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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Hexed by Kevin Hearne

Author: Kevin Hearne
Title: Hexed
Publication: June 7, 2011
Publisher: Del Rey
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 320
Audience: 18 and up
Rating: 5 out of 5
Source: Purchased

Synopsis (from the cover): Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, doesn’t care much for witches. Still, he’s about to make nice with the local coven by signing a mutually beneficial nonaggression treaty—when suddenly the witch population in modern-day Tempe, Arizona, quadruples overnight. And the new girls are not just bad, they’re badasses with a dark history on the German side of World War II.

With a fallen angel feasting on local high school students, a horde of Bacchants blowing in from Vegas with their special brand of deadly decadence, and a dangerously sexy Celtic goddess of fire vying for his attention, Atticus is having trouble scheduling the witch hunt. But aided by his magical sword, his neighbor’s rocket-propelled grenade launcher, and his vampire attorney, Atticus is ready to sweep the town and show the witchy women they picked the wrong Druid to hex.

My thoughts:
 I love this series. My husband and I are going to a book reading and signing to see Kevin Hearne, and three other authors at the end of this month. I'm trying to read them all before then, so I may review them all before then. Please bear with me.
Atticus is at it again. This time he has two weirdos following him, a coven of witches out to kill him, and a group of Bacchus worshipers ready to burn down the town.  All the while he is trying to grow back his ear, please the Morrigan and Flidais, train his padawan, and run his bookstore. However, Mr. O'Sullivan cannot stay out of trouble, even after he defeated Aengus Og. Even the trickster Coyote ropes him into helping him with a demon problem. There is plenty of humor mixed in. There are so many shenanigans he gets into. I love his Irish Wolfhound, Oberon- he is the best comedic relief as is his neighbor the Widow MacDonagh. She had me rolling in the scene where Atticus is attacked by two witches at her house. There is a enough drama, comedy, and action to keep you from putting this book down. Seriously, if you love to laugh, love urban fantasy- check this book out NOW!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Finder by Pepper Thorn

Author: Pepper Thorn
Title: Finder
Publication: March 24, 2014
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Genre: Fairy Tale, Young Adult
Pages: 200
Audience: 13 and up
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Source: Purchased

Synopsis (from the cover): All Sara wanted was her family, back again,but Faery bargains always come with a price,
and what you look for is not always what you seek.

Ever since she can remember, Sara McAlister has had a knack for finding things. What she has not had for the last year is a family.

Since the accident that stole her dad and little sister, Sara has been living a lie, pretending that everything was fine, and that she and her mom were moving on. But when Queen Titania summons her into the beautiful and treacherous Faery, Sara gets a chance to make her lies reality.

The Holy Grail has disappeared, and King Oberon with it. Sara's knack may be the key to saving them … and getting her life back. But there are more powers at play than even Queen Titania is aware of.

Can Sara use her increasingly unreliable gift to complete a quest that has claimed the lives and sanity of Faery’s finest knights


My thoughts:
I found out about this indie author and book from a small convention I went to called the Alabama Phoenix Festival. Pepper Thorn was a panelist in a panel I attended. She of course promoted her book. I had mentioned wanting it after spotting it in the Dealer's Room and reading the synopsis. My husband had bought it for me while I was at the panel. I went back to get it signed. 
This is a fairy tale...you have the Fairy Queen, Titania, and the King, Oberon. For me personally, it took a little while to get into. I think it really hit its stride around page 100. However, I was reading it each day for about 30 minutes at work, and I had just changed from night shift to day shift...so I was dealing with lack of sleep and other kinds of issues. It could have been me, not the book. I did have a problem with Sara just jumping into the fairy realm without thinking. I felt there were some things left untethered. Like how did Sara learn about her gift? How did the fairies know about Sara and her gift? Why did Nuthelm follow Sara through out her life? At the end Sara is given another gift in the fairy realm, but when she comes back to the human realm, there is no trace of it, so what happened to her gift? Why happened to the twin guards?
Also, this is the second novel that I have read that uses Rock City as a meeting ground. This first was American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I thought it was kind of neat especially since that is where I went for my honeymoon, and I know the landscape a bit. Sara goes into the fairy realm on Monte Sano Mountain, which is really close to my home town. To me, that was really cool.
I thought the book was great. It follows Sara who is on an fairy quest and pretty much learns how to deal with her grief and guilt along the way. There are many creatures from unicorns to tiny tree people. It stays pretty action packed, except for the walking/vision scenes. I found those a little slow, but I think they are imperative to the story. I put young adult for the suggested reading age, but I would suggest 13 and up for this story. It is a fantastic novel filled with all sorts of fairy creatures, villains, and heroes. 
 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Audio Review: Don't Breathe A Word by Jennifer McMahon

Title: Don't Breathe A Word: A Novel
Author: Jennifer McMahon
Narrator: Lily Rains
Publisher: Harper Audio
Format: Unabridged Audio
Length: 12 hrs 2 mins
Publication: May 17, 2011
Source: Library
Genre: Psychological Suspense


Synopsis: 
On a soft summer night in Vermont, twelve-year-old Lisa went into the woods behind her house and never came out again. Before she disappeared, she told her little brother, Sam, about a door that led to a magical place where she would meet the King of the Fairies and become his queen.

Fifteen years later, Phoebe is in love with Sam, a practical, sensible man who doesn't fear the dark and doesn't have bad dreams--who, in fact, helps Phoebe ignore her own. But suddenly the couple is faced with a series of eerie, unexplained occurrences that challenge Sam's hardheaded, realistic view of the world. As they question their reality, a terrible promise Sam made years ago is revealed--a promise that could destroy them all.

My Thoughts: I loved this read. The suspense was intense, i was on pins and needles until the very end. Then my jaw hit the floor. This psychological suspense had my mind in knots. From the very beginning I was suspicious of the Fairy King and whether he was real or fantasy. I quickly came to the  conclusion that he must be real or there is a huge conspiracy encompassing just about everyone in the state of Vermont. Lisa story and having to know what really happened to her her kept me moving through to the end. I was not disappointed by this read. 

This is a single voiced unabridged audio performed by Lily Rains. The original material works wonderfully as on audio presentation. Lily does an excellent job differentiating between characters. She uses tone, inflection, and accent. Gender differences are also clear.  Lily adds that extra suspense to the book and breathes life into each character. Pace is maintained throughout the production and plot flows without interruption. During the opening music is used and creates the creepy atmosphere appropriate to the book. I enjoyed Lily's narration and look forward to listening to her again. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Audio Review: W.A.R.P. by Eoin Colfer

Title: The Reluctant Assassin 
Author: Eoin Colfer
Narrator: Maxwell Caulfield
Publisher: Listening Library
Format: Unabridged Audio
Length: 9 hrs 29 mins
Publication: May 7, 2013
Source: Gift- Audio Book Sync
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction


Synopsis: 
Riley, a teen orphan boy living in Victorian London, has had the misfortune of being apprenticed to Albert Garrick, an illusionist who has fallen on difficult times and now uses his unique conjuring skills to gain access to victims' dwellings. On one such escapade, Garrick brings his reluctant apprentice along and urges him to commit his first killing. Riley is saved from having to commit the grisly act when the intended victim turns out to be a scientist from the future, part of the FBI's Witness Anonymous Relocation Program (WARP) Riley is unwittingly transported via wormhole to modern day London, followed closely by Garrick. 

In modern London, Riley is helped by Chevron Savano, a nineteen-year-old FBI agent sent to London as punishment after a disastrous undercover, anti-terrorist operation in Los Angeles. Together Riley and Chevie must evade Garrick, who has been fundamentally altered by his trip through the wormhole. Garrick is now not only evil, but he also possesses all of the scientist's knowledge. He is determined to track Riley down and use the timekey in Chevie's possession to make his way back to Victorian London where he can literally change the world.

My Thoughts:
I was surprised by how much I loved this book. Chevie Savano is a tough girl just trying to become a "real" FBI agent. She is taking her small role seriously. Riley is just trying to survive day to day in late  1890's England. This is a test within it self not to mention Riley is training to be an assassin and his teacher is one scary dude. 

During the story we learn how each main character came to be in their current situation and the motivations for their actions. It's easy to see why Agent Orange's father hid the time keys. Perhaps he should have moonlighted in another area or time. 

This is an entertaining read. It's clear there is a need for a second book but this could have easily been a standalone. I'm excited to see where the next book takes Chevie and Riley I'm positive adventure is in their future. 

This is a single voiced unabridged audio performed by Maxwell Caulfield. He does a outstanding job with variations in gender and with differentiating each character. Pace is well maintained throughout the production. Caulfield is able to breathe emotion and intent into his narration. 



Monday, September 15, 2014

Excerpt & Giveaway: Track Presius Series by E.E. Giorgi

Track Presius Series, Books 1 & 2

by E.E. Giorgi

Book Blast on September 8, 2014



Chimeras

by E.E. Giorgi


Book Details:


Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Published by: Quemazon Publishing
Publication Date: April 5 2014
Number of Pages: 406
ISBN: 978-0996045100
Purchase Links:


Synopsis:

Haunted by the girl he couldn't save in his youth, and the murder he committed to avenge her, Detective Track Presius has a unique gift: the vision and sense of smell of a predator. When a series of apparently unrelated murders reel him into the depths of genetic research, Track feels more than a call to duty. Children are dying -- children who, like himself, could have been healthy, and yet something, at some point, went terribly wrong. For Track, saving the innocent becomes a quest for redemption. The only way he can come to terms with his dark past is to understand his true nature.


Kudos:

Chimeras is now a Reader's Favorite 2014 Book Award Finalist!! Check it out here: Reader's Favorite.

Read an excerpt:

PROLOGUE
It was one of those hot summer afternoons, with air made of cobwebs and a glare as sharp as pencils.
“Something’s wrong today,” I said.
“It’s L.A.,” my partner replied. “Something’s always wrong in L.A.”
A few hours later Johnny Carmelo was dead, his brains skewered by the whistling path of one of my bullets. He collapsed on the pavement, a red trickle of blood weeping down his face. They told me they weren’t going to clear me back to duty until the investigation was over. I left the next day. I drove up to the Sierras, camped in my truck, and hunted at night.
There are days I long to disappear in the wild, go back to the predator life I was meant to have. Kill the prey or be killed: it’s in my genes.
A chimera, that's what I am. And this is my story.




Mosaics

by E.E. Giorgi


Book Details:


Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Published by: Quemazon Publishing
Publication Date: 9/2014
Number of Pages: ~410
ISBN: 978-0-9960451-1-7
PreOrder Today:


Synopsis:

Dubbed the Byzantine Strangler because of the mysterious mosaic tiles he leaves at the crime scene, a new serial killer is stalking the streets of Los Angeles. Racing to decipher the code encrypted in the tiles before the killer strikes again, Detective Track Presius faces a new challenge: the "awakened" genes that make his vision and olfactory sense so sharp are now taking a toll on his life. When a new set of tiles appears in his own backyard, Track makes a chilling realization: those very same genes that are threatening his life are drawing the Byzantine Strangler closer and closer. The line between hunter and hunted has suddenly blurred. Will Track be the next piece of the mosaic puzzle?


Read an excerpt:

MOSAICS – excerpt

A dark hallway with no windows opened to the right of the foyer. The smells changed—the staleness of a vacant place and the victim’s scent—feminine, ambitious, seductive. The wall displayed wrought iron sconces and a collection of photos of Amy—Amy in her graduation gown, Amy with friends, Amy with her cat. A pretty face, I noticed, whose beauty didn’t distract from an underlining drive for determination.

Her bedroom was orderly. There was a half-empty birth control kit in her nightstand drawer, but no boyfriend in her life, according to the friends and relatives interviewed, only an ex-husband who now lived in Oregon. Toiletries on her vanity table, regular clothes in her closet, a few garments in her drawers that told me she was no nun, but no distinctive masculine scent anywhere. If she shared her bed with somebody, she’d done a good job at hiding it. The sheets smelled clean and freshly washed.

The next door let to her home office, a small carpeted room with a couple of white bookcases, a table with a desktop and printer, a metal chair, and, on the opposite side, a futon, a laundry basket, and an ironing table folded against the wall. Through the window, the hills of Montecito glowed against the evening sky, a wavy fabric of glimmering lights.

I inhaled. The bookshelves were crammed with medical books, the desk buried under stacks of papers.

The sweet, foul smell of the tiles…

I sat at the desk, opened the drawers, sniffed the keyboard, then the computer screen.

Not here. Close, though.

The papers. He went through the pile of papers.

I rummaged through the folders not knowing what to look for, just tailgating a smell. Gloved fingers had brushed through printouts and graphs, tables, essays, research proposals…

Did he find what he was looking for? And if so, what?

Article after article of scientific jargon, each title some random permutation of the words immunodeficiency, vaccine, study design, therapy, antiretroviral.

“What are you gonna see in the dark?” By the office door, Satish flipped the light switch.

“Smells.”

“On paper?”

“Yeah. And patterns, too,” I said. I sniffed the top right corner. I could follow the gloved fingers searching through the pile of papers, most likely a left thumb holding up the top ones so he could read the titles, and a right index flipping through. Until the trace stopped.

He found what he was looking for. Probably took it with him.

I inhaled and gave one last look around. Everything else seemed untouched.

“What did Gomez have to say?”

Satish shook his head sideways. “Autopsy’s scheduled for Thursday morning. Just got an invitation. Wanna join the party?” He smiled. Waited.

Amy Liu smiled too, from a silver frame on her desk, a man’s hand draping her shoulder, and a strand of black hair blowing over her face.

“Fine,” I said, walking past him out of the room. “I’ll keep you company on Thursday, but—” He switched the lights off and followed me back to the foyer. “Uh-uh, Track. First things first. Tomorrow you pee in a cup and get your LAPD badge back.”

“I pee in a what?”

We locked the house, replaced the yellow crime scene tape. The air was tainted with a hint of humidity and the scent of jacaranda blooms. A handful of pale stars dotted the sky, the glow of downtown beneath them like a disoriented dawn. A broken streetlight strobed from farther down the street. The Latino music persisted. Yo sufrĂ­ mucho por ti, mi corazon… Satish unlocked the car and slid behind the wheel. “Union mandated drug test. Your leave of absence from the department was longer than ninety days. Welcome back to regulations, Detective Presius.”

I made a face.

“Look at it this way. Whoever handles those cups has it way worse than you.” He started the engine and backed out of the driveway. “Shit happens, Track. Never forget that.”

“Hard to forget on days like this.”

I rolled down the window and let cool air blow in my face. The freeway droned in the distance, as another night descended upon L.A. Another murder, another killer on the loose.

It was June 2009, the beginning of summer.

Killing season had just started.





What Readers Think:




Author Bio:

E.E. Giorgi is a scientist, a writer, and a photographer. She spends her days analyzing genetic data, her evenings chasing sunsets, and her nights pretending she's somebody else. On her blog, E.E. discusses science for the inquiring mind, especially the kind that sparks fantastic premises and engaging stories. Her detective thriller CHIMERAS, a hard-boiled police procedural with a genetic twist, is now available on Amazon.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich (Audiobook)

Author: Stephanie Evanovich
Narrator: Katie Schorr
Title:Big Girl Panties
Publication: July 9, 2013
Publisher: Harper Audio
Genre: Chick Lit, Romance
Pages: 368
Length: 9.5 hours
Audience: 18 and up
Rating:  3 out of 5
Source: Public Library

Synopsis (from the cover):  Holly didn't expect to be a widow at thirty two. She also didn't expect to be so big. After her husband's death, food was the one thing she could always count on. Now, those extra pounds make flying coach feel like medieval torture- especially when she's squished next to Logan Montgomery. A personal trainer to famous pro athletes, her seatmate is so hot that he makes Holly sweat in all the right (and so embarrassingly wrong!) places.
Logan finds himself intrigues by Holly's sharp wit and keen insights, so he impulsively offers to get her back in shape. Holly turns out to be a natural in the gym, slimming down into a  bona fide looker with killer curves- and a new kind of hunger. Before either of them can stop it, the easy intimacy of their training sessions leads to even more steamy workouts away from the gym. But can a man whose whole life depends on looks commit himself to a woman who doesn't fit his ideal? Now that Holly's turning other men's heads, does she even need Logan anymore? Are they a couple built to last...or destined to fizzle? 


My thoughts:
I'm still a little unsure about this book. It seemed to do a lot of fat shaming. In my mind Holly was never obese. She was just overweight. From other reviews I read that was the main problem a lot of people had with the book. The author just did not portray overweight people properly. Some people are overweight, but are otherwise healthy people. And some people just do not care and are happy with themselves, I fall into this group. So I had a hard time sympathizing with Logan's view of Holly and sometimes Holly as well. 
Another problem that arose from the novel was the randomly changing view points. The author would flip from Logan to Holly to Amanda to Chase to Natalie to Tina except shuffle that up a bit. I didn't have a huge problem with it because the narrator, Katie Schorr did a great job of doing a distinct voice for each character. My husband listened to a little of the book with me and we both think she sounds like Rebecca Soler who narrated Cinder and Scarlet. They are both great narrators in my book.
 Even though this book had some flaws there was something about Logan and Holly's relationship that really pulled at my heart strings and made me care about the characters and even dislike a few.
Overall, this book is just a short sweet romance novel. I enjoyed it and if you are more into romance than I am, I'm sure you'll enjoy it too!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (Audiobook)



Author: John Green 
Narrator: Jeff Woodman

Title:  An Abundance of Katherines

Publication: September 1, 2006

Publisher: Brilliance Audio

Genre: Young Adult

Pages: 272

Length: 6 hours and 48 minutes

Audience: 16 and up

Rating: 1 out of 5

Source: Public Library



Synopsis (from Goodreads): Katherine V thought boys were gross

Katherine X just wanted to be friends

Katherine XVIII dumped him in an e-mail

K-19 broke his heart

When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton's type happens to be girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact.



On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun--but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl. Love, friendship, and a dead Austro-Hungarian archduke add up to surprising and heart-changing conclusions in this ingeniously layered comic novel about reinventing oneself.



My thoughts: I have heard a lot about John Green and I have purchased Fault in Our Stars, but it is currently on my bookshelf collecting dust while I’m reading six other books. So I thought I would go with an audiobook at the time because I had nothing else better to listen to and I really wanted to try a John Green book. I guess I should have not gone with An Abundance of Katherines, but our library is so underfunded, that this was my only John Green option. I kept listening to it, hoping it would get better. By the end of it I was tired of Colin Singleton, the term “fug” in any format, anagrams, and math terminology. At one point, I was almost certain that Colin had Asperger’s Syndrome. The book never mentioned it so I guess he didn't. This entire book was about him and his wants and obsessions. He never seemed to care about other people. It was annoying. However, his friend Hasan was the comedic relief, but even he got annoying at times. The other main characters were uncertain about what they wanted as well. So it was full of coming of age angst. The book was a good book about being yourself and coming of age novel. However, there was too much stupid love drama with the Katherines, whining from Colin, anagrams, and math for my taste. 
The narrator, Jeff Woodman does a great job. He does a different voice for each character. His southern accent for Hollis and Lindsay and the other residents of Gutshot is over the top, but it works. Some people really do sound the way he narrated them. I think he did a fantastic job. You can tell when Hasan is speaking or Colin or one of the many Katherines. He is a wonderful narrator, but the book was kind of poop for me. If you love John Green I suggest giving it a try, but if you are not a John Green fan, or have never read any of his books I was told to try Looking for Alaska.