Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Life of DeathA Life of Death by Weston Kincade

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Alex Drummond has enough to deal with, really. His father was killed by a drunk driver a few years ago; his mother got remarried and moved them in with her new husband, who is a vicious alcoholic and beats Alex frequently to within an inch of his life; Alex’s step-brother, Frank, is a layabout who also beats on him, and his two step-sisters are an annoyance to him; and he’s an outsider at school, small and picked on by the larger kids. Now he’s developed an alarming tendency – when he touches things that were somehow touching a person when they were murdered, he falls into a vision and relives their death. And the people whose deaths he is reliving expect him to do something about it.

Partly a paranormal suspense book, partly a coming-of-age story, and even including a little bit of romance, “A Life of Death” is a completely amazing story! I won’t lie to you, it is often very intense – the tension evinced by this book is amazingly well-done and I often felt my heart racing from the extremity of emotions that it raised. It is tightly plotted and suspenseful; the characters are well-developed and realistic – the whole thing just came to life in my mind while I was reading it, and the sudden silence whenever I would look up showed me just how much it filled my mind while I was reading it.

The story is bracketed interestingly – the very beginning and very end are Alex as an older man, a police detective, helping his son with a project for school. The story itself is the tale he tells the boy. I thought this was a neat way to open and close the story and it left me with hopes that we might expect a series of Alex Drummond mystery novels in the future. I would certainly buy them!

Fans of paranormal mystery and suspense stories should enjoy this book. Definitely give it a read as soon as you can!

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012  (link to Cambria's Meme banner - I have no idea how to do this stuff, can ya tell??)

Welcome to my first Tell Me Something Tuesday meme!  This is in response to Cambria Hebert's question:

Tell Me Something:
If you could travel into any book to the setting and meet the characters which book would it be and why?

To which I have to answer ... DAY-UM ... wow.  I can think of lots of places I'd love to visit - Pern, Tarzan's jungle, Lestat's New Orleans, the future of the Pact Arcanum... you can get the idea.  Like Cambria, if I went into all of them, it would make you want to gouge out your eyes to avoid reading any more!  LOL  Now, considering the danger involved, I would STILL say that I would want to visit Pern.  Follow this linkie-winkie for a map: I would love to see a fire lizard, ride a dragon, TALK to a dragon ... I would love to visit the Harper Hall and meet some of my favorite people - it would have to be back before Robinton dies, of course, because I would absolutely HAVE to meet him!

If you haven't read Anne McCaffrey's Pern novels, folks, you don't know what you are missing!  Yes, there is the ever-present danger of Threadfall, but to combat that, the original settlers genetically engineered the local fire lizards and created both the magnificent dragons of Pern - who telepathically bond with a single rider at hatching - and the somewhat twisted watch whers, which are used in the mines, as well as stationed in high places around the weyrs to sound an alarm when Thread is coming.  The dragons (and any local fire lizards as well) chew firestone - a local rock that will cause dragons to breath fire - and then they and their human friends fly and fight Thread.  It's all very thrilling!

Well, sadly Anne McCaffrey has left this world - I can hope she is in a wonderful place with dragons to ride.  Her son has tried to take the reins on the Pern novels, but he's too focused on action and they're just not as good.  At any rate, here are the Pern novels straight from Wiki, for those who are now intrigued!

Thanks to for hosting this weekly Meme!!

Monday, February 27, 2012

"Hemlock Grove" by Brian McGreevy review

Hemlock Grove review
Author: Brian McGreevy
5 out of 5stars

Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book from the Vine program in exchange for an honest review.

Hemlock Grove is filled with interesting characters and facilities. There is the newly-arrived Peter Rumancek, a half-breed gypsy and werewolf. There is Roman Godfrey, scion of the powerful Godfrey family, who formerly owned the metalworks and whom now own the mental health facility. There is his sister, Shelley, a giant who wears boxes full of soil on her feet. There is Dr. Pryce, who runs the biomedical facility – who is either a sociopath or autistic, and who is super-humanly strong. And there is someone – or something – that is horribly killing young girls.

I liked this book just fine, until way toward the end, where – OK, I’ll admit it, I’m going to give you a spoiler, but if you, like I, love cats, you might thank me for it. There is an incident with a cat. And it’s not a happy thing. You have been warned.

Nevertheless, overall, I liked this book, although the writing does tend toward stream-of-consciousness and it is sometimes difficult to understand what is being said. Some of that might have been corrected for the final version, however – since some of the problem was the uncorrected nature of the ARC I was reading. However, the writing is also witty and the cast of quirky characters is wonderful - I would have liked to have seen them a bit better developed in some cases, as they often seemed to be defined by their appearance more than anything, but as the book went on, some of them were developed pretty well. This is listed as being a gothic book, and that is quite true. I laughed a lot, but at the end, there isn’t a lot to laugh about. Not a sad ending, per se, but not a happy one, either. Not a book I would recommend for sensitive readers. However, people who like werewolves should love this book. People who enjoyed Frankenstein will love this book. A lot of people will love this book. Don’t be afraid – go ahead and give it a read. Just be aware that there are moments that are somewhat difficult to bear.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

"The Inquisitor" by Mark Allen Smith - a review

The Inquisitor review
Author: Mark Allen Smith
5 out of 5 stars

Disclosure: I received a free ARC of this book from the Vine program in exchange for an honest review.

Geiger has no memory prior to arriving in New York on a bus – he doesn’t even know his name. He is, however, able to create beautiful creations through carpentry, and, as it turns out, he has another gift – he is able to tell if someone is lying. He is in the Information Retrieval business – he … “convinces” people to tell the truth through various methods and application of different forms of pain. He has few rules, but one of the main ones is that he never, ever works on children. When a client shows up with a last-minute change in plans that includes a young boy, Geiger takes the boy and goes on the run. Will he be able to protect the boy and keep himself and his partner alive? Will he be able to discover the truth behind what the client wants?

This is a unique story with a unique protagonist. Geiger is not a terribly sympathetic person – he is cold, distant, detached – almost schizophrenic in affect. However, underneath the surface, something is boiling and the reader finds herself strangely interested in what is happening to this mysterious man. The other characters are as memorable, as quirky, and as multi-faceted as Geiger. The story was highly engaging and, while occasionally fairly violent, should be one that most fans of suspense and thrillers should enjoy. I’m going to give one spoiler, for those who, like me, worry about such things. The cat comes through just fine.

"When She Woke" by Hillary Jordan review

I read this amazing book yesterday (2/24/2012).

When She Woke
Author: Hillary Jordan
5 out of 5 stars

Disclosure: I received this book from the Vine program in return for an honest review.

Hannah Payne committed the unforgivable sin; she aborted her pregnancy. After the Scourge – the STD that turned so many women sterile – Sanctity of Life laws were passed in the majority of the states making abortion not only illegal, but a felony. Then the melachroming laws were passed, and those who had murdered someone – including their unborn children – were turned red. Because Hannah refused to name the person who performed her abortion, nor the father of the child, extra time was added to her sentence. To make matters worse, there is a group named The Fist that took it upon themselves to kill women like her, and she has been targeted. Will she be able to escape? Will she be able to be free?

I was impressed with this book on many levels. Obviously I felt the overall message – about a person’s right to choose, and about the dangers of rampant fundamentalism – were worthwhile. But at the same time, the book not only does not bash faith and Christianity, it is actually sympathetic to them. Aidan Dale is a truly Christian man, humble and caring, but also human and fallible. At one point Hannah is succored by an Episcopal priest, an earthy woman who is nonetheless another truly good person. Throughout the book, Hannah faces the fact that her former faith was a weak and wavering thing, one that could not stand against her questioning nature because it was based upon what other people felt was best and right, not upon what she, herself, felt was right in her own heart. When she found her own faith, it is a strong and sturdy thing, because it acknowledges the need for questioning and personal revelation.

The characters in this book are strong and well-developed, unique and interesting. While there are a lot of strings left. The story was enthralling – I’ve had a difficult weekend finding a good book, spending two days on two different books, neither of which I could finish, before starting this one a scant 8 hours ago and finishing it with only a couple short breaks to fix myself tea. Highly recommended for ANYONE and EVERYONE – you MUST read this book!

Review: Freud's Revenge

Freud's Revenge
Freud's Revenge by PJ Adams

My rating: 0 of 5 stars

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Review: The Last Day

The Last Day
The Last Day by Glenn Kleier

My rating: 0 of 5 stars

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A short post

Watch this space for upcoming book reviews, cover reveals, random other things and whatever else I put here.  I may copy over some stuff from my LiveJournal, too.  Until then ... watch the skies!!  Ehrm, I mean, watch this apce!!