Archive for April, 2009

Death’s Daughter by Amber Benson

April 30, 2009

death

Calliope Reaper-Jones was great at shopping for designer clothes, searching for organic dim sum for her demanding boss, and living a regular life. Unfortunately, a normal life isn’t what fate has in mind for Callie. She has actually been under the thrall of a “Forget” spell and it’s come time for her to remember.

Returning to the family estate, she discovers her father, Death himself, has been kidnapped. Seems it’s time for Callie to take over the family business and hopefully save her father as well. Being the Grim Reaper isn’t as easy as it sounds, and Callie has to satisfy certain requirements in order to be official. Including a trip to Hell, keeping the Devil’s hunky protégé at bay, and making sure Kali, Goddess of Destruction keeps her temper.

I was quite impressed by Amber Benson’s first solo book. Many fans of urban fantasy and paranormal will be familiar with the author from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and her portrayal of Tara. DEATH’S DAUGHTER is proof of her multitude of talents.

Calliope (what a fantastic name!) was a great character with a lot of room for growth. Although she starts out slightly self absorbed, she grows into her newfound responsibility and I had a great time getting to know her. Callie’s rapid fire wit kept me smiling page after page.

In the familiar genre of urban fantasy, I found DEATH’S DAUGHTER to be quite unique. Not a vampire or werewolf was to be found. Instead we had hellhounds, an uppity faun and other characters of mythology and religion, combined with a healthy dose of creativity.

Although there were some scenes of violence and near sexual rendezvous, this could be a fun possibility for older young adult readers. I always appreciate a book that focuses more on character and plot development.

Callie was a total kick in the pants. There’s so much potential that I am really looking forward to what DEATH’S DAUGHTER is up to next in the series. Highly recommended!

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Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich

April 28, 2009

plum

Stephanie Plum, bounty hunter… well, not quite extraordinaire is back, in her first full length “Between the Numbers” book in the series. This time, Diesel, bounty hunter definitely extraordinaire, is along for the ride as Stephanie hunts Martin Munch, boy (okay, he’s in his twenties) genius. Diesel is really after Wulf Grimoire, who seems to be connected to Munch. Diesel and Stephanie’s partnership takes them out to the freaky Pine Barrens of New Jersey to find their quarry. If they can manage it with a menagerie of monkey’s at every turn!

Okay, I love Stephanie. Call it an addiction, because apparently I can’t stop reading this series even when this installation shows I should know better.

My first issue with PLUM SPOOKY is the title. What was spooky? The Pine Barrens is supposed to be. The legend of The Jersey Devil is supposed to be. Somehow, this story made any possibility of spookiness just ridiculous. There was no spook factor at all. Instead we get a retired Easter Bunny and Sasquatch. What? Disappointment number one.

My second issue is with Diesel. Who is this guy? What is the deal with his powers? Where in the Sam Hill does he come from? There are just too many questions. Great. He’s cute. Do we really need a third guy sleeping with Stephanie? Not really. Diesel isn’t adding to the storyline, he just irritates me because I know next to nothing about the dude. Give him his own series. A spin off. The poor guy has potential with nowhere to go and no place to go back to. Disappointment number two.

My third issue is with Lula, Tank, farting in general and too many monkeys. (I’m combining issues to save on the length of this review.) Lula used to add some spice. She was a gun toting mama with enough attitude and confidence to take on anyone. In this book, she was relegated to farting. She wasn’t the only one, unfortunately. We have a character named Elmer the Fire Farter whose farts actually explode. Tank takes up residence in a little old lady’s house with lots of cats. Hunh? That’s not ironic, that’s character assassination. The monkeys don’t really make sense. I suppose they were there for humor but it was overkill. Too many monkeys spoil the mix. Wasn’t there an old saying about once you have to get cute animals in on the act, you’re pretty much done? Yeah, I think we’re done. Wasn’t Bob the dog enough? I miss the days of good old Bob eating half the house and dumping a truck load on Joyce’s (remember Stephanie’s nemesis?) front lawn. Disappointment three, four, five, and oh for goodness sake. You get the point.

I haven’t wanted to admit it, even to myself, but I have to say that my beloved Stephanie has jumped the shark. There were still some great Morelli moments courtesy of his carousing brother, a good Ranger moment or two, even a Grandma Mazur giggle, bringing my rating up by a half for good times sake. Unfortunately, Stephanie can no longer be counted on for a solid laugh, a good mystery, or even the comforting familiarity of characters I’ve loved for years. So much about those characters are gone and have become nothing more than a bad fart joke.

My advice for new readers to the series is to start with ONE FOR THE MONEY and enjoy the pants off the next seven books or so. You’ll find sharp wit, touching moments, and a page turning mystery with actual nail biting danger thrown in.

Reading, Reading and Reading…

April 16, 2009

Since the doctor decided my insomnia was ridiculous, Ambien has been my friend. Unfortunately, I haven’t been reading nearly as much as a result. And I’m reading about five books at once. I hate it when I do that…

So, I’m nearly done with Set Sail for Murder by Carolyn Hart on audio book.

Ditto Healing Stones by Nancy Rue and Stephen Arterburn in print. Awesome, touching book I want to share with everyone immediately.

Over My Dead Body by Michele Bardsley, an ARC I am privy to since becoming a Supreme Minion that I downloaded onto My Precious, AKA Sony E Reader. I’m enjoying it more than the previous installment in the Broken Heart series!

Bringing Up Boys by Dr. James Dobson. With two boys, ages 8 and 3, I need all the help I can get, thankyouverymuch. Boys are so different from girls. Duh, right? Almost finished with that one as well.

Women’s Devotional Guide to the Bible that I’m reading with a friend. I think… We both keep flaking. I love the book though! I will finish it!

Reviews of Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich, Death’s Daughter by Amber Benson and Edge of Evil by J.A. Jance will be posted in a couple of days. You’ve been warned. Heh.