Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Shadowing: Hunted by Adam Slater

“The girl lies by the canal, her face turned upwards like a stargazer. But she will never see the stars again. Her eyes have been torn out. The rain fills the empty sockets until they brim over, spilling bloody tears down her cold, white cheeks..”

Hunted is a YA paranormal horror novel. This tale is told from the point of view of fourteen year old protagonist Scott Callum. Callum has always known he was different; he lives with his Gram in a small crammed cottage, sees ghosts and has amazing luck. He views himself as an outcast because of his abilities and keeps to himself. Experiences from his elementary school days, have kept him from sharing his strange gifts with anyone.  Young people are being brutally murdered by the eerie “Hunter” and messages are being left in blood all over town.   Strange things begin happening to Callum, the ghosts he normally sees at the Nether Marlock Church are no longer there, and instead the town is filled with even more ghosts than usual.  He senses something evil is following him. He sees a strange ghost child with a huge grizzly dog and thinks they are the evil following him. He begins having dreams and premonitions. When he has a vision or senses there is danger, his hands tingle and go numb.  At school, this occurs and he saves a new age Goth girl named, Melissa from death. Callum slowly learns that this quirky girl is brave, smart and not at all afraid of the supernatural.   Callum and Melissa begin to search for clues about the large dog and ghost boy he has seen. Together they learn that Callum is a chime child. This is a child born beneath a full moon between midnight on Friday and the cockcrow on Saturday.  They also learn that once every century, the boundary between the demon Netherworld and the human world weaken. Creatures gather, preparing to cross over, to bring death and destruction. This time is called The Shadowing.  Callum must face who he is, what is hunting him, who his friends are and whether or not he wants to save the world.
The story started off slow for me, but once it took off I was completely engrossed. I loved watching Callum go from a slumped shouldered unsure teen into a more confident young man.  I liked Melissa from the beginning, and wish I had been such a confident young woman in high school. The villain in this story, “the hunter”, gave me goose bumps. I wanted more details of the Netherworld, and I am hoping Slater satisfies this in the next book.  The book contains a preview to the second book in this trilogy entitled The Shadowing: Skinned. This reader intends to see where Adam Slater will take this story next.
A special thank you to netGalley and Egmont USA for this advanced copy in exchange for my unbiased review. This book will be published on September 13, 2011.

I give this book 3 coffee cups out of 5.

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Silent Girl (Jane Rizzoli & Maura Isles #9) by Tess Gerritsen

Quote from Silent Girl: “Or maybe it’s the building. In Chinatown, they consider it haunted. They say when you step inside, evil attaches itself to you.” He looked at Jane. “And follows you home.”
First, I have to tell you that I am a huge fan of Tess Gerristen and that I have read all of her work. I think that she is one of the best mystery suspense thriller authors of this decade.
Silent Girl centers on a homicide that occurs in Chinatown in Boston, MA. A ghost tour guide and his group discover a severed hand. The hand is found outside the building where a grisly murder-suicide massacre occurred 19 years ago.  Once Rizzoli, Frost and an eager young Chinese recruit named Tam arrive on the scene they discover the rest of the body. It belongs to a beautiful young woman, whose car contains a GPS with two addresses.  One address belongs to a Chinese woman whose husband was murdered in the massacre and the other to the Detective who investigated it. As Detective Jane Rizzoli and Dr. Maura Isles investigate they find clues connecting the massacre to the mysterious disappear of two young girls. Someone or something is trying to seek revenge against a man wrongfully accused. Chinese folklore of the Monkey King and others make this an interesting read. The characters in this book are strong, lovable,  intelligent and Gerristen gives them depth.
This story was suspenseful and drew me in from the beginning keeping me on edge. Gerritsen attention to detail and medical knowledge make this book superb.

I give this book 4 coffee cups out of 5.

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Friday, August 26, 2011

The Demon Lover by Juliet Dark

Since accepting a teaching position at remote Fairwick College in upstate New York, Callie McFay has experienced the same disturbingly erotic dream every night: A mist enters her bedroom, then takes the shape of a virile, seductive stranger who proceeds to ravish her in the most toe-curling, wholly satisfying ways possible. Perhaps these dreams are the result of writing her bestselling book, The Sex Lives of Demon Lovers. After all, Callie’s lifelong passion is the intersection of lurid fairy tales and Gothic literature—which is why she finds herself at Fairwick’s renowned folklore department, living in a once-stately Victorian house that, at first sight, seemed to call her name. But Callie soon realizes that her dreams are alarmingly real. She has a demon lover—an incubus—and he will seduce her, pleasure her, and eventually suck the very life from her. Then Callie makes another startling discovery: He’s not the only mythical creature in Fairwick. As the tenured witches of the college and the resident fairies in the surrounding woods prepare to cast out the incubus, Callie must accomplish something infinitely more difficult—banishing this demon lover from her heart.(synopsis from Goodreads)

Juliet Dark is a pseudonym for Carol Goodman. Goodman writes historical gothic fiction and literary mysteries. This is her first romantic paranormal fantasy and she succeeds beautifully. The imaginary she creates is vivid and her attention to detail has you immediately loving the small college town of Fairwick in upstate New York and the characters residing there. “The Demon Lover” is the type of book you want to savior, like that perfect cup of coffee on a cold fall morning. This book immediately made me think of “A Discovery of Witches” with its gothic, myth and folklore imagery. I found this aspect of the story as intriguing as the suspenseful mystery. 

Dr. Cailleach (Callie) McFay is our young protagonist; she has recently graduated from college and published a book entitled “The Sex Lives of the Demon Lovers”. Callie arrives at Fairwick College to interview for a position teaching folklore at the campus. She isn’t sure about taking the job; her dream is to be in New York, but while visiting there, she comes across an old Victorian home called Honeysuckle House and learns it’s for sale. It was originally owned by historical romance writer Dahila LaMotte. The realtor informs her that all of LaMotte’s notes, journals and unpublished books come with the house, but that these books can never leave the home. Callie sees this as an opportunity for a new book. Callie accepts the teaching position and moves into Honeysuckle House. Every night she is visited by a man of shadow and moonlight, who seduces her and leaves her aching and satisfied in the morning. As Callie reads LaMotte’s journals and explores the college town she begins to realize there is a lot more going on here. Callie is a strong educated character and you can’t help but like her. She battles with her brain, and looks for solutions head on. She is flawed, but tries to do the right thing. 

I would love to share so many details about the book, but do not want to spoil the story for you. For those of you who love to read, you will get a kick out of the references to authors, such as, Charlaine Harris. Dark made me laugh out loud with these references and some off handed comments to those who scorn paranormal /urban fantasy literature. 

I know some of you will detest the ending, but although I can find no reference to it, this book has ended in such a way that I feel another book will be coming. This reader certainly hopes so.Release date December 27, 2011.

.... A special thank you to netGalley and Ballantine Books for this ARC.
I give this book 4 coffee cups out of 5.

Buy here: B&N or here: Amazon

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Passage by Justin Cronin

“It happened fast. Thirty-two minutes for one world to die, another to be born.”
First, the unthinkable: a security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment. Then, the unspeakable: a night of chaos and carnage gives way to sunrise on a nation, and ultimately a world, forever altered. All that remains for the stunned survivors is the long fight ahead and a future ruled by fear—of darkness, of death, of a fate far worse.  As civilization swiftly crumbles into a primal landscape of predators and prey, two people flee in search of sanctuary. FBI agent Brad Wolgast is a good man haunted by what he’s done in the line of duty. Six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte is a refugee from the doomed scientific project that has triggered apocalypse. He is determined to protect her from the horror set loose by her captors. But for Amy, escaping the bloody fallout is only the beginning of a much longer odyssey—spanning miles and decades—towards the time and place where she must finish what should never have begun. With The Passage, award-winning author Justin Cronin has written both a relentlessly suspenseful adventure and an epic chronicle of human endurance in the face of unprecedented catastrophe and unimaginable danger. Its inventive storytelling, masterful prose, and depth of human insight mark it as a crucial and transcendent work of modern fiction. (Synopsis from Goodreads)

The Passage
has to be one of the most beautiful, horrifying, page turning, heart stopping books I have ever had the pleasure to read.  It brings to mind Stephen King’s The Stand. Cronin’s writing is exquisite. I found myself unable to put this post-apocalyptic book down.  It is an epic novel of human endurance, when faced with a catastrophe that will forever change mankind.
A security breach on a secret U.S. government project called NOAH goes terribly wrong.  Overnight a virus takes over the world, turning those affected into hunters and those who survive into prey. FBI agent Brad Wolgast sets out to help and protect, six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte who is a refugee from the project that has triggered the apocalypse. The dangers and struggles these two face, with the friends they meet along the way, will have you sitting up until the wee hours of night, just to read a few pages more. I found myself asking could something like this happen, what kind of post-apocalyptic person I would be and is this really how the government would handle this. The fast paced ending had me screaming for more and rushing to my computer for details on book 2.

I highly recommend this to lovers of horror, post-apocalyptic and science fiction. 

 I gave this book 5  coffee cups out of 5.

Buy here: B&N or here: Amazon
Author's website: Justin Cronin

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A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1) by Deborah Harkness

In a sparkling debut, A Discovery of Witches became the "it" book of early 2011, bringing Deborah Harkness into the spotlight and galvanizing fans around the world. In this tale of passion and obsession, Diana Bishop, a young scholar and the descendant of witches, discovers a long-lost and enchanted alchemical manuscript deep in Oxford's Bodleian Library. Its reappearance summons a fantastical underworld, which she navigates with her leading man, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont. Harkness has created a universe to rival those of Anne Rice, Diana Gabaldon, and Elizabeth Kostova, and she adds a scholar's depth to this riveting story of magic and suspense.(synopsis from Barnes and Noble)

A Discovery of Witches is the first in an exciting trilogy about witches, vampires and dameon. It is a mystery, a love story and an adventure laced with history. One of the best books I’ve ever read.
The protagonist Dr.Diana Bishop is studying old alchemical texts archived at the Bodleian Library, in Oxford when she requests the book, Ashmole 782 from the stacks. Unknown to her, this book has been missing and is wanted by vampires, dameon and witches for the secrets it holds. When she opens the book, she feels its power and can see hidden messages in it, but like all magic it scares her and she quickly puts it back. Diana is a descendant of the famous witch, Bridget Bishop of Salem, Massachusetts. Her Aunts are witches, but Diana doesn't have any magic or does she? After her brief encounter with the book, she has attracted the attention of dameons, witches and vampires. One vampire in particular is persistent; he is Matthew Clairmont, an attractive professor of biochemistry and neuroscience. When the witches and dameons demand she produce the lost book, Matthew steps in and thus the adventure begins.
I loved everything about A Discovery of Witches from the deep historical details, to the world wind romance between Diana and Matthew. The other characters in this book are equally appealing. While some may not like the length of this book, I found the details enjoyable, and know they have helped to lay the ground work for the next two books in this series. I will be first in line to purchase book 2 - Shadow of Night, release 2012.

I highly recommend this books to fans of historical fiction, urban fantasy, witches, vampires and fae. 

I gave this book 5 coffee cups out of 5.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Inner Circle by Brad Meltzer

Beecher White is an archivist at the National Archives in Washington D.C.While trying to impress an old high school flame with a tour of the National Archives, he finds himself at the center of a Presidential level conspiracy. While giving Clementine the tour, along with Orlando his friend at the Archives,  they find a book by George Washington himself, right before the president is scheduled to be in this private chamber. Immediately after finding it, his friend dies. Thus begins, a series of events, clues and conspiracy theories, that will have you wondering who is friend and who is foe. Do not expect to get to know Beecher or any of the other characters, as this book is completely plot driven, I would not quote any of the history in this book as fact either. I enjoyed this fast paced, action packed thriller.

I give this book 4 coffee cups out of 5.

Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress, #1) by Jeaniene Frost

Cat is half human, half vampire. At 21 she hunts vampires and kills them while searching for father. The vamp who is responsible for giving her life and ruining her mother. At night she heads out to local bars and lures vampires with her sexy looks and flaming red hair. When she is captured by Bones a vampire bounty hunter, she strikes a deal to save her life. Bones promises to help find her father and in exchange Cat works with him. I was captivated by them both and look forward to reading the rest in this series.

I give this book 4 coffee cups out of 5

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

 The books concept is very unique and the story grabs you from the beginning.It is the tale of young protagonist Jacob who grew up hearing his grandfather's bizarre tales of his youth and his wildy unbelievable adventures as a young jewish orphan in Wales. As a 16yr old, Jacob no longer believes his grandfather's tales, until something terrible happens to his grandfather and he is forced to view things differently. Jacob sets out on a journey to discovery the truth about his grandfather and the place he grew up. This YA story will enthrall and enchant teens and adults of all ages.  The book is laced with weird old photographs,that the author has woven into this wonderful tale.  I am told the author is working on another book .

I give this book 4 coffee cups out of 5.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Connects: True Ghost Story by Katrina Rose

In Katrina Rose's novel, Connects: True Ghost Story the protagonist Abigail Morrison, has always been able to see spirits. As a young child, her playmate was a ghost. As she grew older she suppressed this gift, until her and her husband Daniel buy a country home. Here, she begins to have vivid dreams and experience paranormal events. She uncovers two murders, and begins to investigate to help these spirits. I really wanted to enjoy this book, as I liked the overall concept, but this book ended up falling short of my expectations. The writing did not flow smoothly, it was filled with grammatical errors and the sentences at times were cumbersome. Thoughts were repeated, as if the writer felt you couldn’t understand her thought process, so she reworded it and told you again.

I give this book 2 coffee cups out of 5.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Deadline (Newsflesh Trilogy Series #2) by Mira Grant

For those of you who don't know, Mira Grant is actually Seanan I loved Feed her first book in this zombie trilogy, and I totally flipped for Deadline. The pace was much faster, the stakes much higher and the ending..lets just say I haven't fully recovered. This has to be one of the best mid-trilogy books I've ever read. The protagonist Shaun Mason, who in the first book was a happy go lucky dare devil, must come to to terms with the loss of his sister and heading up the Newsflash team.  I will be first in line to get the third book in this trilogy..Blackout.

I give this book 5 coffee cups out of 5.

Downpour by Kat Richardson

After being shot in the back and dying-again- Greywalker Harper Blaine's only respite from the chaos is her work. But while conducting a pre-trial investigation in the Olympic Peninsula, she sees a ghostly car accident whose victim insists that he was murdered and that the nearby community of Sunset Lakes is to blame.  Harper soon learns that the icy waters of the lake hide a terrible power, and a host of hellish beings under the thrall of a sinister cabal that will use the darkest of arts to achieve their fiendish ends…(synopsis from Goodreads)

This series gets better with every book. Downpour has to be my favorite in the series so far. Richardson has been compared to Chandler and that comparison couldn't be more correct. While conducting a pretrial investigation in the Olympic Peninsula, our protagonist Harper Blaine, sees a ghostly car accident whose victim insists that he was murdered and that the nearby community of Sunset Lakes is to blame. While investigating, she must unravel the secrets at Blood Lake and stop the Grey things from controlling the area before it becomes a threat.  Kat Richardson should be extremely proud of this masterpiece.

I give this book 5 cups of coffee out of five.

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Blood Bound (Mercedes Thompson, #2) by Patricia Briggs

This is the second book in the Mercy Thompson series and it was deliciously good. Mercy's vampire friend Stefan asks her to be a witness for a message he must deliver to a visiting vampire. This new vampire isn't your typical vampire and has a demon inside him. The vampires, werewolves and fae need this killer contained and Mercy may be the only one to stop him. The story was action packed and the romantic triangle between Mercy, hunky Alpha Adam and the good Dr. Sam..hand me begging for more.

I give this book 4 cups of coffee out of 5.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Rosemary and Rue (October Daye, #1) by Seanan McGuire

October Daye (Toby) is a changling- half Fae and half human. Fourteen years ago she was a PI, with a human boyfriend and a child. Tasked to search for a missing mother and daughter, she is trapped as the job goes horrible wrong. When she returns she is rejected by her boyfriend and child. Angered she turns from the Fae and tries to live among the humans. When a phone call binds her to solve a murder she must return to the Fae and thus the story begins. This is beautifully written. I loved the world McGuire created, where the Fae live in areas of our world with spells that prevent us from seeing them. The protagonist, October Daye is very believable. She is strong, yet fragile, flawed but good. I felt compassion for her, got angry for her and cheered her on. She was very genuine and there were several other notable characters. The storyline was entertaining and kept me turning the pages, late into the night. I am looking forward to reading all the books in this series. McGuire is a truly talented writer, be sure and check out her other books written under her pen name Mira Grant(Feed, Deadline)
I give this book 4 coffee cups out of 5.

Moon Called (Mercedes Thompson, #1) by Patricia Briggs

The first in the Mercedes Thompson series. The protagonist Mercy is a strong, likable, witty and a feisty character. Mercy is a shape shifter who grew up with a pack of wolves. She is now a VW mechanic who lives near the sexy Alpha werewolf Adam. She is friends with the Fae and a vampire. When a young lone werewolf shows up in trouble she goes to Adam for help. This book dealt with a lot of background on the werewolf packs and vamps in the area. I love that Mercy is a strong independent female. This looks to be a promising series.

I give this book 4 coffee cups out of five.

Before I Go To Sleep: A Novel by S.J. Watson

'As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I'm still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me ...' Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love - all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story. Welcome to Christine's life(synopsis from Goodreads)

S. J. Watson's debut novel is a stunning suspense thriller. I could not put this book down. Watson delivers a chilling tale where nothing is at it seems. 

Each morning when Christine wakes up she has forgotten who she is, where she is and almost everything about her past. The only people she can trust are her husband Ben and her DR. Ed Nash....or can she?

This novel will grab you in the first few pages and hold you tight, as you and Christine try to reassemble the missing pieces of her past. Watson's spins a tale with twists and turns that keep you on the edge of your seat. I consumed this novel in less then a day. 

I highly recommend this novel to fans of suspense. Before I Go To Sleep is currently available in paper, audio formats. I will be looking for more work by this fantastic new author.

I give this book 4 coffee cups out of 5.

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