summer class.  And I live in the US, so (to my hubby's disdain) I've been catching Pokemon too.  ;)  (My workplace is a Pokestop AND a gym- I catch Pokemon right on my reference desk!)


Anyway, back to books!  Here's what I've brought home recently; what have you been stacking up at your house?  Leave your link below!


I Heard the Owl Call My Name Margaret Craven


I Heard the Owl Call My Name by Margaret Craven is a new-to-me book that I brought home.  I had trouble finding parking in a downtown area and ended up parking at a used bookstore.  I like to follow the rules, so I went into the store to become a customer while using their parking spot.  (My end goal:  the library across the street.)  They have a promotion where you get to choose a book from a shelf by the cash register with every purchase, and this was my freebie.  It's deemed a "classic" on the back cover (I've never heard of it) and the plot focuses on Native American mythology.  If the mythology is heavily spiritual you may find it reviewed here!


Dead Mountain Donnie EicharGone With the Gin Federle#scandal Sarah Ockler


Dead Mountain by Donnie Eichar, Gone with the Gin by Tim Federle, and #scandal by Sarah Ockler are all from the library.  Dead Mountain is a travelogue about climbing mountains in Russia.  Part adventure, part spooky campfire story, all true; recommended by my aunt, who's never steered me wrong in book recommendations.  Gone with the Gin is a "cookbook" of sorts... for cocktails!  They're all movie themed, which is totally fun.  Hubby and I watch a movie together every Friday night as our "date night," and it'll be fun to try some of the coordinating cocktails!  #scandal was checked out and read for my class, believe it or not, and I really enjoyed it!  I'll be reviewing it over on my personal blog next week.


I hope everyone has a great weekend!  Leave your link here to join in the fun!


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Marie

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Dark Run by Mike Brooks

What do you get when you combine Clint Eastwood with Han Solo and Captain Kirk?  Probably something closely resembling Ichabod Drift, captain of The Keiko, privateering ship in Mike Brooks new space opera Dark Run.  This tale combines elements of the American old west, pirates of the high seas and of course space travel.

This is a book that relies heavily on the characters in it.  We spend most  of our time with the central character, Ichabod Drift, and his development sets the pace for much of the story.  The rest of the cast is made of many of the archetypes we expect to accompany a swashbuckling captain who has a reputation with the ladies.  Everything from the brooding and simple-minded muscle to the mysterious first mate to the techie who is only at home with gizmos and computers.  These are always nice touchstones to help the reader into a world that is unfamiliar but, in this case, there could have been a bit more life brought into each of the characters.  Having each match too closely to their job makes them almost seem like 'off-the-shelf' characters too easily dismissed as set pieces.  They really aren't since each has a crucial role to the narrative but, it take a little to long to feel they are more than their job descriptions.

The story itself is largely character driven and suffers some from the underpowered crew.  We start with an established crew of privateers who manage to keep the bills paid while travelling the galaxy.  One day, the captain is given an offer he can't refuse and does not fully explain to the rest of the crew.  This leads to events that but the whole crew to the test.  This along with the revelation of some crew members buried past puts the future of the group in jeopardy.

Dark Run by Mike Brooks is credible start to what could be a very interesting series.  Breathing life into the crew and some timely exposition of their pasts could make for some entertaining reading in the future.  The violence and sex scenes earn this one an R rating in my book.

Roberts Signature

Monday, July 11, 2016

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows

My Lady Jane is definitely an original take on the historical novel. The authors took many liberties while writing this book. They more or less rewrote history and romanticized the short reign of Lady Jane Grey. It's full of satire, whimsy and witty dialogue. While the concept of shapeshifters in Tudor England and the situations the characters find themselves in are absurd, the whole thing simply works!

Lady Jane is a wonderful character. She would rather spend her day with her nose in a book than playing nice with the people of the English court. (I think this will resonate with so many readers!) So when she finds herself crowned Queen of England, not only is she confused, she has to find the courage to not run away. Luckily for her, her reign is short (nine days!) when her cousin Mary usurps the throne. While most of what happens in the first part of the book is loosely based on fact, the second part is mostly all fiction.

The book could have worked without the paranormal aspects but I think it adds just enough whimsy to make the story a little more special. Eδians are shapeshifters that transform into an animal form in their time of need. I love how the authors used the Eδians vs. Verities (the Eδians haters) conflicts to replace the Protestant-Catholic feud. Religion is a touchy subject to begin with so I think the authors found a nice loophole to avoid touching the subject. The way the Eδian lore is incorporated in the book is seamless, as if it's truly part of history.

Overtime Eδians can learn to control their ability to shift back and forth between their human and animal shapes, but Gifford (call him G) is stuck as a horse by day, only to shift back to his human side at nightfall. G and Jane are forced into an arranged marriage and they couldn't be more different. Jane has always envied Eδians but she never imagined being married to one. Actually, she never imagined being married to anyone, after so many failed attempts. G and Jane eventually learn to trust each other and even to love each other. Their story is a crazy and adventurous one so I'm glad the authors decided on a happily ever after, instead of killing them off, like real history dictates.

Although King Edward VI died at a young age and thus began Lady Jane's reign as Queen, the fictionalized Edward survived. His point of view was my least favourite of the three (I absolutely adored Jane and G so they were hard to beat), probably because he continuously had his head up in clouds (you'll know what I mean once you read the book). As confused as he may have been as a king, he did redeem himself in the end.

If you love whimsy and satire, I highly recommend picking up this book. I didn't except to love this book as much as I did. I love historical England books, especially the Tudor era (although my favourite is the Victorian Era) so I wasn't sure how I was going to like this reimagined story. As long as you keep an open mind, and don't take it too seriously, this retelling will surely make you chuckle.

Long live the Queen!


stephsig moon


P.S. The Lady Janies (what the trio of author call themselves) are having an event on their blog to celebrate Lady Jane's nine days of reign (July 9th - 18th). Check it out to win some awesome prizes!

Friday, July 08, 2016

Stacking The Shelves

Stacking the Shelves


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!


If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


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Happy Saturday All!!!  As is usual for short work weeks (Independence Day here in the US) this has felt like a very long week.  Sadly, even with the spare time, I didn't manage to do a lot of book shopping.  I did pick up this two interesting titles:


 Cibola Burn by James S. A. Corey


Hex Appeal


I did get a chance to try out Audible's new Channels service.  There is a multitude of podcasts, stories and lectures.  So far I've listened to things likes lectures on the rich and poor Romans and Napoleon as well as a few Onion news stories.


Audible-Channels-teaser-001


So, tell me, what new sources of stories have you found?


Roberts Signature


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Thursday, July 07, 2016

Moonhead and the Music Machine by Andrew Rae

Joey Moonhead is just like any other teen... a bit average in grades and popularity.  He has a good friend who's nicknamed Spokes, and crushes on the prettiest girl in school.  Moonhead and the Music Machine follows Joey on his quest to win the school's talent show and the pretty girl's heart.  Along the way he discovers a hidden talent and the true friendship that he has with Spokes.

So what makes Moonhead and the Music Machine unique?  Joey literally has a moon for a head.  When school and bullies get to him, his head can just leave his body and go floating off on adventures in space or the jungle or the deep sea or whatnot.  There's kind of a hidden pun in the description of Joey's demeanor:  he comes across as very spacey!  (Ha ha ha ha ha... I think my job in youth librarianship gives me license to make puns like that, right?)  It's not just him, either:  his parents (who both also have moons for heads) are also very absent-minded about him.  When Joey decides to make his own instrument for the talent show, he just kind of halfheartedly throws things together.  He needs help in order to make a truly functioning "music machine," and this help comes from another supernatural kid:  Ghostboy.  (Yup- he's a ghost.)

Another unique feature to Moonhead and the Music Machine:  it's format.  It's a graphic novel!  It's in full color with bold lines and all text/speech in bubbles to make it "pop" from the artwork.  I especially enjoyed the scenes where Joey and/or his friends are playing music, and how that is represented by author Andrew Rae.  He uses these sorta psychedelic swirls and pops to show the flow of the music, and it really works!  I love it.

The reader doesn't get a ton of insight into supporting characters, but you do get to know Moonhead really well, and it's great to see his character grow and develop.  While I was reading the book, I really thought that I had the ending figured out- boy, was I wrong!  You'll never see it coming, I promise.  It's a good surprise, and you'll have to read the book to find out!

Two thumbs up to this YA graphic novel!

Marie

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Reliquary by Sarah Fine

One thing I look forward to when a new book by a new author comes out is the possibility of a new magic system to explore.  In Reliquary by Sarah Fine, we get introduced to one of the more unique systems of magic.  Some are practitioners and some are merely sensitives

This is a story brought to us through the eyes of our main character, Mattie Carver.  She's a young lady who has her life planned to perfection and we all know what happens to well laid plans.  As her plans start go awry, we get to learn more about Mattie, her fiancé Ben and his brother Asa.  These are the characters we get to learn the most about as the adventure unfolds.  There is a lot of self realization for Mattie as she navigates the underworld of magic and tries to learn its rules.  When it comes to her fiancé and his brother and even some of her family members, Mattie is more adept at finding questions rather than answers.

The story itself has a decent flow.  It does suffer from pacing in some spots.  Part of that comes from the action scenes.  The narrative for many of the action scenes are overly verbose.  In an effort to get the details of the scene, we lose the  tempo of the struggles in depth of the description.  Unfortunately, some of the spots where a bit of detail would be welcome wind up a bit thin.

Reliquary by Sarah Fine is a urban fantasy that reads like an adventure/romance novel.  It explores not only the discovery of magic in a mundane world but, the beginning of the adventure of Mattie's self discovery.  This book has much violence (though not gratuitous) very frank discussions of sex and sexuality as well as some grown up language.  This is a definite R rated.

 

Roberts Signature

 

Monday, July 04, 2016

First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

I'm not the first reviewer here on the blog to discuss Charley Davidson books. Actually, Lili reviewed and was "Daring You to Read..." this very book a few years back. I don't know why I waited so long to get into this series, but I'm really glad I did. First Grave on the Right is hilarious, fun and witty.

I think it's a perfect book to listen to as an audiobook. To be honest, this was the first audiobook I ever listened to in its entirety. I've tried to listen to books multiple times but I've never quite understood the appeal, until now. The narrator of First Grave on the Right, Loralei King, is wonderful and easy to listen to. The voices and the accents she uses makes it easy to follow and differentiate the characters. She reads the sarcastic comments perfectly and simply "gets" Charley Davidson's humour. Berls from Fantasy is More Fun actually recommended this series based on the narrator, and I think from now on, I'll be making more informed purchases when it comes to audiobooks.

As for the actual story, it's the perfect mix of mystery, paranormal and romance. If it wasn't for the paranormal aspects, the story would actually read like a cozie mystery. It has the humour and the crazy situations of a cozie but the author added this wonderful twist, which is Charley Davidson. Charley is a private investigator/police consultant/bartender/grim reaper. That last job title is obviously not on her business card. When we first meet her, she has a lot on her plate but even with her disorganized life she's able to do her job. She's able to juggle four murders, a comatose prisoner from her past, a mysterious shadowy lover, a mysterious shadowy Big Bad, and oh so many ghosts. As a grim reaper, she can see ghosts, and her job as a grim reaper is to try to help them get to the other side. Wherever that may be. As for being a PI, she got into that business because ever since she was five years old, her detective father and uncle have used her special ability to solve murders.

Charley is the perfect female PI for a paranormal romance. She's smart, courageous and resourceful. Her sarcastic wit is very similar to mine so I feel like we would get along perfectly. Her obsession with coffee borders on unhealthy, but come to think of it, so does mine. Her sensual encounters with a mysterious shadow being are pretty steamy, and the more the being interacts with Charley, the more she's led to believe he's Reyes, a complicated character she once met when she was in high school. Charley knows very little about this Reyes, but the more she investigate, the more she wants to find out. We do end up finding out who and what he is at the end of the book, and although I'm not surprised, it raises so many more interesting questions!

If you're a newbie to audiobooks like me, I highly recommend trying this one out as an audio. If you're reluctant, or simply prefer reading, this story is still a great choice. Be prepared to laugh out loud and get sucked into this grim reaper tale.

stephsig moon

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