Draculas by J.A. Konrath, Blake Crouch, Jack Kilborn, F. Paul Wilson, Jeff Strand

October 20, 2010

I can’t explain why I love Draculas. I’ve always enjoyed vampire stories, it’s true. But Draculas wasn’t merely a vampire story. It was a gorefest. Horror squared. Fangs on steroids. My friends are shocked, my husband shakes his head. I read huddled over my electronic reading device with the lights on, wondering why I torture myself so. I’ll never look at a hospital in the same way. I’ve always been a little distrustful of clowns anyway.

Written by 4 authors, it was impossible to tell where one started and the next ended. The story and characters were seamlessly joined. The pace is unrelenting.

The bonus material is a fantastic addition!

Draculas is exactly what it was meant to be. Ghoulish fun.

Sister Wife by Diane Noble

July 30, 2010

The Sister Wife (Brides of Gabriel Book One)

Diane Noble

ISBN: 978-0061962226

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

Love finds Lady Mary Rose Ashley, a new convert to Mormonism and ship architect, Gabriel MacKay aboard a ship traveling from England to America. Marrying during their travels, the new couple find themselves in the settlement of Nauvoo, where Prophet Joseph Smith receives a revelation about plural marriage. Mary Rose is put in a difficult situation when her best friend, Bronwyn is suddenly widowed and Gabriel is told he must marry her. While Bronwyn professes to remain platonic, Mary Rose fears her husband is falling in love.

In the first book in the Brides of Gabriel series, we are introduced to the foundation of polygamy in Mormonism in the 1800’s. An extremely well researched and gripping story that tactfully illustrates different belief systems while keeping the reader riveted.  What proves to be an accurate account of what life must have been like in the burgeoning Illinois settlement; THE SISTER WIFE explores the practice of plural marriage without sensationalizing it.

Written with depth of emotion and strength of character, Diane Noble holds her readers captive. The biggest disappointment was that it was over too soon.

Avon Inspire, June 2010, 352 Pages, $12.99, Reviewed by Terri Dukes

Valley of Bones by Eric Wilson

May 10, 2010

Suspense

Valley of Bones (Jerusalem’s Undead Trilogy)

Eric Wilson

ISBN: 978-1595544605

Rating: 4-1/2 Stars

A unique and nail biting thriller, VALLEY OF THE BONES is the long awaited conclusion to the Jerusalem’s Udead Trilogy. With his first two novels, the author has built a firm foundation of strong characters and a compelling plot. As the characters grew in their faith and maturity, the more thought provoking and intense the story has become.  To fully appreciate how the story has come full circle, it would be a good idea to start with FIELD OF BLOOD, and HAUNT OF JACKALS. You’ll miss so many interesting nuances otherwise.

It was immediately apparent how well researched the series was, both Biblically and geographically. After reading the author’s note, and learning of his travels to the Holy Land, it became even more obvious how influenced he was by his experiences and what a blessing that was for the reader.

This is an epic telling of good versus evil in a diverse and distinctive way you won’t be able to stop thinking about.

Summary:  Gina Lazarescu has been preparing for a battle with The Collectors her whole life. Now everything is on the line as the people she loves the most are in direct danger from the evil undead.

The Collectors are searching for The Crown of Thorns, and when they find it, it will be the end. The only thing standing between them and their wicked desires are Gina, her loved ones, and Those Who Resist.

Thomas Nelson, May 2010, 416 Pages, $14.99, Reviewed by Terri Dukes

Play Dead by Ryan Brown

May 10, 2010

Play Dead

Ryan Brown

ISBN: 978-1439171301

Rating: 4-1/2 Stars

I’m not a football fan. I don’t know a Steeler from a Seahawk, but fortunately, PLAY DEAD is so entertaining and clever, you don’t have to enjoy football or even zombies to enjoy reading it. Although it probably wouldn’t hurt! I was loathe to put it down after the first chapter. From the hilarious hi jinks of the characters to the cringe worthy antics of the zombie football players, I was completely drawn in.

I haven’t enjoyed a debut novel this much in ages. The pacing kept me turning pages until the wee hours of the morning and the dialog had me laughing out loud. Ryan Brown’s real talent was showcased by the tension he kept rolling for the entire 344 pages until at last; I could breathe a sigh of relief when it was over. I’ll be keeping a watchful eye out for more from this gifted author!

Summary: Cole Logan is the star quarterback for the Killington Jackrabbits, and he’s having a bad day. A district championship is riding on his upcoming game against their arch rival team, the Elmwood Badgers. So when he’s approached by masked thugs and told to lose the game and they cut off a couple fingers to make their point, Cole’s ready to get even, not quit. Unfortunately, things go too far, and instead of merely blocking the road to keep the Jackrabbits from the big game, the steroid induced Badgers manage to run the bus full of football players into the river. Everyone except for the coach and Cole perish. Or do they? After a scary ritual in the woods, the Jackrabbits aren’t dead, or alive. But if they don’t win a game against the Badgers, in 48 hours, they will be evil. Evil and undead is not a good combination. Now it’s up to Cole, the coach, and his daughter, Savannah to bring together the biggest rivalry football game ever played. The stakes have never been higher.

Gallery Books; May 2010; 344 Pages; $24.99; Reviewed by Terri Dukes

The Sleeping Beauty Proposal by Sarah Strohmeyer

July 28, 2009

Genie Michaels boyfriend of four years is finally proposing….On National television no less! Unfortunatly, just not to her. But since everyone thinks he proposed to her, and he has left her to deal with the aftermath, she decides to just go with the flow.sleeping-beauty

As her mother plans the reception and wedding gifts start flooding in, Genie begins to blossom. A new trainer to get her in shape for her dress, new knickers for the wedding night are just a few things that bring out the confidence Genie’s been missing. Unfortunately, she’s getting “married” just in time to meet Mr. Right.

This book was so much fun! From the cringe-worthy beginning when Genie realizes her boyfriend wasn’t actually proposing to her to all the moments after where she changes into the confident woman really deserving of a Happily Ever After.

I enjoyed the flawed and interesting characters Strohmeyer created. It makes them all the more realistic and easy to relate to giving the reader someone to cheer for. There are just enough plot twists to make the story familiar yet unpredictable.

One could even go deeper and think of this book as a bit of a character study. Why do we wait to give new brides a shower to start their new life with Cuisinarts and cutting boards? Why do we wait for a prospective husband to give us a diamond ring? I didn’t really buy the feminist aspect of the story, but it made for fun reading and gave the characters justification for their actions. I also didn’t agree with the point that I think the author was making regarding the importance of marriage. I didn’t think that the end justified the means as far as the deception went, but it was a light-hearted read that I thoroughly enjoyed!

Cherry Bomb by J.A. Konrath

July 20, 2009

cherry

Lt. Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels has survived and escaped her deadliest foe only to be tormented and tortured by the madwoman again and again. Alex Kork, the psychopathic, sadistic serial killer from Hell, isn’t done with Jack yet. She calls the guilt ridden Jack at the funeral of a loved one, putting yet another depraved plan into action. In order to finally catch Kork, Jack finds herself working without her badge, official resources, with only her grief for fuel.
I am a very selfish book reviewer and committed fan of the Jack Daniels series. Now that I have made that confession, I have to be honest and get my disappointment out of the way… It was too darn short! 304 pages would normally be a good length, but I’m greedy. The shock and awe chapters are rapidly paced, making bathroom breaks a challenge. I do have to say, sadly, that once you bring in a monkey into your story line, you’re getting ready to jump the shark, if you haven’t already. This monkey was particularly heinous and disgusting, bringing a certain humorous je ne sais quoi, but like the cashmere sweater that became his girlfriend, some things are better left undone.
Konrath isn’t shy about putting his characters through torment. This time, he puts Jack in touch with her darkest side, testing her strength like never before. Fortunately, Phineas Troutt is back in Cherry Bomb . He’s got to be one of my, and many readers, favorite characters in the series.
The ending had a very conclusive flavor to it. It did leave some openings for more from Jack and Friends, but tied also everything up with that closing time feel. I hope the bar stools haven’t been put up for the night!

Kiss and Hell by Dakota Cassidy

June 25, 2009

kiss

Some people see the image of Oprah burned on their morning Wonder Bread. Some people see car keys float midair. Some people even claim to see UFO’s. Delaney Markham? She sees ghosts. And hears ghosts. And it makes her life pretty darn difficult with the spectres popping in and out at all hours. In her attempt to make lemonade out of lemons, Delaney holds séances to make ends meet and maybe help people find some closure. Okay, she comes across the occasional demon, but that’s what her industrial sized box of Morton’s salt is for. Until Clyde. He’s a demon that just won’t leave her side. Fortunately, he’s easy on the eyes. Unfortunately, Lucifer has bid him to drag Delaney to hell. Why are the good ones always married or demons?

Dakota Cassidy has done it again. She’s written another hilarious, laugh until your snorting out loud, and your kids bring their friends over to take pictures of you for blackmail, book. And in these tough times, we all need some good funny. Fans of The Accidental Werewolf, Accidentally Dead and The Accidental Human will love KISS AND HELL. The same unique style and sense of humor, only with a whole new set of characters and a distinctive flair, it’s a winner. Delaney says so many wonderfully sarcastic things that dance around in my head, but I don’t have the nerve to say. Or chic to pull off.

And yet there is always a sensitive side to Ms. Cassidy’s books bringing just a bit of realism to the urban fantasy. Her characters are fruitful and fulfilling in ways I wish more people were. Delaney’s love affair with her 6 needy doggies was hilarious and touching at the same time. And Clyde was a sexy beast for taking them potties in the early morning hours! Yeah, give me a leading man with six pack abs, but one who loves three legged dogs and takes them potty? Now that is sexy. Another well written tome from Dakota Cassidy!

The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers by Angie Fox

June 25, 2009

demon

Lizzie Brown is a new demon slayer on the block. Well, at least she has a permit. Now she’s in a mad dash to Vegas with her biker witches, talking terrier and gryphon boyfriend for back up when Succubi are taking over the city and are holding her Uncle hostage. If only there was some sort of manual for this sort of thing…

In Angie Fox’s second book in her demon slaying series, we’re in for a serious treat. It’s a wilder ride than cruising on the back of a Harley in a halter top. The Accidental Demon Slayer provided us with a great foundation and now that the characters are established, there’s a lot of room for Lizzie and the gang to grow AND kick booty. A strong supporting cast provides a lot of laughs and a multitude of magical reinforcement.

While there are rip roaring moments of fun, THE DANGEROUS BOOK FOR DEMON SLAYERS delves a bit deeper into Lizzie’s family history and has a more serious feel. The author lets her talent show as she gives the reader a great balance of light hearted humor with a darker plot. She’s not afraid to let her characters grow, and Lizzie took every advantage. I’m pleased that this series continues to grow at just the right pace.

I particularly enjoyed the bits of Demon Slayer Manual that Lizzie wrote. It gave the reader a break from the intense moments in the story and I would have appreciated even more.

I’m happy to recommend THE DANGEROUS BOOK FOR DEMON SLAYERS.

Sorcery and the Single Girl by Mindy Klasky

June 25, 2009

single

Witchy novice, Jane, thinks her future lies with a large and prestigious coven. Soon she learns they must accept her as one of them and she must pass all their tests, or they will confiscate her collection of books, her friend and familiar, and her priceless collection of gems and crystals. While training for these exams with her mentor, Jane is distracted by a suave and hunky guy and a new friend from the coven, where it looks like she chooses new friends over old. Can’t a girl have a life and be a witch too?

I didn’t realize this was the second book in the series until well after I finished reading it. Obviously there was enough back story cleverly scattered throughout that I had no problem keeping up. Now I’m curious enough to go back and see how Jane came to discover her talents and her familiar, the rather self involved cat and occasional man in Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft.

Definitely a page turner, Jane’s antics kept me reading long after I should have turned off the bedside light. The author’s talent can be accredited because although the story itself was sometimes quite predictable, the authenticity of the situations kept me interested. Sometimes the situations were painfully authentic. Ever fallen for the wrong guy who was too good to be true? Ever make your best friend feel bad and not know what to do about it? Oh, and my favorite… Ever want to be part of the popular book club, wine tasting group, or popular kids back in high school? Mindy Klansky brings realism to a fantastic fairy tale.

I was glad to find the story uplifting and more importantly, enlightening.

I Got a New Booooook

June 17, 2009

I know, big deal, right? I’ve been trying (and mostly failing) to read books from my bulging shelves. Books I’ve had for years and have been wanting to read. I’m a finicky girl though (and I think my husband would agree, although he better not agree too heartily!) and I have to be in the mood. Sometimes a book will call my name, and talk me into buying, but end up hanging out on the shelf for a while. Other times, a book will call my name, and I must buy and read immediately. Tonight was one of those times. Thank you, payday!

I’ve been looking forward to buying the second in Angela Hunt’s Fairlawn series, SHE ALWAYS WORE RED. But then, calling to me from across the store, was a book I wasn’t expecting. By an author I haven’t heard from in a long time. I loved the first two in her series, hated the third and kept waiting for a fourth to redeem itself. Finally! Lo and behold!

Kyra Davis’ LUST, LOATHING AND A LITTLE LIP GLOSS. I can’t explain my nearly unbridled excitement. I was so hugely disappointed by OBSESSION, DECEIT AND REALLY DARK CHOCOLATE. I think it was actually one of my first negative reviews, and I hated writing it. This new release caught me by total surprise. I’m usually on top of things like this…

So, I hope no one minds. I’ll be buried in a book tomorrow. Someone please water my garden. Thanks!


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