26. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Horror, Paranormal, Tammy

Heart-shaped Box by Joe Hill, read by Tammy, on 09/24/2013

heart-shaped box   Retired rock star Judas Coyne has a thing for damaged young women and for the macabre. He has a list of ex-girlfriends that he found entertaining for awhile but then sooner or later tired of. He doesn’t even call them by name but by the state they are from. He also keeps a mysterious collection of objects in his home including sketches from infamous serial killer John Wayne Gacy, a trepanned skull from the 16th century, a used hangman’s noose and Aleister Crowley’s childhood chessboard. So, he’s thrilled when his assistant tells him a ghost is for sale on an online auction site. He ends up winning the sale.

But then the black, heart-shaped box arrives in the mail. It not only contains the suit of a dead man but his vengeful ghost. The ghost is the stepfather of an ex-girlfriend who committed suicide after the 54-year-old Coyne sent her home on the train. Let the vengeful haunting and soul searching begin!

10. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Apocolyptic, Dystopia, Fiction, Paranormal, Teen Books

Elemental by Antony John, read by Angie, on 09/09/2013

In the not too distant future a plague has wiped out the population of Earth. All that is left are those who took to the water to escape. They live on clan ships, pirate ships and there is a small community on Hatteras Island. This community of 14 people has set itself apart from the others; they are different. These people have control of the elements: earth, wind, fire, water. When a storm comes up the Guardians (adults) send the children to nearby Roanoke Island to shelter. When the storm is over the kids realize the Guardians have been kidnapped by pirates. It is up to them to first make sure they don’t get kidnapped as well and second rescue their parents.

Our cast of characters includes Alice, fire element, who has a secret and who is kind of an outcast; Rose, water element, the darling of the community and daughter of the leader; Dennis, wind element, brother of Rose; Griffin, earth element, deaf and lame boy who is also a seer; and Thomas, no element, brother of Griffin and true outcast of the community who no one will touch. On Roanoke, secrets are revealed about the Guardians and the past and more questions arise. Everyone’s elements seem to work so much better there than on Hatteras. And there is the question of why the pirate Dare wants “the solution” and what exactly that is.

I like the characters of Thomas and Griffin. They are intriguing because they are different from everyone else and they share a strong brotherly bond. I like how Antony John seems to always have deaf characters in his books and how they are not shown as weaker than others, just different. I am not sure why the romance element had to be brought up. It seemed a little forced to me. There is a love triangle between Thomas, Rose and Alice that plays throughout. Thomas seems to go back and forth between which girl he likes at any given moment. In such a small community I really wondered how they planned to continue the population. It isn’t really brought up, but I kept thinking about it throughout the book.

This book left more questions than it answered. It is clearly the start of a series and as such does a great job of peaking your interest and making you want to read more. I like the fact that it is set in the real world and the not so distant future. I really want to know what is so special about Roanoke and why these people have powers and what it has to do with the original colony there. All questions I hope will be answered in future books. This is an intriguing start and I can’t wait to see where it goes.

09. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Helen, Historical Fiction, Paranormal

The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope by Rhonda Riley, read by Helen, on 08/01/2013

In the waning months of World War II, young Evelyn Roe’s life is transformed when she finds what she takes to be a badly burned soldier, all but completely buried in the heavy red-clay soil on her family’s farm in North Carolina. When Evelyn rescues the stranger, it quickly becomes clear he is not a simple man. As innocent as a newborn, he recovers at an unnatural speed, and then begins to changeâ#128;#148;first into Evelyn’s mirror image, and then into her complement, a man she comes to know as Adam.

Evelyn and Adam fall in love, sharing a connection that reaches to the essence of Evelyn’s being. But the small town where they live is not ready to accept the likes of Adam, and his unusual origin becomes the secret at the center of their seemingly normal marriage.

Adam proves gifted with horses, and together he and Evelyn establish a horse-training business. They raise five daughters, each of whom possesses something of Adam’s supernatural gifts. Then a tragic accident strikes the family, and Adam, in his grief, reveals his extraordinary character to the local community. Evelyn and Adam must flee to Florida with their daughters to avoid ostracism and prying doctors. Adrift in their new surroundings, they soon realize that the difference between Adam and other men is greater than they ever imagined.

Intensely moving and unforgettable, The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope captures the beauty of the natural world, and explores the power of abiding love and otherness in all its guises. It illuminates the magic in ordinary life and makes us believe in the extraordinary.

31. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fiction, Paranormal, Teen Books

Sweet Legacy by Tera Lynn Childs , read by Angie, on 08/28/2013

Sweet Legacy is the final book in the Medusa Girls trilogy. This book picks up immediately where the second book ended with Grace, Gretchen and Greer, and their posse, trying to rescue the gorgons and open the gate to the world of the monsters. They are surrounded by enemies on all sides; gods and monsters who either want the gate opened or who want it sealed forever. The sisters must solve the riddle, find the gate, open it and not die all while battling their enemies and saving their friends.

I really enjoyed this series; it is fun and exciting. I like the Greek Mythology mixed into the story and the little bit of romance for each of the sisters. In this final book they have all paired up with the boys of their choice and the romances all seem nice and hopeful. It is really great to read about teen romances that do not include a love triangle and do not have sinister intentions. I like the way this series ended with hope and family and the promise of battles to come.

I received a copy of this book from the publishers at ALA 2013.

30. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Eric, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal

Seer of Shadows by Avi, read by Eric, on 08/22/2013

Horace is the apprentice for Enoch Middleditch, a photographer in 1870s New York City. When hired by the wealthy Von Macht family to photograph them in mourning for their lost daughter, the unscrupulous Middleditch has Horace help him create a fake double-exposure ghost image of the dead daughter within the Von Macht portrait, in order to lure them into continuing to use his services. Soon, however, Horace realizes that more than a scam is at work, for it seems that a real ghost is showing up on his photographic plates.

This tale is equal parts ghost story, mystery, and history. The descriptions of the old photographic techniques are interesting, but it is the interactions between Horace and a servant girl, Pegg, which supply the heart of the story. As the secrets of the Von Macht family are unveiled, and the creepy atmosphere builds, I can see why Avi remains a beloved children’s author.

28. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal, Tammy, Teen Books · Tags:

Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle # 1) by Maggie Stiefvater, read by Tammy, on 08/28/2013

Blue is the teen daughter of a psychic and has grown up in a house of women all with different psychic abilities but she doesn’t have any powers except to boost the powers of anyone she’s around. She’s fine with that but sometimes she wishes she knew what it felt like to see and feel something magical.

She’s also been careful to never fall in love or even kiss a boy or let one kiss her because every psychic she’s ever been too has told her that she will kiss her true love and then he will die. Then on St. Mark’s Eve her mother sends her with a visiting psychic, Neeve to the abandoned church yard to see the “soon to be dead” walk by. She has never seen them herself even though she comes every year with her mother. Her job has always been to boost her mom’s psychic ability and write down the names as her mother says them. But something is different this year and there with Neeve she sees a boy emerge from the darkness and he speaks directly to her. His name is Gansey.

Blue discovers that he is a Raven Boy, one of the student’s attending the local private school, Aglionby. She’s always avoided the raven boys, they can only mean trouble and she could mean trouble for one of them. But she is drawn to Gansey in a way she can’t explain. raven boys

26. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Paranormal

Joyland by Stephan King, read by Brian, on 08/23/2013

I’ve got the Joy Joy Joy Joy down in Joyland. Where? Down in Joyland.  Stephen King has once again delivered another masterpiece of a short story.  Joyland isn’t scary or sexy but more of a mystery.  Sure there is a ghost a bad guy and a pretty lady but this story has a sweetness to it and heartache as well.  Character development is King’s greatest strength and I thank him for it.  The carnival has always been a fascination with me.  It is mysterious and creepy and even though I’m a rube, I just love the atmosphere of it.

joy

25. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fiction, Paranormal, Romance, Teen Books

The Archived by Victoria Schwab , read by Angie, on 08/24/2013

Mac is a Keeper; it is her job to patrol the Narrows and return awakened Histories to the Archive. Histories are people who have died (sort of like ghosts but corporeal); the Archive houses all the Histories (sort of like a cross between a graveyard and a library). The Librarians maintain the Archive and send assignments to the Keepers like Mac. Mac inherited her job from her grandpa, Da, who was a Keeper up until his death. She is the youngest Keeper in history and good at her job. Then her brother is tragically killed and her family moves to the Coronado for a fresh start. The Coronado is a dusty, crumbling hotel turned apartments and it seems the site of a tragic past no one wants known. Mac discovers that the history of the Coronado has been tampered with and Histories associated with the Coronado have been changed. Then there is the increase in escaped Histories, the cute, goth Keeper in her territory and the strange young man hanging out in the Narrows. Things do not add up and the more Mac digs the worse things become.

Mac is a tragic figure, full of pain and loss and misery. She lies constantly to protect her job, she misses her little brother and her Da, and she is scared to touch anyone because people are loud with thoughts and feelings that she can hear. I found this story intriguing. I liked the idea of an Archive housing the dead with Librarians able to read them. I’m not sure why this is necessary, but it was interesting. I liked Mac and Wes (the goth Keeper) and how Wes brought a lightness and a sense of fun to Mac’s world. I did think the story moved a little slowly and/or could have been edited down. I liked the mystery but I thought it was drug out too long and the explanation/conclusion was hurried at the end of the book. There is a lot of world-building in this book and Schwab does a great job setting it up. This is the start of a series so I am a little intrigued about where she is going to take it from here.

22. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal, Tammy · Tags:

Fall of Night by Rachel Caine, read by Tammy, on 08/08/2013

fall of night  Claire finally is granted her wish to attend the graduate program at MIT and leave Morganville, TX. But of course, strings are attached. Amelie has arranged for her to be enrolled in an advanced study program with Professor Irene Anderson, a former Morganville native and she will have to continue some of the research she started with Myrnin and report back to him and Amelie.

She is able to live off-campus with a high school friend who has troubles of her own and Claire soon discovers that life is full of dangers anywhere you live and little does she know that Morganville isn’t the only town with vampire issues.
Professor Anderson finds out about Claire’s vampire “control device” and immediately has Claire bring it in to her secret lab but when Dr. Anderson starts testing Claire’s machine on live subjects, things quickly spiral out of control, and Claire starts to wonder whether leaving Morganville was the last mistake she’ll ever make.

22. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Tammy, Teen Books · Tags:

Neferet's Curse by P.C. Cast, read by Tammy, on 08/11/2013

neferet  This is the story of who Neferet, high priestess of the Oklahoma House of Night, was before becoming a high priestess.

Set in Chicago in 1893 as the city prepares for the World’s Fair, sixteen-year-old Emily Wheiler should be enjoying her last few days as a carefree youth of a prosperous family. But her whole life changes when her mother dies leaving her the adult responsibility of being Lady of Wheiler House as her father, a powerful bank president, needs her to entertain and conduct the house as her mother would to help him keep his social standing and influence among the city’s wealthy and powerful and the designers and leaders of The White City: The Chicago World’s Fair.

As Emily tried to adjust to her new role and it’s many responsibilities that she is unprepared for she realizes that her father has a dark violent side she’s never seen before and she reaches out to a handsome young man and his family at one of her father’s parties. But then she is marked by a vampyre and once again her whole world changes.

05. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal, Reviewer, Romance · Tags: , ,

The Demon's Librarian by Lilith Saintcrow, read by Kira, on 08/04/2013

Head Librarian, Francesca Barnes, has discovered a treasure cache of sorcery books in a secret room in the sub-basement of the old city library.  When a monster starts attacking cats and then children, she uses the knowledge to track down and kill the beast.

This alerts the evil ones to the growing presence of a new gifted “Golden One” coming into her powers.  Ryan, and his keeper Paul of the Order (the good side), are trying to track down this cache of books.  Since Ryan is half-demon/half man, lacking a soul, he cannot trust himself around women, and especially not around sorceresses.

However, his hdemon's librarianorn-dog handler/keeper Paul takes off on a false lead, because this other woman is good looking and Ryan ends up investigating Chess (Francesca), keeping tabs on her,  rescuing her, and before its too late, he is hooked/imprinted on Francesca.

This book was a quick enjoyable read, nothing taxing or extraordinary.

05. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal, Reviewer · Tags: , ,

Written in Red. by Anne Bishop, read by Kira, on 08/03/2013

writ redI was tempted to stay home and use a personal day to finish reading this book (but I did NOT), I did end up staying awake late into the night/morning though.

All Things Urban Fantasy said “Written in Red isn’t just the best urban fantasy of the year, it may be one of the best ever.”

It is a captivating tale of a young woman escaping enslavement and finding a new community composed of Others (werewolves, werebears, vampires, medusa, werecrows) aka terra indigenous who live bordering humans, and tolerating them.  The humans come with an attitude of superiority akin to the Europeans confronting the Native Americans, however, in this world the Humans do Not hold the upper hand, just the arrogance.

cs759, names herself, Meg Corbyn – she is a blood prophet or Cassandra Sangue – and is kept locked up to be cut for her prophecies which pay her Controllers big bucks, thus when she escapes they will want her back. written-in-red Great characters, world-building, and fast paced.

 

 

31. July 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal, Tammy · Tags:

Horns by Joe Hill, read by Tammy, on 07/30/2013

Horns ” Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with a thunderous hangover, a raging headache . . . and a pair of horns growing from his temples.”

At first he thought the horns were a hallucination. He had spent the last year in a private hell following the death of his girlfriend, Merrin Williams. She was raped and murdered and everyone in town thinks Ig was responsible. A breakdown is to be expected but horns? And now the horns give him a mysterious new power.

Ig had been born into wealth and security. His father a renowned musician and his younger brother a rising late-night TV star. Then one summer he made a new best friend and met the girl of his dreams. He had it all. But Merrin’s death changed everything.

This is a dark, dark story with twists and turns. A compelling story and true to life characters and the reader sees what our main character is able to see… the worst side of people. But the reader also gets to see Ig’s family and friends as he’s growing up. You can feel his love for Merrin and his family and friends which makes it all the more crushing that they’ve turned against him. If you’re looking for a tale of evil and revenge with a touch of the supernatural this fits the bill.

31. July 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal, Steam-punk, Tammy, Teen Books · Tags: ,

Soulless (Parasol Protectorate # 1) by Gail Carriger, read by Tammy, on 07/04/2013

Alexia is different from the rest of her family. She’s a spinsterPrint whose father is both Italian and dead. Her mother has remarried and her step-sisters and step-father all tolerate her but think she’s odd. But they have no idea that she has no soul and can render supernatural beings powerless with a touch.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently. At one of the biggest social events of the year, she is attacked by a vampire which breaks all standards of social etiquette but Alexia accidentally kills the vampire defending herself. Then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, Scottish, and leader of a werewolf clan) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing?

 

30. July 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Teen Books

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters, read by Courtney, on 06/25/2013

The year is 1918. World War One rages on while the Spanish Influenza outbreak reaches epidemic proportions. Mary Shelley Black has been sent to live with her aunt in San Diego in an attempt to keep her out of the flu’s reach (and because her father has just been arrested for his anti-war efforts). Once there, she is reunited with old friends, in particular, a pair of brothers named Stephen and Julian. Stephen and Mary have some history together and quickly begin a relationship. Until Stephen has to leave for war, having signed up before Mary’s return to San Diego. Julian, on the other hand, has been taking the war and flu outbreak in stride with his photography business, which is making quite the income with its new direction: spirit photography. Mary, being the clever young lady she is, has serious doubts about the entire spiritualist movement in spite of her aunt’s insistence on Julian’s talents. Stephen dies just months after leaving, which prompts Julian to pressure Mary to sit for another photograph, claiming that Mary has unique spiritual magnetism. Mary is dubious until she gets herself struck by lightning and finds that her senses are now telling her that everything she thought she knew may, in fact, be completely in question.
This book is a very interesting mix of historical fiction, mystery and paranormal intrigue. Mary as a character is utterly charming and witty, which is so very necessary given her context. 1918 was indeed a very scary year for many Americans. Loved ones went off to fight in a brutal war, while those left at home dealt with the constant threat of the flu. So many had already died from both that spiritualism made a giant comeback (having been popularized in both the Civil War and Victorian eras). Mediums and photographers made a living off of the desperate survivors of both tragedies. The setting makes perfect sense for a supernatural spin as well. Both the historical and the paranormal contexts are aided by period photos throughout the book. Even the cover is absolutely contextual, which I love. “In the Shadow of Blackbirds” is a fascinating mashup of history, romance, the supernatural and mystery. Highly recommended.

26. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Paranormal, Tammy · Tags: ,

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks, read by Tammy, on 06/24/2013

Moving and thought-provoking. Definitely not two words I thought I’d ever use to describe a zombie novel.

world war zIt didn’t dwell on the gore of a zombie attack and killing zombies though some of that action is described. Instead it is a collection of first person accounts from doctors to soldiers to individual citizens and political leaders in a variety of countries and cultures. It clearly brings home the emotional, social and economic damage caused by world-wide plague conditions or even an individual country laid low by a plague outbreak. It deftly combines the two (war and plague) never completely forgetting that the enemy were once other human beings often neighbors and friends or family who did not choose to become the enemy but for your survival and the survival of the human race and the human spirit — they all have to die.

18. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal, Tracy

The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley , read by Tracy, on 06/11/2013

Archaeologist Verity Grey is working at a site in Scotland when she hears what sounds like horses galloping outside her window. Since there aren’t any horses in the area she isn’t surprised when she feels that someone is watching her at the dig site. It’s an ancient Roman campsite that has it’s own Sentinel ghost protecting it. There are other strange things happening that involve paranormal activity and romance. I enjoyed the Scottish slang used by the locals and Verity has to buy a Scottish book to help her translate.

31. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Helen, Horror, Paranormal

Abandon by Blake Crouch, read by Helen, on 05/30/2013

On Christmas Day in 1893, every man, woman and child in a remote gold mining town disappeared, belongings forsaken, meals left to freeze in vacant cabins; and not a single bone was ever found. One hundred thirteen years later, two backcountry guides are hired by a history professor and his journalist daughter to lead them into the abandoned mining town so that they can learn what happened. With them is a psychic, and a paranormal photographer—as the town is rumored to be haunted. A party that tried to explore the town years ago was never heard from again. What this crew is about to discover is that twenty miles from civilization, with a blizzard bearing down, they are not alone, and the past is very much alive.

25. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal, Tammy · Tags:

Tricked (Iron Druid Chronicles # 4) by Kevin Hearne, read by Tammy, on 05/05/2013

Book 4 of the Iron Druid series with lots of Oberon! Atticus and Granuile fake their deaths so he can escape from the angry Norse gods and have 12 undisturbed years to train Granuile to be a druid. But first he has to payback Coyote, the Navajo trickster god, for his help in faking Atticus’ death and Coyote always has a way to trick you into doing more than you realized you were signing up for. And Leif shows up to complicate matters even more.tricked

22. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Drama, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal · Tags:

Eva moves the furniture by Margot Livesey, read by Kira, on 05/21/2013

jacket-eva-moves-the-furniture If you liked the book “A Certain Slant of LIght” you will like Eva Moves the Furniture.  It has the same eevavocative feel to me, slightly haunting.

Growing up,Eva has 2 companions a girl her age, and a grown woman, eva moves furnthat no one else can see.  Her Mom died right after she is born, and she experiences a certain degree of loneliness, and is less than successful forming friendships at school.  The companions meddle in her life, sometimes to Eva’s delight, sometimes to her disappointment.

It is Never clear whether the ghosts are real, or a figment of Eva’s imagination, because the ghosts don’t always behave well.  It could be that Eva blames her bad behavior on these ghosts, which are nothing more than a figment of her imagination.  But I lean to the other possibility, that they really are present.  But you can see where either narrative makes sense.