Thursday, August 29, 2013

Review: Lowcountry Bombshell by Susan M. Boyer

Calista McQueen won the lottery. Other than that, her life has paralleled Marilyn Monroe's in so many ways starting with her birthdate and resemblance to Marilyn.

Now according to her psychic, Harmony, some man from her past feels she owes him big. And Calista is scared because the time is approaching fast when her life will coincide with the age at which Marilyn Monroe died or was murdered. This is one coincidence she would much like to miss.

In an effort to prevent her death, Calista hires Stella Maris's own private investigator, Liz Talbot. Along with her partner Nate, her brother Blake- the local law enforcement, and other friends and family, Liz finds that there is more to this mystery than an ex-husband stalking Calista. And it will take all of them and Colleen, Liz's ghostly best friend, to solve it and come out alive.

Aside from a wonderful mystery, there is a pretty nice romance going on in the book. A few sex scenes, tastefully done, make this an adult book.

I couldn't pick out the bad guy for sure until the end, though I had my suspicions. I like the way the relationships developed between Nate and Liz and between Liz and Calista during the course of the book.

It's a good book. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. Lowcountry Bombshell is the second Liz Talbot Mystery. It is expected to be released September 3, 2013 by Henery Press.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Memorable Secondary Characters

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is Top Ten memorable secondary characters. These are in no particular order.

1. Dr. Watson from the Sherlock Holmes books.

2. Hagrid from the Harry Potter series.

3. Piglet from the Winnie the Pooh books.
 "Don't underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering."

4.From the Princess Bride," My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

5. Tomas in the Testing by Joelle Charbonneau. You just can't tell what he is up to. Is he a good guy or a bad guy?

 6. Mrs. Korjev in Dirty Job by Christopher Moore. Mrs. Korjev is Russian and takes care of Sophie along with Mrs. Ling. Mrs. Korjev says things like, "She is strong like bear." And she refers to hamsters as "small bears."

7. Lazarus Long in Robert Heinlein's The Number of the Beast. He appeared as a lead character in other novels, but in this one he plays a secondary role. He steals the spaceship that's capable of time travel and goes back in time to rescue his mother.

8. Herr Silverman from Forgive me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick. Herr Silverman talks him out of suicide. He brings Leonard back to his house with him and talks to him and shares experiences with him in an effort to help him to deal with what's going on with him until he can get professional help.

9. Former Florida Governor, Clinton Tyree aka Skink prefers to be called Captain. He first appeared in Carl Hiaasen's novel Double Whammy. He has a somewhat shocking appearance: 6'6" tall, long silver hair and a beard to match, missing one eye - which he has replaced with an eye from a taxidermied owl, a beautiful smile. And then there are the clothes which vary some according to situation, after all, you don't need to wear your neon vest when you aren't picking up road kill. Captain cooks the roadkill for dinner. He's passionate about the environment and well read. He's really an unusual secondary character.

10. Officer Ricky Haines from Linwood Barclay's A Tap on the Window. He's creepy. "He seems nice enough until he does something like feel you up." He sort of plays good cop to his partner's angry bad cop. But the thing is, in reality he is not a nice guy. To find out just how bad, you'll have to read the book. Any more here would be spoilers.

Who is your favorite secondary character?

Monday, August 26, 2013

2013-2014 Nominees for the Georgia Peach Book Award for Teen Readers

The 2013-2014 Nominees for the Georgia Peach Book Award for Teen Readers have been announced. Once again, one award winner will be chosen and 2 honor books as well. Teens can vote at their local public library as well as at their school library.

Ashfall by Mike Mullin
Boy 21 by Matthew Quick
Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick
The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour
Erebos by Ursula Poznanski

Everyday by David Levithan
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
The Good Braider by Terry Farish
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Hunt by Andrew Xia Fukuda
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Leverage by Joshua Cohen
My Book of Life by Angel by Martine Leavitt

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick
Pink by Lili Wilkinson
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
UnWholly by Neal Shusterman

Which books do you think will make it into the top 3?

Georgia Peach Book Awards for Teen Readers

Every year teens vote for their favorite books out of the year's top 20 nominees at their high school libraries and at their public libraries in Georgia. The list is also used as part of the Summer Reading Program in the public libraries.

Goals for this include:

  1. To encourage Georgia young adults in grades 9-12 to recognize and read quality literature appropriate to their needs, interests, and reading levels.
  2. To honor outstanding works in YA literature.
  3. To recognize authors in the field of YA literature.
  4. To develop cooperative school and public library services to teens.

The 2012-2013 Winner was Divergent by Veronica Roth
Honor books were:
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Friday, August 23, 2013

Review: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

Leonard Peacock is a bit of a misfit. Maybe that's putting it mildly. Leonard is turning 18 years old. On this his 18th birthday, he has decided to shoot his former best friend, Asher, and then himself.

But first he wants to give his 4 closest friends gifts. His 4 closest friends are his next door neighbor Walt - an older man he watches Bogart movies with, Herr Silverman - his Holocaust teacher, Babcock - the violin virtuoso he listens to everyday at lunch, and Lauren who is homeschooled and whom he has a crush on.

Leonard's behavior is totally believable for someone who is deeply depressed and suicidal. As the novel goes on, it reveals how he has become the way he is. And still he manages to maintain a mustard seed of hope that someone might do or say the right thing to stop him. I think that's part of what motivates him to visit each of his friends before moving on to what he considers the second part of his day.

I gave the book 4 out of 5 stars. I really felt for Leonard. I found the ending somewhat ambiguous, I think it's supposed to be that way. And I liked it.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #9: Daughter of Camelot by Glynis Cooney

Waiting on Wednesday is sponsored over at Breaking the Spine

Daughter of Camelot by Glynis Cooney is due out September 24, 2013 from Mabon Publishing.

From Goodreads and the Publisher's website: "Raised in the shadow of a fort dedicated to training Knights of the Round Table, Deirdre thirsts for adventure. Born a twin, the soon to be 14 Deirdre dreams of having adventures like the noble men in her life. To prepare, she has her brother Rhys teach her secretly the combat lessons he learns as he prepares for his knighthood.

Instead at 14, Deirdre is sent with her older sister Nia to court to learn the etiquette and talents of a young woman.

Then crisis hits Camelot. Allegiances are challenged. Perceptions change. A prophecy foretelling the fall of King Arthur threatens to become a reality. Deirdre finds herself entangled in a deadly conspiracy that stretches deep into the very heart of Camelot. All Deirdre thought she knew and believed in is challenged when she embarks on a quest to defy Fate and save the King.

Filled with terrific suspense and budding romance, Daughter of Camelot is a fast paced adventure set against the turmoil at the end of the Arthurian era."

If you are a fan of Arthurian literature, like me, this looks like it will be an interesting title. I think it would also appeal to fans of medieval time period stories.

What book are you "waiting on" this week?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Top 10 Things That Make My Life Easier as a Book Blogger

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

1. Goodreads has been a true blessing: a place to read about books, review books, read other people's reviews, enter contests, make contact with authors, and keep track of what you've read and want to read...

2. The number one place I get my books to review.

3. My blogging platform

4. Grammarly Lite is "a spellchecker, dictionary and thesaurus designed for the web." I like it because not only does it catch most of my misspelled words it also catches it if I use a synonym. And it will catch it if I use bad grammar and offer solutions, although frankly there are times when it's been wrong and there wasn't a comma needed. It's a free download.

5. is great for obtaining books as well as reading and posting reviews.

6. My Kindle is the main way I read the books that I review. I love regular books too; it's just that my ARCs are usually e books. I love that I can carry more than one with me at a time in a small package.

7. Other bloggers and reviewers: I enjoy reading what others have to say about books and book related topics. It's nice to make connections too.

8.Similar to 7, blogging Memes: Sharing these with other bloggers is fun and can be informative.

9. The public library is a great resource for books, e books, and magazines (think reviews of upcoming titles).

10. My calendar is very important. For the time being I am using a spiral bound with a month overview followed by a week at a time. I don't have to worry about losing the data if the computer crashes.

So, what's your top tip for blogging or about books?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - My Top Ten Books Set in an Urban Fantasy Setting

Top Ten Tuesday is sponsored by The Broke and the Bookish.

1. Dreams Underfoot by Charles de Lint - Really I love all the books he writes that are set  in his city of  Newford.  I could populate this whole list with them and be done, but I won't.

2. Moon Called by Patricia Briggs - Again this is a series where I have loved all of the books I have read so far. Mercy Thompson rocks as a coyote shapeshifting mechanic.

3.Urban Shaman by C.E. Murphy - This is another series. It's referred to as the Walker Papers. Celtic mythology and Native American mythology and culture mixed in an urban setting.

4. Dirty Job by Christopher Moore - What if people just started dropping dead around you and it seemed like you had been recruited for the job of Death?

5. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman - What if it turned out your father was a god , but you didn't find out until after he died. And you didn't know that you had a mischievous brother either.

6. Above the Lower Sky by Tom Deitz - It takes place in the future, but mostly in the city and mixes folklore and fantasy. Orca shapeshifters?

7. Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman - Angels, demons and a misplaced antichrist in a modern urban setting.

8. Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost - "Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, aiming for the father who ruined her mother," from Goodreads. Dark fantasy in an urban setting.

9. Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison - Number one in the Hollows series is set in an alternate Cincinnati, OH. Rachel Morgan is a white witch and bounty hunter in a city of humans, elves, fairies, vampires, and more.

10. Frost Moon (Skindancer #1) by Anthony Francis - A dark fantasy set in an alternate Atlanta, GA with magical tattoos, vampires, werewolves, and other shapeshifters.

Do you have a favorite setting?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Review: Carpathian by David L. Golemon

Alice, a member of the top secret government agency known as the Event Group, has been fascinated with a relic since 1949 that was found in the wall at Jericho. It was the remains of an animal that she has been told cannot be.

Fast forward to present day, and Project Grimm is born as Alice continues to research the animal and the associated events of the Exodus. Things come to a head and she is forced to share her research with the team  before she is quite ready. The evidence shows that it leads to a small town in the Carpathian mountains. Reluctantly it seems, an Event is declared, and they are off. The team will find themselves racing against time and dangers in the land of the legends of vampires and more particularly werewolves.

One of the best lines in the book was: "Major Mica Sorotzkin followed what she believed were the Mossad agents and the archival priest out of the square and into the darkest of hours that would conclude somewhere in the mountains of  Eastern Europe."

Overall this is a good book. It's fast paced. The characters are interesting and well developed. It ends in a heck of a cliffhanger that has nothing to do with the current story other than that the characters involved are the same. The blurb says that readers of Clive Cussler would enjoy the book, and I agree. I give this book 4 stars out of 5.

Carpathian by David L.Golemon is #8 in the Event Group series. It was released July 30, 2013 by Thomas Dunne Books.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

At one magical instant in your early childhood, the page of a book—that string of confused, alien ciphers—shivered into meaning. Words spoke to you, gave up their secrets; at that moment, whole universes opened. You became, irrevocably, a reader.
— Alberto Manguel, A History of Reading 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: How to Kill a Vampire: Fangs in Folklore, Film and Fiction by Liisa Ladouceur

"Waiting On" Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

I have a little bit of a fascination for things that go bump in the night - vampires, werewolves, that sort of thing. I like reading the folklore and mythology behind our beliefs about such things. How to Kill a Vampire: Fangs in Folklore, Film and Fiction by Liisa Ladouceur examines just that as well as how it's been applied in films and fiction.

"Tell me something that's not obvious!" you cry out. Well, in addition to how to kill vampires from different cultures, the book gives advice about how to avoid becoming a vampire in the first place.

And according to the blurb, "It traces the evolution of how to kill the fictional vampire—from Bram Stoker’s Dracula and the Hammer horror films beginning in the 1950s to Anne Rice’s Lestat and the dreamy vamps of Twilight, True Blood, and The Vampire Diaries—and also celebrates the most important slayers, including Van Helsing, Buffy, and Blade. In exploring how and why these monsters have been created and the increasingly complex ways in which they are destroyed, the book not only serves as a handy guide to the history and modern role of the vampire, it reveals much about the changing nature of human fears."

All in all, if you have an interest in vampires that goes beyond just enjoying the fiction - what makes them tick, where do the writers get some of their ideas from - then this book might be worth your time. How to Kill a Vampire is due out September 1, 2013 from ECW Press.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Wish Could Have Had Sequels

Top 10 Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This week the topic is: 

 Top Ten Books I Wish Had Sequels - well not quite 10
(They were complete stories, but I could have read more about the characters or set in that world.)

It's really been difficult for me to come up with more than a couple. A lot of times in the past I've read series books. The stand-alone books that I read, mostly, really stood alone.

1. The Six-Gun Tarot by R.S. Belcher - It had a lot of interesting characters any of which could make a good subject for a novel. Another reviewer pointed out that because of the number of interesting characters, it would also be ideal for a short story format.

2. Heart of Danger: A Tale of Adventure on Land and Sea with Tod Moran, Third Mate of the Tramp Steamer Araby by Howard Pease - Published in 1946, I read it in 1976 at a young impressionable age. It is a YA book. "Tod Moran and Rudy Behrens, a talented young violinist-composer, undertake a perilous journey through occupied France during World War II. They meet and work with the French Underground." I enjoyed the adventures of the characters so much that I always wished there had been more adventures for them together.

3. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman - Richard Mayhew falls through the cracks into London Below and encounters adventure and danger trying to get back to London Above. There was definitely room for an encore here.

4. The Princess Bride by William Goldman - Just what did happily ever after entail for Buttercup, Westley, Inigo, and Fezzick? Of course a sequel  probably could never approach the greatness of the original.

5. A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore - I would love to see what happens as Sophie grows up.

Which books have you read that you wished had a sequel?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Review: A Tap on the Window by Linwood Barclay

A Tap on the Window by Linwood Barclay is due out August 6th 2013 from NAL Hardcover.

Stopped at a red light in front of Patchet's bar, Cal Weaver hears a tap on the passenger side window. It's Claire, the mayor's daughter asking for a ride home. He's all set to say no, until she says the magic words. She mentions she knew Scott, his son. So he lets her into the car.

This one small act of being a good Samaritan takes his already off kilter life and throws it down the rabbit hole. Claire disappears before the night is over. And Cal feels as a private investigator and one of the last people to see her that he must look for her. Cal finds good and bad in the process. And he finds a lot of dirty secrets hidden in the small town. All the "dirt" seems to interplay to get the final results.

Cal is investigating 2 mysteries at one time. Where is Claire? And what happened with his son. Who sold him the drugs that made him jump off the roof of the furniture store? (Both mysteries are resolved by the end of the book.)

Pacing in the book is a little slow in places, but the story is still interesting. I did find that until it got close to the end that I had no trouble putting it down when I needed to do so. The closer it got to the end, the harder it got to put it down. There were red herrings enough and the main characters were developed enough while others provided more of a background function or to help flesh out the main characters. But, there was repetition in the interviews with the different suspects, things that could have been perhaps summarized rather than drawn out each time.

I liked the book. I enjoyed it for the most part, but the slow pacing problem and the repetition got to me. It got better towards the end, but still, I am giving it 3 out of 5 stars.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Friday Reads: Carpathian by David L. Golemon

Carpathian (An Event Group Thriller) by David L.Golemon is my FridayReads for this week. This is #8 in the Event Group Adventures.

The book starts out talking about the Exodus from Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, and the fall of the walls of Jericho.There is of course suggestion of paranormal help. And then the disappearance of the many of the treasures of the people. 
From “Today a treasure of a different kind is unearthed at the lost ruins of Jericho, one that will change the history of God’s Chosen People for all time—the petrified remains of an animal that could not exist. Enter the Event Group. Led by Col. Jack Collins, the Group’s brilliant men and women gather to discover the truth behind not only the Exodus, but also the magnificent animals that led the defeat of Pharaoh’s army. On a whirlwind race to save the most valuable treasure and artifacts in the history of the world from those who would destroy them, the Event Group will come face-to-face with every myth, legend, and historical truth that has ever unfolded in the mythic and larger-than-life Carpathians—-or as the area was once known, Transylvania, the land of Vlad the Impaler."

  Right Now I am on about page 104. It’s interesting.