Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Quote: Bubba the Vampire and I were raking up clippings from my newly trimmed bushes about midnight when the long black car pulled up.
Why this book you might ask: I'm a fan of the series.
My thoughts: As I've said before I'm not into short stories much, but I wanted to read these since I like this series. The 5 stories were:
"Fairy Dust" In which Sookie is asked to help find a murderer.
"Dracula Night" Eric Northman is a frantic fanboy? Well he is hoping that Dracula will visit his party this year.
"One Word Answer" The begining of the story about the death of Sookie's Cousin Hadley.
"Lucky" Can luck be used up? Read and see.
"Gift Wrap" Sookie is alone at Christmas but it turns out to be one of the best.
The only problem I found was that the stories were short (HAHA) and there weren't enough of them.
Charlaine Harris Interview
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Ace (October 6, 2009)
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Quote from the West Texas Sprouting of Loman Happenstance: “The skies over the low mountains around him, egg-carton blue purpling up into squid-inky blackness, were nonplussed to witness the steamy demise of a once-regal highway yacht.”
Why this book you may ask: Hey, it's written by Texas authors and read by Texas actors. It had to be good, didn't it?
My Thoughts: I don't read a lot of short stories and I'm not sure why. Maybe because I want to know more. But here I am with two books of short stories going, this one and the Sookie Stackhouse book of short stories.
I liked this selection of stories, they covered a wide range of genres. My very favorite was The West Texas Sprouting of Loman Happenstance. It was indeed a fantasy, uniquely written and funny. I enjoyed listening to Brent Spiner reading it. Coming in second was another funny, but darker story that took place in east Texas, my stomping ground. It is Something Went with Daddy. The voice of the reader just made this story. I've heard people with the same deep east Texas accent he uses here. The saddest was Kris/Crack/Kyle by Hermine Pinson in which a man/son/brother comes back from the war and unable to cope falls into a life of drugs and homelessness. The family tries to help him but to no avail.
Texas Monthly Magazine
Publisher: Southern Methodist University Press (February 1, 1996)
short stories, Texas, Texana, Dallas Museum of Art
Friday, December 25, 2009
But this time Louie's in the line of fire. Practitioners in San Francisco have been dabbling in magic far beyond their control. Now they've accidentally unleashed a monster into the world. It's mauling humans and killing any Ifrit it can find. Mason and Louie must track and collar it. But doing so will lead them to an evil darker and more subtle than any they have ever faced.
Quote: 1. Somewhere in the undergrowth and tangled brush, the creature waited for us. Victor was over to my left, carrying the sawed-off shotgun. Not much of a weapon if you need to aim, but for close-up work it’s unbeatable. Lou ranged ahead, light on his paws, using only his dog senses for once. His magical talents were useless in tracking this thing, but he still had those sharp ears and even sharper sense of smell.
Why this book you might ask: Third in the Dog Days urban fantasy series, I had to buy it and read it.
My Thoughts: There was a lot going on in this book to keep you guessing proving that this series is not slowing down a bit. In fact I think that mystery here is the strongest of the three Dog Days books. It is certainly certainly the most tangled. Lou is the perfect sidekick for Mason as they face the strange "unleashed" monster from another....... place. Mason and Louie will do anything for each other, including placing themselves in harm's way to save each other. I'm liking the characters more and more as we go along. Mason is a truly good guy if a little unmotivated, Lou is a great new and unique character, Eli and Victor are strong characters that are filling out. I like Campbell, she is smart, resourceful, and cool in stressful times I hope.....
I can't wait for the next installment!
Buy the eBook
Excerpt From Unleashed
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Ace (November 24, 2009)
Urban Fantasy, Ifrit, Mason and Louie, magic, mystery, Dog Days
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Publisher Comments: The international literary bestseller — more than one million copies sold worldwide.
Barcelona, 1945 — just after the war, a great world city lies in shadow, nursing its wounds, and a boy named Daniel awakes on his eleventh birthday to find that he can no longer remember his mother's face. To console his only child, Daniel's widowed father, an antiquarian book dealer, initiates him into the secret of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a library tended by Barcelona's guild of rare-book dealers as a repository for books forgotten by the world, waiting for someone who will care about them again. Daniel's father coaxes him to choose a volume from the spiraling labyrinth of shelves, one that, it is said, will have a special meaning for him. And Daniel so loves the novel he selects, The Shadow of the Wind by one Julian Carax, that he sets out to find the rest of Carax's work. To his shock, he discovers that someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book this author has written. In fact, he may have the last one in existence. Before Daniel knows it his seemingly innocent quest has opened a door into one of Barcelona's darkest secrets, an epic story of murder, magic, madness and doomed love. And before long he realizes that if he doesn't find out the truth about Julian Carax, he and those closest to him will suffer horribly.
1.“Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.”
2. "The white marble was scored with black tears of dampness that looked like blood dripping out of the clefts left by the engraver's chisel. They lay side by side, like chained maledictions."
My thoughts: I listened to this book and is seemed to take a long time. This was a mystery story but it was much more. It was a coming of age story that included several love stories, sacrifice, revenge, madness.... It was a complicated story with many twists and turns and lots of characters. The story Daniel was trying to piece together was told to him piece by piece by several people, each time leaving me puzzled and wanting to know the whole story. I read in one review that this story "unfolds in layers, as if the novel were a Russian nesting doll." Which pretty well sums it up. My favorite character was Fermín Romero de Torres. He had a lot of personality and his story was very touching, even as it wove in and out of the edges of the story Daniel was seeking. I also liked Nuria a lot. Through her the story is finally pieced together. The character I felt the worst for was Miquel Moliner. In the end I was left with a very positive feeling about it.
It was translated from Spanish by Lucia Graves, who in my opinion did a great job. I could picture the places, laugh at the humor and feel the atmosphere created by the author. I also enjoyed listing to the narration of Johnathan Davis.
SOTW is the winner of Awards—Edebe Children's Literary Award, Best Novel, 1993
The author's website.
SOTW Walk in Barcelona.
Paperback: 487 pages
Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics); Later Printing edition (January 25, 2005)
mystery, love, coming of age, murder, revenge, books about books, Spain
It's Halloween in the Castro district of San Francisco, which means that for once mason doesn't have to worry about the fact that vampires and ghost are stalking the streets. What he does have to worry about is how his old flame Sarah became the victim of an attempted possession-leaving her an empty shell. Mason's only clue is the green rune stone found in her hand...
Quote: Dhougras? They're like Ifrits, but not quite as pleasant. I know they help practitioners, at least the practitioners who know how to compel obedience. i don't know where they come from.
Why this book you might ask: It is the next book in the series and I liked the first book.
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed Dog Days and am pleased to say that I enjoyed this installment just as much. I like the characters. Mason is a brave & caring guy who combines understated charm, magic, music, good will, and at times ineptness to make him very likable. Lou, Mason's....ummm...dog.... makes the books for me, though. I did figure out early on who the bad guy was and kept wondering why Mason didn't see it. I'm enjoying this new to me urban fantasy series. I understand that something escaped from this book to lead into the next. Up next: Unleashed!
Interview with the author.
Read chapter 1.
John Levitt's website
John Levitt's online journal.
Paperback: 312 pages
Publisher: Ace (November 25, 2008)
Urban Fantasy, ifrits, San Francisco, mystery, murder, magic, Dog Days
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
About the book: Take an exit off the Jersey Turnpike to the irresistible world of Stephanie Plum, America's favorite bounty hunter, where she gets into more trouble than ever. This time, she faces a notorious gang in Trenton who wants her dead. Morelli warns that she's in too deep, and Stephanie more than agrees. But the gang won't let her bow out. With Ranger missing in action, Stephanie has to go into hiding--and stumbles on to the secret location of Ranger's "bat cave." Is it the perfect place to disappear? Or will she get into more trouble than she knows by delving into his private world? The tenth Stephanie Plum novel is filled with Evanovich's trademark high stakes, high adventure, high wit, and sly comedy.
Quote: "I'm Stephanie Plum. My mother says that I'm famous and have to set a good example. She's right, but I'm from Jersey and truth is, I have a hard time getting a grip on the good example thing."
Why this book you might ask: Because it is funny and I found the book on CD cheap.
My Thoughts: This is a reread for me. I have enjoyed all the Stephanie Plumb books at least one time each. I never read these expecting to find great works of literature, I read them for fun and a few laughs. I was not disappointed. This series is full of fun & nonsense. With all the serious stuff going on in our world, I could use a break.
I do wish there was a little more to Ranger, he has such potential. I enjoyed Sally Sweet and his attempts to quit cursing. Not much happened here to grow the relationship between Morelli and Stephanie. The scene where Stephanie, Lula and Connie tried to be tough and smack a gang member around just cracked me up. All in all it was a fun, fast read.
Interview with Janet (YouTube)
Ten Big Ones at Wikipedia.
Publisher: Macmillan Audio; Unabridged edition (June 22, 2004)
Stephanie Plum, bounty hunter, mystery, gangs, funny mystery
Saturday, December 19, 2009
But on its first test run the Boneshaker went terribly awry, destroying several blocks of downtown Seattle and unearthing a subterranean vein of blight gas that turned anyone who breathed it into the living dead.
Now it is sixteen years later, and a wall has been built to enclose the devastated and toxic city. Just beyond it lives Blue’s widow, Briar Wilkes. Life is hard with a ruined reputation and a teen aged boy to support, but she and Ezekiel are managing. Until Ezekiel undertakes a secret crusade to rewrite history. His quest will take him under the wall and into a city teeming with ravenous undead, air pirates, criminal overlords, and heavily armed refugees. And only Briar can bring him out alive.
Quote: She leaned forward on her one el¬bow, laying her mechanical forearm down on the bar. "Now tell me, you don't really think—do you—that there's anything you could've done to keep him out of here?"
"I don't know. Probably not."
Someone behind Briar gave her back a friendly pat. It startled her, but there was nothing salacious about the gesture so she didn't flinch away from it. Besides, this was more friendly human contact than she'd had in years, and the pleasantness of it smoothed the keen, guilty edge of her sorrow.
Why this book, you might ask: I was first attracted to this book by it's cover. Then I read the quote on the front by Scott Westerfeld: "A steampunk-zombie-airship adventure of rollicking pace and sweeping proportions, full or wonderfully gnarly details." After I read the back I had to get it.
My Thoughts: Yes I had to get it and it was all the cover promised. Even though it was almost non-stop action, with zombies, an evil overlord, a larger than life heroic figure, killer fog, airship pirates, it was mostly about the refugees of a ruined Seattle, and a mother and her son, their fight to find one another and their fight to freedom and safety. Wow. I was caught up from the beginning and it kept pulling me along. What a great, fun read. I liked the characters and cared what happened. Briar is terrific, a strong and independent woman. Read it!
I learned a term new to me reading about this book: Steampunk. Very interesting. I blogged
about it here.
The author's website.
Boneshaker at SF Signal
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Tor Books (September 29, 2009)
Science fiction, steampunk, zombies, alternate history, fantasy, Civil War,
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
From the back: Nothing had seemed complicated about the old "Golden Calf" case. A con game had gone sour. Wealthy old Wiley Denton had shot the swindler, called the police, confessed, and done his short prison time. No mystery there. Except why did the rich man's bride vanish? Cynics said she was part of the swindle plot, but the explanation never quite satisfied retired Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, though the case was long over. Now, papers found by Sergeant Jim Chee and Officer Bernie Manuelito in a new homicide case connect the victim to Denton and o the mythical Golden Calf Mine. The first victim had been there just hours before Denton killed him. And while Denton was killing him, four children trespassing in the long-abandoned Wingate Ordance Depot reported police that they had heard what sounded like music and the cries of a woman.
The questions raised by this second Golden Calf murder draw Joe Leaphorn out of retirement and aren't answered until Leaphorn discovers what the young trespassers heard in the wailing wind.
Quote: She sat on a sandstone slab in a mixed growth of aspen and spruce, eating her sack lunch, thinking of Sergeant Jim Chee, and facing north to take advantage of the view. Pastora Peak and the Carrizo Mountains blocked off the Colorado Rockies, and the Lukachukai forest around her closed off Utah's peaks. But an infinity of New Mexico's empty corner spread below her, and to the left lay the northern half of Arizona. This immensity, dappled with cloud shadows and punctuated with assorted mountain peaks, was enough to lift the human spirit. At least it did for Bernie.
Why this book you might ask: 1. I am a fan of the series. 2. I hadn't read this book yet. 3. I found this unabridged CD of the book at a used book store for less than half price!My Thoughts: I have liked all the novels in this series and liked this one just as well. The mystery was good, Jim Chee seems to be making some progress in his relationship with Bernie, the sense of place and people was good. For instance one of my favorite scenes was when Jim "helps" an FBI agent interview a Navajo singer. It is funny to read as Chee crafts his own interview of the medicine man into and around FBI's inept translator's interview. I like the way Hillerman writes about the land, as in the wrote above.
This was a fun read. You might need to read the earlier books to understand the relationships among the characters, but you won't be sorry.
Read part of the book.
A review I liked.
The Chee/Leaphorn novels
Unofficial Hillerman page
Hillerman's obituary at Huffington Post
Publisher: HarperAudio; Unabridged edition (May 7, 2002)
mystery, Navajo, Jim Chee, Joe Leaphorn, murder, Native American
Friday, December 11, 2009
Mason used to work as an enforcer, ensuring that those magic practitioners without a moral compass walked the straight and narrow. But he gave all that up for a quiet life, scraping out a living playing his guitar, keeping a low profile with Louie, his magical....well, let's call him a dog. Luckily, Louie has a sixth sense for danger, and Mason knows exactly how dead he'd be without him.
But there are some kinds of evil that even Louie can't sniff out. Leaving a club one night, Mason is attacked by an assailant who is most definitely of the supernatural persuasion. He realizes that someone wants him dead. To defend himself, he'll have to fall back on the one skill he's mastered in music and magic - improvisation...
Quotes: If a dog can shrug, that's what he did. I knew he understood; I just hoped he could contain himself. As was all to clear from his interactions with pancakes and squirrels, self-control is not his strongest attribute.
My thoughts: I really liked this book! I am a fan of urban fantasy generally and I enjoyed this one more than most. Urban fantasy with dogs (sort of) what could be better? The Ifrits, of which Louie (the sort of dog) is one, are magical companions (similar to familiars) to people with talent. They choose who they will befriend and it isn't always the most talented.
I like the magical world Levitt has created for his books. San Francisco seems real. The origins of the Ifrits is unknown, and why they choose who they choose, or why they leave when they leave is a mystery. I liked all the characters. They were very different from each other but worked well together. The story was suspenseful with some twists. One big surprise was where the jewels the bad guy has come from. The bad guy was really bad. Evil. Twisted. You would love to hate him. Good riddance.
Fans of Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series will enjoy this, I think.
John Levitt at Live Journal.
Preview chapter one here.
A review at the SF site.
Paperback: 297 pages
Publisher: Ace (October 30, 2007)
Monday, December 7, 2009
Quote from the book: "Before you hate something you should try to understand it."
Why this book, you might ask: I was in one of the used book stores I frequent looking for a book on CD. I found this one, it looked nearly new and sounded good so I got it.
My Thoughts: I enjoyed listening to this book on CD. The voice of Renee Raudman is easy on the ear. Having said that the main point of this novel very depressing. It exposes how the meat-handling businesses are run. Graphically in places. (I've read about this and it is awful, something should be done about the way the animals are treated. The truth is hardly touched upon in this book.) I had empathy for Andi until she stated that the meat industry is more abhorrent than the holocaust. As the author is a long time Vegan (as is my father) and animal rights advocate I had to wonder if this is how she feels. I will be looking into this just for my own information. I had trouble with Andi after that.
I wondered and kept on wondering "who is Andi?" Very few clues to this question were given.
This story ended as it had begun with Audi walking down the road. This wasn't listed as a YA novel but it felt like one at times.
Mixed feelings again. I want to know who Andi is, but I don't agree with her on some things. I have already ordered the first book in this series, so I will read it.
Martha Grimes website.
Publisher: Penguin Audio; Unabridged edition (February 12, 2008)
animal welfare, mystery
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.
Quote from the book: "You don't think of me as a delicate flower in comparison to you?" When I laughed again, he pressed, "Okay, what words would you use then?"I leaned back in the seat, thinking, as Sam looked at me doubtfully. He was right to look doubtful. My head didn't work with words very well—at least not in this abstract, descriptive sort of way. "Sensitive," I tried.
Sam translated: "Squishy."
"Feng shui." (p. 207)
Why this book, you might ask: I picked this book up to read because I've seen so many reviews of it on different book blogs.
My thoughts: This is one of the few YA books that I have read so I wasn't sure if I would like it or not. It was at heart a love story, girl loves paranormal boy. Sam and Grace, the main characters were sweet and likable. I enjoyed new look at werewolves: it's cold weather that causes them to change into wolves instead of the full moon bringing it on. They are wolf for the winter and human when it turns warm.
This isn't fast paced page turner, rather it is a romantic, angst-y story with some suspense.
I found myself skimming through the middle of the book. The second half kind of took off and was very entertaining. The characters did work well together and were developed. I can see why it would draw the YA crowd. Over all I liked it, it is one that I will remember just because it is so different from what I usually read.
Maggie Stiefvater's site.
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 392 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press; 1 edition (August 1, 2009)
YA, teen, warewolf, paranormal romance
Thursday, December 3, 2009
About the book: It kills like an animal. The loggers call it “The Terror of the Redwoods.” A local timber baron has put a bounty on the hide of this man-beast, and the woods are teeming with so many trigger-happy dolts and half-cocked drunkards that someone’s bound to get hurt – and bad. Frank Morgan doesn’t believe in such creatures and decides to get to the bottom of this tall tale. But when he meets the timber baron's beautiful daughter, all bets are off. Something is out there. Someone's set a trap. And Morgan just stuck his Bigfoot right into it...
Quote from the book:"That's too bad," Frank said, not meaning it at all. "But you probably just would've gotten your selves killed by other fellas who were out there hunting for the Terror."
Why this book, you might ask: I was looking for a western to read AND this one had Bigfoot (possibly) so I had to get it.
My thoughts: While looking on the authors website I found that there were 20 books in the Last Gunfighter series and this book was #20. It did well as a stand alone novel, which is good since I haven't read any of the others. It took place in and around the giant redwoods in northern California, which is a place I've always wanted to visit.This story was action packed, from beginning to end, unending backstabbing and gun play. Of course, it wasn't really Bigfoot, but the creature who did the Bigfoot killings might suprise and sadden you.If I had known how many bullets were going to fly past his ear I would have kept track so an accurate count could have been reported here. I enjoyed reading this, it was different for me from my usual fare. If you enjoy westerns at all, I think you'll like this one.
Johnstone's official website.
About the author.
Paperback: 350 pages
Publisher: Pinnacle (October 1, 2009)
western, book review, bigfoot, Frank Morgan, redwoods