15. April 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Brian, Fiction, Paranormal

Undead Pool by Kim Harrison, 423 pages, read by Brian, on 04/12/2015

poolRachel Morgan, a Day-walking demon just saved the World and did I mention she is a witch too? But saving the world came with a price and now Ohio is being hit by some pretty nasty magic which causes spells to go wrong and the stress between the humans and nonhumans is boiling over.

 

13. April 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Courtney, Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Teen Books

Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier, 320 pages, read by Courtney, on 03/18/2015

1932, Sydney: the Australian government has outlawed guns, so gangsters have perfected the art of killing with razors. The most dangerous part of town, Razorhurst, is home to two rival gangs known for their ruthlessness.
Kelpie has been living on the streets for years. How many, she’s not sure. She doesn’t even know how old she is nor does she know her parents. She was raised by Old Ma until Old Ma died. Then Kelpie was raised by Old Ma’s ghost. Now, Kelpie knows enough not to trust every ghost she meets, but heads into the boarding house looking for the apples a local ghost had promised were there. Instead of apples, Kelpie finds a young woman standing over her sliced-up boyfriend. That young woman is Dymphna Campbell, Razorhurst’s top prostitute, also known as the “Angel of Death” since none of her boyfriends seem to survive. She works for the infamous Gloriana Nelson, one of the two crime bosses that have given their Sydney neighborhood its name. Dymphna and Kelpie could not possibly be any more different, but they have one major characteristic in common: they can both see and hear ghosts. Dymphna has been successful in hiding her ability; even ghosts don’t realize she can see them. Kelpie believes she’s the only one who sees them, but she’s at least learned not to speak to them in the company of other living folks. The dead man that Kelpie and Dymphna meet over is Glory’s top standover man and Dymphna’s boyfriend. And his ghost will not shut up. Kelpie wants no more to do with these people, but Dymphna has actually been hoping to meet Kelpie for a long time. Dymphna intends to take Kelpie under her wing and help to navigate life with their unique shared ability. Kelpie helps to get Dymphna away from authorities as they arrive to investigate the dead body. The girls then embark on a tense, day-long mission to elude Mr. Davidson and the authorities while not making anything worse for Glory. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll both have lives left to salvage at the end of the day.
I loved, loved, loved this book. Not only did I get to read about an era of history that I knew literally nothing about, but the story itself was great. It’s hard not to be a little wary of historical fiction that uses a supernatural element, but in this case, the ghost aspect was fascinating. The writing was fantastic; its use of period slang genuinely emphasized the sense of place. Kelpie and Dymphna are both amazing and complex characters. Even the secondary characters are fleshed out (without slowing down the plot any). The pacing is swift, especially since the entire book’s action takes place within a 24-hour time span. It never sacrifices its integrity for the sake of brevity, however. Instead, it is refreshingly concise. One gets the sense that there’s not a single wasted word. This may not be a book for everyone, but for those looking for an experience both educational and entertaining, Razorhurst will be a rare treat.

26. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal

First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones, 310 pages, read by Brian, on 03/19/2015

graveFirst Grave on the Right is about Death.  I mean the person who sees dead people and takes them to there rightful place after they die.  Charley Davidson, is such Death, a grim reaper if you will, who moonlights as a private investigator. She is kind of lazy, smart-ass, and a heart of gold as she solves the murders of the recently deceased.

 

26. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Brian, Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal

Pale Demon by Kim Harrison, 439 pages, read by Brian, on 03/18/2015

paleKim Harrison is a wonderful writer, her books are interesting, funny and suspenseful, Pale Demon is no different.  Rachel Morgan is condemned by the witches society for using black magic.  She has three days to travel across country to prove her innocence and not be sent to the demons.  Travelling with a vampire, elf, pixie and other assorted creatures trying to kill her, this shouldn’t be a problem at all.  Should it?

 

20. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Apocalyptic, Dystopia, Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal, Tammy

Annihilation (Southern Reach #1) by Jeff VanderMeer, 195 pages, read by Tammy, on 03/17/2015

annihilation  Book one of a trilogy. Annihilation is set in Area X. An area cut off from the rest of the continent for decades that has been reclaimed by nature. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.

Now the twelfth expedition is entering Area X. This group is made up of four women, an anthropologist, surveyor, psychologist a biologist. The biologist is our narrator and the psychologist is the leader of the group. Their mission is to map the terrain, collect specimens, record all their observations of their surroundings and one another. And most importantly avoid being contaminated by Area X and watch for signs of contamination in others.

This mystery/adventure story is wonderfully written. The text moves you along quickly and pulls you right into the world of Area X. It is different to read a whole novel and never learn the characters names or much about what they look like. This first book brings up lots and lots of questions. I checked with other staff who have finished the trilogy and some questions are answered but not a lot. If you can enjoy reading for the way it is written and pondering about the mysterious of life and our universe then this is for you. If you need solid answers by the end of the series, skip this one.

 

19. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal · Tags:

Carousel Tides by Sharon Lee, 432 pages, read by Kira, on 03/19/2015

Carousel Tides Carousel-Tides-shirt5-outlined I almost gave up on this book, while reading the first chapter – but if you persist it gets better, way better.  The protagonist Kate has returned to the beach town in Maine where she grew up with her Gran, her Gran who runs the carousel, her Gran who has disappeared for several months now.  Kate had pledged herself to be a Guardian of the Land, but after she misused the power of the Land and a friend got killed, Kate fled the land, awaiting a slow death (by breaking away from the land).  This is a magical and inventive world, with a great backstory, that slowly gets filled in, as the narrative unfolds.  I’m really glad to have discovered another fantasy author like this!IMGP1751

17. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal

Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop, 400 pages, read by Kira, on 03/09/2015

Third novel in the series called the Others.Vision-in-Silver-The-Others-3-Anne-Bishop Scenics_coastal_waters_and_landmass  This book focuses less on Megan’s personal journey and more on the larger macro relationships.  The one exception to this is the focus on Officer Montgomery, the police officer transferred to Lakeside because (back in the first of the series) he shot and killed a human in order to save the life of an Other.  I like that they continued the story-line of what had been a fairly minor character.  I like that we get an expanded view of the less-seen 125779491_11n abstract blue dark smoke digital art 2560x1440 wallpaper_wallpaperswa.com_22 m.courtyard.rough.SMOthers. Can’t wait for the next book!

25. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Brian, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal, Short Stories

Trigger Warning: short fictions and disturbances by Neil Gaiman, 310 pages, read by Brian, on 02/24/2015

Neil Gaiman is possibly to best writer of today’s literature.  Everything he writes is magic.  Neil writes another beauty in Trigger Warning a group of short stories to amaze and wonder about.  It is worth reading.

 

25. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal · Tags:

Black Wings by Christina Henry, 295 pages, read by Kira, on 02/24/2015

Madeline Black is an agent of Dblack wingseath, guiding souls to the door of the afterlife.  Shortly after she rents out the lower rooms in her house, to hot-looking Gabriel Angeloscuro, demons wanting to kill her start showing up near her house, including her evil half-brother Antares.  The author does some interesting world-building, building a genealogy of residents of heaven, but mostly hell.  I picked up this title on accidB0351_BlackWings_coverent, thinking it was another by Barb Hendee – both have call # HEN.  Enjoyable enough of a read, but I doubt I’ll continue the series.fantasy-and-gothic-pictures-girl-with-black-wings-and-blue-dress

18. February 2015 · 2 comments · Categories: Adult Books, Angie, Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal

Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop, 416 pages, read by Angie, on 02/13/2015

The cassandra sangue have been freed from the men who controlled them. They have been sent to live among the Inuits and the Simple Life Folk, but they are not adjusting as well as Meg has adjusted to life in the Courtyard. The Humans First and Last movement is still gaining support and causing even more trouble for the Others and the humans who work with and support them. Meg is trying to control her urge to cut and to find a way to help the other blood prophets survive on their own. Simon and the Others in the Courtyard are trying to find a way to protect their human pack and to put a stop to the machinations of the HFL.

I love this series. I think Anne Bishop is a master storyteller that just gets better the more she writes about her characters. The world of the Others is fantastic and unique and comes to the forefront in this book. We learn more about the Others outside of the Courtyards and just how much power they actually yield. The humans don’t seem to realize that they are are not the first to rebel against the rule of the Others and they will not be the last. To the Others in the Wild Country they are just insignificant creatures to be crushed when they become a nuisance. The only thing I don’t like about this series is waiting until the next book comes out.

I received a copy of this book through Netgalley.

07. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Kira, Paranormal, Steam-punk · Tags:

Soulless by Gail Carriger, 373 pages, read by Kira, on 02/06/2015

alexia_tarabotti_and_conall_maccon_by_ulalah-d5jh1kz VictorianPaperDoll images hqdefault 89275d0c54278ce11844f73cb88ce2d3-d31xw43Ms Alexia Tarabotti age 25  is considered an unmarriageable spinster.  In an alternate steampunk Victorian England inhabited by werewolves, vampires, and a few gosts, Ms Tarabotti is able to neutralize these supernatural creatures of the night by touching them, because she is soulless.  After she is attacked by a vampire and kills him with her hairpin and parasol, she becomes a suspect in the disappearance of supernatural creatures.  She starts investigating.  I enjoyed this book.  I liked the humor, the fast pace, and the romance wasn’t overdone.

06. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Paranormal, Teen Books

(Don't You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn, 336 pages, read by Courtney, on 01/22/2015

Gardnerville is not like any town you’ve been in before. Not only is it so remote that it’s only accessible via train (and that only within the last few decades), its residents never get sick and they live far longer than the average person. Prospective residents travel from far and wide for a chance to live within the confines of Gardnerville; the only people accepted are those with life-threatening illnesses. In that sense, Gardnerville is a life-saving town. Something of a paradise. But nothing comes without a price and this town is no exception. There’s a four-year cycle of escalating calamity. In a first year, someone might be mad at someone else and accidentally turn them into an animal. In a forth year, one might see the kind of catastrophe that befell Skylar’s family. Skylar’s sister, Piper, led dozens of the town’s teens on a midnight parade down to the railroad bridge where they all proceeded to jump, many of them to their deaths. Piper now resides in the town’s correctional facility, a place known for taking in troublemakers and turning out hollowed-out husks of human beings. Skylar’s pretty sure that’s where Piper is, anyway.
As the book opens, it’s another fourth year. It’s also late in the year, which is making everyone extra nervous. Skylar’s been living in a drug-fueled haze ever since Piper went away. She takes a pill made from some of the Forget-Me-Not flowers that grow in Gardnerville. Within minutes of taking them, Skylar begins to forget. When she isn’t under the influence of the pills, she’s wishing she had more. Something is nagging at her though. She keeps finding the tape recorder that she and Piper used to use when they were kids. It’s not the only reminder of Piper that she keeps stumbling across, which makes her decide that it’s time to start remembering so that she can get her sister out of the correctional facility and start addressing some of the town’s darker secrets.
There is so much going on in this book that it’s really difficult to summarize. The mythology of the town itself is a bit messy and explanations come very late. Skylar is an unreliably narrator since she’s constantly taking the pills to forget everything. The main narrative alternates with flashbacks that are presumably recorded onto the tape recorder that seems to turn up wherever Skylar has been. The people that surround Skylar don’t seem any more reliable than she does, which only adds to the disorientation.
While I generally love oddball books, this one was just a little too convoluted to make me fall head-over-heels. I did enjoy it, but even with all the craziness, I was able to figure out the major twist, so that was kind of disappointing. I can’t help but think that the confusion is just a bit over the top. It takes forever for the book to get to the point and when there is exposition, it comes in big chunks rather than being seamlessly intertwined with the plot. I had a like/hate relationship with Skylar, who frequently frustrates as she continually drugs herself. She never asks the questions the readers want her to ask and it feels as though she alone is the one dragging out the plot. Still, the concept was intriguing and the writing was decent. Adventurous and patient readers will likely find this entertaining.

05. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal · Tags:

Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz., 273 pages, read by Kira, on 02/03/2015

Witches-of-East-End-Poster-witches-of-east-end-35808568-1200-1600 woee1  thA mother and her two grown daughters seem to live ordinary lives in the town of North Hampton.  However, they are immortal witches banned  centuries ago from using their magic.  Daughter Freya – the wildchild and local bartender – is able to create magic potions that can help.  Frey has found the love of her life, Bran, a little bit nerdy and nervous, but calm, philanthropic millionaire.  Then his brother, hunky bad-boy Killian, shows up and Freya and Killian have a tryst during her engagement party to Bran.   She swears it was a mistake, but can she stay away from Killian.  Her sister Ingrid serves as the towns librarian, but the major wants to develop the land upon which the library sits.  Will Ingrid be able to save her library?  Mother Joanne has other dilemmas to deal with.  Slowly each one begins using their magic for small things and nothing bad happens.  But evil is lurking around the corner.  Will they find it in time to save the world? or at least to save themselves from being sent to prison for practicing witchcraft?  89202450_oWill the council find out about their using their magic?

You think you’re reading a modern-day tale of witches, then you realize, no you’re in the Norse mythology saga.  It seems that more Norse mythology is making its way into current fiction (Runemarks American Gods) .  Its interesting to see Baldur’s narrative again (Giants of the Frost).  This is a fast paced, book, that I couldn’t wait to read more of.

04. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kristy, Paranormal, Romance, Teen Books

The Young Elites by Marie Lu, 355 pages, read by Kristy, on 01/29/2015

TheYoungElites.jpgAfter the blood fever, an often deadly sickness, spreads through the land, many infected died a painful death. The ones who don’t die are left with peculiar markings. Some of the survivors develop magical powers, including the protagonist of the novel, Adelina Amouteru.  When Adelina escapes from her cruel father, she finds herself in the midst of the Young Elites, a group of magical youth who seek to take the throne.

The Young Elites is a dark, sexy young adult novel that never has a dull moment. I loved watching Adelina develop her dark powers and her relationship with Enzo (the leader of the young elites).

29. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Brian, Fiction, Paranormal

Third Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda Jones, 310 pages, read by Brian, on 01/29/2015

thirdThird Grave Dead Ahead is the third book in the Charley Davidson series.  Charley is a grim reaper and paranormal detective.  In this book Charley is helping Reyes Farrow, part human, the other part supernatural as he is Satan’s son.  Reyes has escaped from prison and he wants Charley to prove his innocence.  What could possibly go wrong?

28. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Kira, Mystery, Paranormal

Cast-Off Coven by Juliet Blackwell, 336 pages, read by Kira, on 01/27/2015

WM2The second in the Witchcraft Mystery series.  I’m Not sure how the titles relates to the story.  Lily is helping to investigate a haunting at the Art College her employee Maya attends.  A big donor gets murdered the night they go to investigate.  Did the ghost kill the rich man? or was it the ghost?  This was a good tale, I was unable to guess the killer.  I enjoyed the story and getting to know a bit more of the main characters backstory (how Max’s wife
died).

28. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal · Tags:

Over my Dead Body by Kate Klise, 116 pages, read by Kira, on 01/15/2015

klise dead This is the sequel to Dying to Meet You.  An evil idiot, Dick Tater, throws Seymour into an orphanage, I.B.Grumpy into an insane asylum, when he finds that Seymour is being raised without his parents, and that I. B. Grumpy believes in ghosts.  He also bans Halloween and has people burn books about ghosts.  Maybe, the initial charm has worn off a bit.  I liked th
is 2nd book, but Not as much as the first.

17. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal

Secret of the Mountain Dog by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel, 208 pages, read by Angie, on 01/16/2015

Jax lives at the bottom of a mountain in the Catskills. She loves exploring the mountains, but ever since her younger sister Kizzy almost drowned her mother hasn’t let her have the freedom she once enjoyed. Then one day a giant dog appears and adopts Jax. That same night she sees lights in the old building up the mountain. When she goes to explore she discovers Yeshi and Rinpoche, two Buddhist monks who are going to reopen the monastery. First they have to find a missing statue. The statue is a protector demon that was stolen from a monastery in Tibet. A mysterious man is also looking for the statue, but he doesn’t want to return it to Tibet. Jax ends up defying her mother and heading up the mountain in a storm to warn the monks about the mysterious man. Jax and Yeshi have to decipher the prophecy about the statue and find it before the man does and before he unleashes the demon.

This was a nice, quick read. The story is fast-paced with a lot of action and intrigue. I really enjoyed the fact that Yeshi and Rinpoche were Buddhist monks, that is not something you see a lot in middle grade fiction. It gave a nice introduction to the Buddhist faith and philosophy without being too much. There is a bit of a supernatural element with the demon that added a spooky element to the story as well. I liked how the friendship between Jax and Yeshi seemed to develop naturally even though it turned out Yeshi had a higher calling.

16. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Jessica, Paranormal, Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Never Never by Colleeen Hoover, 140 pages, read by Jessica, on 01/16/2015

9110wGT9g8L._SL1500_“How odd to be made of flesh, balanced on bone, and filled with a soul you’ve never met.”
   
Charlize Wynwood and Silas Nash have been best friends since they could walk.  They’ve been in love since the age of fourteen.
But as of this morning…they are complete strangers.
Their first kiss, their first fight, the moment they fell in love…every memory has vanished.
“I don’t care what our real first kiss was,” he says. “That’s the one I want to remember.” 
 
Charlize and Silas must work together to uncover the truth about what happened to them and why.  But the more they learn about the couple they used to be…the more they question why they were ever together to begin with.
“I want to remember what it feels like to love someone like that. And not just anyone.  I want to know what it feels like to love Charlie.”
 
Never Never: A Novella Series, Part One.
14. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Kira, Mystery, Paranormal · Tags:

Hexes and Hemlines by Juliet Blackwell, 336 pages, read by Kira, on 01/13/2015

B1050_HexesHemlines-137x137 imagesAnother enjoyable mystery by Juliet Blackwell.  Minor peeve, I wish that the main character, the witch Lily would NOT have so easily dismissed the danger happening to  various characters.  Sometimes there’s a fine line between courageous and foolhardy.  The mystery was Not crafted as well as the first book.  I did like the continuing background information on Lily’s childhood though.  Not as good as the first title in the series.  I hope to see more of Beowulf, the cat.