Book Meme

Jun. 4th, 2017 12:11 pm
chez_jae: (Books)
I borrowed this from the library of [profile] tanyareed!

1. Hardback or Paperback? Paper, because they're less expensive and easier to store.

2. Borrow or Buy? Buy, because I like to re-read favorites. Those books that aren't "keepers" get donated.

3. Fantasy or Sci-fi? I've always loved fantasy and never been fond of sci-fi.

4. Love-triangle or Love at first sight? Both tropes are annoying, in my opinion.

5. Wall shelves or Bookcases? Bookcases, lots of them!

The rest below the cut )
chez_jae: (Books)
Earlier this evening, I finished reading the ebook Deadly Intent, which is the first book in author Kate Allenton's "Linked Inc" series.

Quinn Thatcher and her sisters have formed a company called Linked Inc, which enables them to use their psychic abilities to help others. Quinn can see and communicate with spirits. The ghost of a Scotsman badgers her until she agrees to collect a precious jewel from his grave and return it to the Menzie Clan in Scotland. Quinn plans to deliver the jewel and return home. She arrives to find Collin Menzie and his friend, Ian McDougall, reenacting their clans' infamous battle over the missing gem. Quinn marches into the fray, hands the emerald off to Collin, and sweeps off again.

Collin, however, is determined to find out more about the mysterious American beauty and how she came to be in possession of the emerald. There's also the matter of an age-old curse on his family that Quinn's presence has set into motion.

When Quinn's pilot becomes deathly ill, she is forced to stay in Scotland longer than she wanted to. She reluctantly agrees to become a guest in Collin's ancestral home, where she learns that her part in events, both past, present, and future, has already been foretold. Quinn and Collin must join forces to find out who has tried to harm Quinn, as well as lay the curse to rest.

A very interesting read. I was quite taken with it. Quinn is feisty and smart, and she has no qualms about taking Collin to her bed. What she didn't count on was falling in love with him.

Favorite lines:
♦ The sound was as loud and annoying as a foghorn mating with a tornado siren.
♦ "It's dangerous to stand between a woman and dessert."


Will definitely read more in this series! Four stars:

****
chez_jae: (Books)
Having the day off afforded me the opportunity to read an ebook novella, Murder of a Werewolf, by April Fernsby. It's the first story in the "Brimstone Witch" mystery series.

Cassia Winter is stuck in a soul-sucking job, a boring apartment, and a manipulative relationship. Even her cat, Stanley, seems depressed and morose. Unable to see her suffer, Cassia's Gran tells Cassia that she's a witch--they both are. Cassia doesn't believe her Gran at first, but gradually, childhood memories of playing in Brimstone begin to resurface. Cassia learns that the Winter witches have long investigated crimes in Brimstone, and she learns that her Gran is involved in a murder investigation. A werewolf, who initially seemed to have committed suicide, was instead murdered. When someone attacks Gran, it's up to Cassia to accept the mantle of the Winter witches and take up the investigation.

Cassia meets some odd people and creatures in Brimstone, including werewolves, elves, and the beautiful butterflies that act as messengers. She also reconnects with Luca, her childhood friend, who is now a handsome man. Cassia isn't sure what she's doing, but she knows one thing: she's not going back to her humdrum life again.

This was a fun, lite story. The narrative was simplistic, but not in an aggravating way. Rather, it made for a nice, light, afternoon read. Cassia was a likable heroine, and I enjoyed meeting other characters. Some things, which seemed obvious at first, turned out to be a surprise, but other things were not fully resolved. Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable read.

Favorite line: Did cats become morbid?

The talking cats were my favorite part! Good story, and I'll certainly read more. Four stars:

****
chez_jae: (Books)
I took advantage of my 3-day weekend to read Broken Soul by Faith Hunter. It's part of her urban fantasy series, featuring skinwalker Jane Yellowrock.

With a looming visit from a delegation of European vampires in the future, it's up to Jane to help Leo, the Master of the City of New Orleans, beef up security at vampire Headquarters. Everyone involved seems to think this meeting is a prelude to war, and tensions are high. Jane, however, has bigger issues. A being made of light seems bent on attacking her, she's being tailed wherever she goes, and Leo's former primo, George (whom Jane affectionately calls Bruiser), seems bent on seducing her. Worse, Jane's inner cat, Beast, likes Bruiser.

This particular book was less engrossing/gripping than others, but it featured much more in the way of vampire history, Jane's abilities, and more from Beast. While I enjoyed and appreciated that, it still took me all weekend to read. Had it been a "normal" Jane Yellowrock book, I probably would have knocked it all back on Saturday. The battle scenes weren't as intense, due to Jane's newfound ability, but they were still gory and exciting in an edge-of-your-seat manner. It was interesting to see how carefully Bruiser courted Jane, as well as to witness Leo's jealous rage over it.

Favorite lines:
♦ Call me a lover of slasher porn, but some dudes just deserved to lose their heads. Both of them.
♦ New beginnings often started with the broken bits and shattered pieces of the old.
♦ "Religion as a political entity is always horrible."


In spite of the deviation from the "norm" (for this series), I really enjoyed the book. Five stars:

*****
chez_jae: (Books)
I recently finished reading an ebook: Smoke by Val St Crowe. It's the first installment in the author's "Slayer Chronicles".

Clarke Gannon makes her living by slaying rogue dragons. It pays well, and she needs the money to help take care of her sister, who is an addict. When Naelen Spencer, a wealthy dragonshifter, shows up and wants to hire Clarke to help him find his sister, she turns him down at first. She kills rogues; she doesn't locate missing dragons. Naelen won't take no for an answer, and he continues upping the ante until Clarke agrees. She can use the money to get her sister into rehab.

What promises to be a tough job becomes worse when Naelen insists on accompanying Clarke in the search for his sister. He's an entitled playboy who is clueless about navigating the seamy underworld that his sister was drawn into. Aside from that, Clarke is reluctantly attracted to him, and Naelen is bent on bedding her. Complicating matters is her on-again-off-again lover, Logan, who flits in and out of the narrative. Clarke and Naelen track his sister to a vampire's lair, where she is being held under a compulsion. Dragons are supposed to be immune to magic, but this vampire has some tricks up his sleeve.

The story wasn't great. Naelen came across as juvenile in every sense of the word. Clarke at least had a good head on her shoulders, but I was disappointed in how difficult it was for her to refuse Naelen's hamhanded advances. Throughout this story, she managed the feat, but barely. I am so done with (supposedly) strong female leads who can barely think when the hunky male lead is all up in their hamster ball. The two of them bumbled from one lead to another on their quest to find Reign, including an overnight excursion with an unconventional family. I saw no reason to devote so much of the narrative to this side-venture. In short, a blah, plodding story with no world-building whatsoever, an ass of a male lead, and no real resolution at the end.

Favorite line: And when someone's relying on you, it changes something in you. Makes you braver.

Two stars:

**
chez_jae: (Books)
I brought my work book home on Tuesday and finished it that evening. It was Falling Upwards by Kassandra Sims. I've been doing a lot of book culling the past year or so, but for some reason, I continued to hang onto this one. I'm glad I did!

Neva is a businesswoman on a trip to Wales, when she meets a strange young man in a pub. March is intense and gorgeous and seems strangely fascinated with Neva. The feeling is mutual, as she continues to dream about him even after she returns home to the States. Neva's carefully ordered life begins to unravel, and she follows a compulsion to drive to her grandparents' property and dive into the pond. She emerges into a world not her own. Here, animals talk, including the crow who tells her to remove all the steel she is wearing, and the stag who tells her she must fetch two locks of hair. Neva eventually encounters March, and she soon finds herself on a quest to save him from a cyclical curse.

Along the way, she meets giants, a surfer dude who may or may not be a god, and King Arthur. Neva isn't sure what she's supposed to be doing, but she does know she's finding March more and more difficult to resist.

This was a magical story in every sense of the word. The author's descriptions were lush and vivid, and I admired Neva's spirit and determination. She is alternately drawn to March, yet aggravated by his secretive ways. Characters were well-drawn, including those who merely flitted through the narrative. Therefore, it was truly disappointing that the ending of the book seemed so rushed. It was as if the author grew tired of writing it and simply wanted to finish it. Neva and March both deserved better than that.

Favorite lines:
♦ She felt like she'd walked onto the set of a soap opera and hadn't been handed a script.
♦ If a crow talked to you, you at least owed it to the universe to respond.
♦ Only family can take you from pleased to pissed in one sentence.


I really loved this story, up until the last chapter. There was resolution, but it felt like I missed that chapter or something. Would have given this a five, but it gets a four-star review instead.

****
chez_jae: (Books)
Took me a week, but I finally finished reading Dyeing Wishes by Molly MacRae. It's the second book in her "Haunted Yarn Shop" mystery series. The book was interesting, but playoff hockey has taken a bite out of my time. Hee!

Kath and her new friends from the TGIF knitting group are visiting the farm of one of their members, for a workshop on dyeing fiber. While there, Debbie's sheep are acting strangely, and she and Kath go into the pasture to see what has the livestock all a'twitter. They come across the bodies of a young couple. At first, it appears to be a murder/suicide, but the young woman's mother, also a member of TGIF, wants Kath to look into it.

Kath is reluctant to get involved, but her fellow TGIF pals, along with her ghost, Geneva, all encourage her. In the course of investigating, Kath runs afoul of local deputy, Cole "Clod" Dunbar, as well as her interfering aunts, the infamous Spivey twins. Geneva is having difficulty separating the current crime from one she claims happened long ago, which leaves her in a ghostly funk. In the meantime, Kath has to name the cat who adopted her, try to find her grandmother's secret dye journals, and, oh yes, run the business she inherited from her grandmother.

The story was fun, and the pace was good. I found the ending to be somewhat confusing, but I did get to meet new characters and reconnect with familiar ones.

Favorite lines:
♦ "Mud, maybe, but these shoes don't do ewe poo."
♦ I was definitely still in the early, perplexed, "why me?" stage of being haunted.
♦ They were about as easy to catch as an explosion of grasshoppers.
♦ "Where cake trumps, hope lives."


Good, but not great--four stars:

****
chez_jae: (Books)
Apparently, I've been to busy to post here. I finished reading Murder at Monticello on Thursday evening. Ahem. It's the third book in the "Mrs Murphy" mystery series by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown.

Harry Harristeen and friends and residents of Crozet, VA, have been raising funds to help renovate Monticello, the former residence of Thomas Jefferson. When an archaeological dig at the slave quarters turns up a skeleton, the entire town is abuzz with speculation. However, after someone affiliated with the renovations is murdered, everyone's attention shifts to this current menace in their midst. Harry is convinced the two deaths, old and new, have something in common. Her pets, Mrs Murphy and Tee Tucker, launch an investigation of their own, in an effort to sniff out a killer before any harm can come to Harry.

I enjoyed this book, but not as much as I've liked others in the series. It's all written in third person point of view, which is fine, but in this book, the focus was not on Harry and her pets nearly as often as in previous installments. Even in third person pov, the action should center on the main character(s). This one seemed to jump around too much, although I can see that it helped set the stage for the climax, as well as providing some clues as to who dunnit.

Favorite lines:
♦ "We're all trying to do too much in too little time. It's all about money. It'll kill us. It'll kill America."
♦ "It's so easy to love animals and so hard to love people."
♦ The day you see, the night you hear.
♦ Pewter, furious, sat down and bawled. "I will not run. I will not take another step. My paws are sore and I hate everybody. You can't leave me here!"

Just like a cat!
♦ "Too bad humans don't have fur. Think of the money they'd save," said Paddy. // "Yeah, and they'd get over worrying about what color they were because with fur you can be all colors."
♦ "Who is more anti-Semitic than another Jew? Who is more antigay than another homosexual? More antifeminist than another woman? The oppressed contain reservoirs of viciousness reserved entirely for their own kind."

This book was written more than 20 years ago, and I am amazed at how it resonates today.

Good book, four stars:

****
chez_jae: (Books)
Between yesterday and today, I read An Ice Cold Grave, which is the third installment in Charlaine Harris' "Harper Connelly" series.

Harper and her stepbrother Tolliver are summoned to the small NC town of Doraville to search for the bodies of several missing teen boys. Initially, it was thought they were runaways, but there have been too many, and the residents, along with newly-elected sheriff Sandra Rockwell, are beginning to suspect there's a serial killer in their midst.

Harper manages to discover the six missing boys, along with two others who were unknown. She is profoundly disturbed by the manner of their death, and she wants nothing more than to leave Doraville behind. However, as per usual, local police and state investigators want Harper to stay so they can question her further. When she is attacked, it becomes clear that the killer has no intention of going down without a fight.

Harper is called to another site that may be a dumping ground, but all she finds there are the bodies of tortured animals, and one very disturbed young boy. The cases seem unrelated, but Harper can't shake the feeling that she, and everyone else, have missed something important.

The story was so gripping that I stayed up until 2am reading, and I was tempted to finish it. I refrained, however, and finished it today. This book was darker than any of the others, and there is a surprising shift in the relationship between Harper and Tolliver. Some things I figured out early, and some still caught me flat-footed. I like that in a book!

Favorite lines:
♦ I felt like a rabbit one jump ahead of the greyhounds.
♦ I wasn't in the habit of feeling so sure about that, since I spent a lot of time with surprised dead people.

That line amused me far more than it should have!

Excellent! Five stars!

*****
chez_jae: (Books)
Thursday evening, I finished reading an ebook, A Haunted Murder by J A Whiting. It's the first book in the "Lin Coffin" mystery series.

Carolin (Lin) Coffin returns to Nantucket after the death of her grandfather, hoping for a new start in life. She buys a gardening/landscaping business, and she also works from home via her computer. Between her two jobs, she believes she'll be able to make ends meet. Lin's cousin Viv still lives on the island, and the two of them are excited to reconnect. Even their pets, Lin's dog and Viv's cat, seem happy to see one another again. Not long after Lin's arrival, however, a local businessman is murdered. Viv is a suspect, because she'd had words with Hammond, who was determined to buy her old, family home. To clear Viv's name, Lin begins looking into the circumstances of Hammond's life and death herself.

Since she was a child, Lin has been able to see ghosts. She thought she had suppressed the ability, but now the spirit of an 18th century gentleman keeps appearing to her. Lin figures out it's a distant relative of hers. She only wishes he could tell her who murdered Hammond.

The story was good. It wasn't exactly fast-paced, but it made for a decent, light read. SPaG was okay; I noted only minor errors. I did get annoyed at the author's insistence on referring to Lin and Viv as "the girls". They're young women, not children! She could have used their names, or simply referred to them as "they" or "the two of them".

Favorite line: For a good part of her life, she'd been all too familiar with the feeling of being alone.

I'll give it a four for now:

****
chez_jae: (Books)
Earlier, I finished reading The Ghost and Mrs Mewer by Krista Davis. It's the second book in her "Paws & Claws" mystery series.

Holly has decided to return to Wagtail and help her Oma run the Sugar Maple Inn, and she couldn't be happier. The Inn is filled to capacity for the town's Howloween celebrations, and most of the guests are part of the television crew the Apparition Apprehenders. Everything is going well until Holly's dog Trixie discovers a woman floating facedown in shallow water. Although the death is initially ruled an accident, both Holly and police officer Dave feel that there was foul play involved.

It seems there is no shortage of suspects, either. The victim, Mallory, had managed to get on the wrong side of almost everyone on the television crew, as well as Wagtail resident (and Holly's friend) Clementine. The question is, who had motive, method, AND opportunity?

As if a potential murder isn't enough to deal with, Holly's ex-boyfriend Ben comes to Wagtail, thinking they can just pick up where they left off. And, the man whom Holly secretly adores, childhood friend Holmes, has a fiancee awaiting him back in Chicago.

I enjoyed the story, but I wasn't completely engrossed by it, which is why it took a week to read. I blame part of that on the NHL playoffs, however. Ha ha!

Favorite line: "We can't blame everything we don't understand on the paranormal. I get that, which is why I find it all so fascinating."

Very good, but perhaps not as enjoyable as the first book in the series. Four stars:

****
chez_jae: (Books)
After reading one Mercy Thompson novel, I was compelled to dive into another. Last night, I read Fire Touched cover-to-cover. Good thing I have Good Friday off! This is the ninth book in Patricia Briggs' series about skinwalker Mercedes Thompson and her husband, Adam Hauptman.

Local police call on the werewolves for assistance when a troll takes up residence on a bridge over the Columbia River. Mercy and Adam are among the first responders, and they manage to take the troll down. However, they also find themselves giving sanctuary to a boy who is seeking shelter from the fae. By taking him in, the Columbia River Basin pack has made enemies of the fae, causing the leader of all North American wolves to repudiate them. On their own now, it's up to Mercy, Adam, and the rest of their pack to negotiate where they can and fight where they must.

Very compelling read. Not as action-packed as others, but there was more of pack dynamics, which I always enjoy. New, interesting characters were introduced, and former, secondary characters were fleshed out more, which I also appreciate. Through it all, the bickering and bantering between Mercy and Adam added a lighter note and provided some comic relief.

Favorite line: "Take happiness where you can," he said. "It seldom lasts--'course, neither does sorrow, right?"

Excellent book! Five stars!

*****
chez_jae: (Books)
I began reading Night Broken Friday night, then spent most of Saturday reading the rest of it. The book is part of author Patricia Briggs' "Mercy Thompson" series. And yes, I'm woefully behind in the series.

When the ex-wife of Mercy's husband, Alpha werewolf Adam, calls seeking sanctuary from a dangerous stalker, Adam grants it. She's the mother of his teenage daughter, and he still feels responsible for her. Mercy has her misgivings, especially when Adam deems that the safest place for Christy to stay is in their home...which used to be Christy's home. Mercy isn't happy, but to show it would be to display petty jealousy, and she wants to prove she is above that.

In the meantime, a powerful fae has sought Mercy out, wanting to claim an equally powerful fae artifact that has attached itself to Mercy. The problem is, Mercy gifted the walking stick to her father, the Coyote of legend, and now she has no way to contact him to request it back. Inquiries lead her to another of Coyote's children, a man who's in prison for petty crime. Mercy is surprised to encounter another coyote shifter, and even more surprised when the man has a Vision that relates to Christy's stalker.

As Christy's stalker goes on a killing spree to reach her, he finds Mercy alone in her auto repair shop. It soon becomes apparent that he's not human, nor fae, nor werewolf, but something else entirely...something dark and dangerous and deranged. Mercy fights for her life, knowing her only hope is that help will arrive in time.

What a fantastic story! I love all of the books in this series, and this one continued in the same hard-hitting, fast vein as the others. Learning more about Mercy's "family" was fascinating, it was a sheer delight to connect with other, beloved characters, and I enjoyed meeting new ones. Even the villain/stalker was portrayed well, to the point that the reader could almost feel sympathy for him. Almost. This story was so engrossing that I picked the book up this morning and skim-read it again.

:D

Favorite lines:
♦ "Withholding cookies is world-class mean."
♦ "And as long as everyone is above the age of consent and has enough sense to be able to give informed consent, I could care less what anyone does in their own space."

Huzzah! Well-said!
♦ "Don't juggle porcupines."
♦ I was not going to say anything about the stupid lamb if only because I was certain he wanted me to say something about the stupid lamb.
♦ "Man with cat is one of my fantasies."


Excellent story, characterizations, dialogue, and I loved how the various subplots all wove together. Five stars!

*****
chez_jae: (Books)
Last night, I finished reading Haunted is Always in Fashion by Rose Pressey. It's part of her "Haunted Vintage" mystery series.

Vintage clothing shop owner Cookie Chanel is on her way to meet a woman who wants to interview her for a book she is writing on vintage fashions. Cookie is thwarted on the way by an accident, and she learns that Julianna, the woman she was to meet, was shot and killed in her car. When Julianna's ghost appears to Cookie, her "resident" ghost, Charlotte, insists that Cookie help solve the mystery of who murdered Julianna.

There is no shortage of suspects, from the odd man who comes into Cookie's shop in search of a vintage hat, to Julianna's eccentric aunt, to her sketchy boyfriend. In addition to speaking to various people who knew Julianna, Cookie also pumps her boyfriend, police officer Dylan, for information. She also gets clues from her cat, Wind Song, who uses a Ouija board to communicate. When Cookie starts getting too close to the truth, her shop is burglarized, and her own life is endangered.

For the second time, I was disappointed by a book in this series. Pressey is a prolific writer, so I don't know if her train of thought jumps the tracks, or if someone else is doing a poor job of editing, or a combination of both. Once again, it seemed as if the author forgot what she wrote earlier in the story. For instance, Julianna is amazed by Wind Song's ability to communicate...twice. As I was reading the second such surprise, I was thinking, 'Wait a minute; didn't Julianna already see the cat doing this?' I flipped back a few chapters, and yes, there was Julianna, being astounded by the cat's prowess with a Ouija board. Also, Cookie had a lunch "date" scheduled with attorney Ken, but we, the readers, never heard anything more about it. Derp. Did you forget to write about it, Ms Pressey, or did it get edited out? Baffling and frustrating. To top it off, I found Charlotte's interference annoying again. She continues to harass Cookie into going here, following that person, talking to this person, etc. She doesn't appear to realize or care that Cookie has a life to live and a business to run, never mind the danger Cookie finds herself in. And, I found it completely confounding that Cookie neither thought to tell the ghosts to follow someone or check up on them, nor that either of them thought of it themselves. It's not as if the ghosts are bound to Cookie; they can go wherever they want, yet they never do anything useful. At all.

Favorite line:"Y'all are busier than a one-armed wallpaper hanger."

Not happy with this one...two stars:

**
chez_jae: (Books)
Sunday was a lazy, relaxing day, and I read A Fright to the Death from cover to cover. It's part of author Dawn Eastman's "Family Fortune" mystery series, featuring cop-on-sabbatical and reluctant psychic Clyde Fortune.

Clyde and her boyfriend Mac are on their way to the airport to catch a flight to Mexico. It's a great chance for some fun, sun, and time to relax away from their families. Unfortunately, a blizzard cancels their flight and strands them at the same small hotel where most of their families are gathered for a knitting conference. Now they're stranded in the last place they'd rather be. As if that isn't bad enough, one of the owners of the hotel is killed. The local police have no way of reaching the scene of the crime, which means it's up to Mac and Clyde to take charge and try to solve a murder.

The story was good (obviously, since I read it in one day!), but it was probably my least favorite of this series. I don't think I care much for "closed scene" mysteries, wherein the characters are forced into close proximity and no one can leave. Clyde's Aunt Violet came across as a completely annoying, interfering busy body. I'm sure it was meant to be funny, but I found it irritating. Other than that, things moved along at a good pace, and the characters were well-rounded. It was difficult to figure out who killed Clarissa, because so many people seemed to have a good motive.

Favorite lines:
♦ "Lots of terrible bosses live through their employee's anger."
♦ "Oh, like those sweaters Mrs Weasley made in the Harry Potter books?"
♦ "Everyone likes to blame the cat, but they aren't always as mischievous as they seem."


Very good, overall. Four stars:

****
chez_jae: (Books)
It took me several weeks, but today I finished reading the book I'd taken to work. It was My Loving Familiar by C J Card. The book was part of Jove's Magical Love line.

Isabel Gomez has sold her family's old trading post building to Cooper Adair, because she needs the money. Had she known ahead of time that Cooper planned to open a pharmacy, she never would have agreed to sell to him. Isabel has her own business of creating herbal remedies and beauty aids, and a pharmacy next door could ruin her. Deciding that the only way to get rid of the competition is to break up Cooper's engagement to wealthy, spoiled socialite Marcella Kent, Isabel puts her scheme into motion. She is aided in her endeavors by her old fairy cat, Grimalkin. What Isabel doesn't realize, however, is that Grim has his own agenda.

This was a sweet, fun story. I enjoyed the paranormal aspect of old Grim, who was more magical than his owner realized. It was fun to see how flustered Cooper became any time he encountered the brash and beautiful Isabel. Characters were three-dimensional, even the snooty Marcella, and I adored Isabel's friend, Dora. My only complaints are the vacillating points of view. Had it simply switched between Isabel and Cooper, that wouldn't have bothered me, but there were times the reader was getting Marcella's pov, too. I also thought the ending was rather rushed.

Favorite line: "Being cruel is a lot more difficult than being kind."

Very good, even though I seldom read the paranormal romance genre any more. Four stars:

****
chez_jae: (Books)
Last night, I read the rest of File M for Murder by Miranda James. It's part of the "Cat in the Stacks" mystery series.

Assistant librarian Charlie is pleasantly surprised when his daughter Laura returns home. She's going to be teaching a semester at the local college,and Charlie is looking forward to spending time with her. The theater department has another returnee for the term--famous playwright Connor Lawton. Charlie soon learns that Lawton is an obnoxious ass, and even worse, Laura used to date him.

When Lawton is murdered and it's Laura who discovers the body, she at first is under suspicion for the crime, and later, her life is endangered after she removed a flash drive from Lawton's apartment. All of this leaves Charlie, as well as his cat Diesel, feeling extra protective of Laura. The flash drive reveals some interesting clues, and it's up to a reference librarian to figure them out.

The story involved more action than previous ones in the series, what with another murder taking place, and repeated attempts to harm Laura. I was a bit disappointed in the "prodigal child comes home" trope, but only because the author used it in one of the first books in the series, when Charlie's son Sean came home. Fortunately, I believe he only has the two children, so we shouldn't see any more of that in subsequent books.

Favorite line: "As long as it's over who needs a tense confrontation with a murderer?...They always seem a bit contrived in some of the books I read."
I agree! Bonus points to the author for a non-dramatic wrapping up of the case.

The book was likable enough, although not extraordinary. Four stars:

****
chez_jae: (Books)
I finished reading Look Both Ways before bedtime last night. It's the third book in author Carol J Perry's "Witch City" mystery series.

Lee Barrett finds herself at loose ends. She no longer has a TV show, nor does she have any classes to teach over the summer. To keep busy, she volunteers to act as property manager for the three plays being put on by the local college. In addition, Lee has a new apartment to furnish. While scrounging for props, she can do a bit of both. When Lee purchases a beautiful old bureau, she learns it belonged to a woman who was murdered several years ago. The bureau has hidden compartments, which yield some fascinating ephemera from its previous owner. However, the woman's missing pink diamond is not one of the objects secreted away in the bureau. Someone seems to think it's there, though, as shortly after Lee buys the piece, the woman who sold it to her is murdered, and Lee's name and address have been stolen from the company that delivered the bureau. When Lee begins to see visions of both murdered women, she must decide whether or not to share her gift with her boyfriend, police officer Pete.

Very good story. I enjoyed how the past and the present paralleled one another. It was fun to read about Lee's adventures in antiquing, and I was happy to see her relationship with Pete progressing.

Favorite line: And why am I holding a conversation with a cat?

Charming! Five stars!

*****
chez_jae: (Books)
Earlier this evening, I finished reading an ebook, A Gift of Ghosts, which is the first in author Sarah Wynde's "Tassamara" series.

Physicist Akira Malone is hiding a secret--she can see and speak to ghosts. As a scientist, however, she makes her living with things that can be measured and researched and proven. Akira has convinced herself that ghosts are merely residual energy. She avoids them when she can, but that all changes when she accepts a job in the small town of Tassamara. Here, paranormal is the norm. The town is filled with psychics, and a medium in their midst isn't unusual. Akira is utterly astounded by the laid-back atmosphere she finds herself in. Akira rents a haunted home, and the car she leases is haunted by the nephew of her new boss, Zane Latimer.

For his part, Zane isn't sure he believes in mediums, even though he has abilities of his own. However, when Akira consistently proves herself, in spite of her own instinct to keep her talent hidden, he can't help but begin to believe in her, and to find himself attracted to her feisty spirit. The two of them begin a relationship, but neither is willing to commit, until Akira's life is threatened by a dangerous ghost...who just happens to be the spirit of Zane's mother.

This was a fantastic story, much better than a lot of other ebooks I've read. The characters were likable and relatable, including the many ghosts. Point of view switched between Akira and Zane, but it added to the story, rather than detracting from it. Akira is courageous in using her gift, even when she doesn't want to, because prior experience has shown her how dangerous in can be for her.

Favorite line: They'd fallen into conversation as easily as if they were old friends, talking about astronomy and science and Harry Potter.

Finding out that the author got her start writing fanfiction was icing on the cake. Wonderful, five stars!

*****
chez_jae: (Books)
Came home, finished reading The Witch's Grave, went out to feed the livestock cats, and now I'm doing my "book report"! It is part of author Shirley Damsgaard's "Ophelia and Abby" mystery series.

The story was rather bland, compared to others in the series. At a fundraising event, Ophelia meets a man she feels an instant connection to, only to see him get shot right in front of her. Although she only just met Steven, Ophelia feels compelled to investigate the incident, since local police aren't sure it wasn't simply a hunting accident. When someone takes a shot at Ophelia later, the police take notice.

In the meantime, Ophelia keeps having dreams hearkening to the era of WWII, about a young French woman named Madeleine. Abby believes Ophelia is dreaming of a past life, which may explain why she felt drawn to Steven.

Cue a bunch of following up on leads, more scares, more dreams, a few rituals to tap into her abilities, and voila! Personally, the dreams threw me out of the current story, and I hope it's not something the author explores further in future books.

Favorite line: I found it hard to imagine living in a place with no stars.

Not very impressed with this one--three stars:

***

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