chez_jae: (Books)
Last night, I finished reading Inspector Specter by EJ Copperman. It's part of the author's "Haunted Guesthouse" mystery series.

Innkeeper Alison's nemesis, Detective Anita McElone, comes to ask Alison for help. Although it pains her, because she doesn't believe in ghosts, McElone wants Alison to see if she can communicate with the ghost of her former police partner, who has died under mysterious circumstances.

Alison goes to Ferry's apartment, but he doesn't remember much about his death. However, he is able to provide information on cases he was working before he died, and Alison uses that as a starting point for her investigation. It would be simpler if she could talk to McElone, but the good detective seems to have disappeared, at least, according to her husband, she has. Now Alison must solve Detective Ferry's murder, find Detective McElone, and run her guesthouse, all while babysitting for her best friends' baby while they go away for a romantic cruise.

The story was fun, but not utterly engrossing. The plot seemed a bit convoluted, as Alison was dashing to and fro, trying to put the pieces together. Not helping is that one of her resident ghosts, Maxie, was acting even more odd than she normally does.

Favorite lines:
♦ There was a time when this sort of negotiation could have been done quickly and efficiently in a fraction of the time with actual conversation between the two parties, but technology had now advanced us to a point where a simple exchange could take half an hour.
♦ Babies are terrific audiences; they think the same joke is hilarious four thousand times in a row.
♦ If he'd been holding a stick and yelling something in fake Latin, he could have been one of Melissa's friends playing Harry Potter.


Not my favorite in this series. Only giving it a three:

***
chez_jae: (Books)
Sunday night, I finished reading The Black Cat Sees His Shadow by Kay Finch. It's the third book in the "Bad Luck Cat" mystery series.

During the local Pumpkin Festival in Lavender, TX, Sabrina comes face-to-face with a woman who looks like they could be twins. Tia is an artist, in town for the festival. She has her young son Damon with her, along with their black cat, Merlin. Merlin looks just like Sabrina's cat, Hitchcock. The similarity in their appearance leads to some misunderstandings, especially when Sabrina is accosted by a man she doesn't know. It turns out that Tia and Calvin Fisher have butted heads before. When Fisher turns up dead, Tia becomes the prime suspect in his murder, and Sabrina is determined to prove her new friend is innocent.

In addition to trying to solve a murder, Sabrina is trying to work on her next novel, keep an eye on her feisty Aunt Rowe, dodge the sketchy attentions of a man who seems to be stalking her, and enter something in the baking contest. Now, to compound her problems, Sabrina's mother has shown up and would like nothing more than for Sabrina to return to Houston, where she belongs.

Well, there was certainly a lot going on! Fisher had no shortage of people who might have wanted him dead, which keeps Sabrina guessing. She also finds herself the target of Detective Patricia Rosales' wrath once more, simply because Sabrina is dating Game Warden Luke, whom Rosales has the hots for. There's also the mysterious appearance of Fisher's wife, who is convinced that her late husband gave something to Sabrina for safekeeping before he died.

Not my favorite in this series. Too many sinister characters, to the point that it was getting tedious. There was no resolution as to how or why Tia and Sabrina looked so much alike, and the motive for murder was weak and bizarre.

Favorite line:I hoped this trek didn't turn out to be some mysterious mission that only a cat would understand.

Good story, in spite of the drawbacks. Four stars:

****
chez_jae: (Books)
On Wednesday night, I completed A Toxic Trousseau by Juliet Blackwell. The book is part of her "Witchcraft Mystery" series.

When Lily's familiar, Oscar, bumps into a woman in Aunt Cora's Closet, Lily is hit with a lawsuit. Hoping for a peaceful resolution, she goes to visit the woman in her vintage clothing shop, only to find Autumn Jennings deathly ill. Lily summons help, but Autumn later dies. When cause of death is determined to be poisoning, Lily finds herself among a short list of suspects. Eager to clear her name, she takes it upon herself to start asking questions of Autumn's neighbors and associates. The situation becomes murkier as Lily learns Autumn had no family, precious few friends, and that she'd recently acquired a supposedly cursed trousseau. Along the way, Lily encounters a strange dog walker, a sinister cupcake baker, and a dour homicide detective. At least she has her own friends to help, as well as her boyfriend, Sailor.

Good story, good pacing, and wonderful characterizations. Lots of little subplots were woven together, making the entire book more interesting as a whole. The only drawback in my opinion, was Oscar. He comes across as more of a petulant brat than a stable familiar for Lily.

Favorite lines:
♦ It really dilled my pickle...
♦ "Okay, any actual advice for my meeting the mayor, beyond wardrobe?" // "Don't mention eels." // "Eels." // "Or seesaws." // "Why on earth would I mention eels or seesaws?" // "Exactly."
♦ "I mean, I know I was the one who first suggested it, but I guess I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around the idea that the big showdown we're all so afraid of is with the cupcake lady."


Enjoyable, as with the others in this series. Five stars:

*****
chez_jae: (Books)
Since I didn't have to work today, I stayed up late to finish reading Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews. It's part of the authors' "Kate Daniels" urban fantasy series.

When Kate and her fiance, former Beast Lord Curran, learn that their friend Eduardo is missing, they launch an investigation into his disappearance. Visiting the scene of Eduardo's latest assignment finds them battling a magical creature, which morphs into something else after they kill it. Now they must find out who has been sending creatures to attack a seemingly innocuous neighborhood in the suburbs.

In addition, Kate and Curran, who are trying to formally separate from the Pack, keep getting drawn into Pack drama and politics, and at the same time, they learn the Guild, which employs mercenaries to keep Atlanta safe, is falling to hell. To top it off, Kate's father, an amoral demigod who may or may not want to kill her, has invited her to dinner.

Fabulous story! Plenty of exciting battle scenes, great characterizations, sub-plots that weave together, trauma and angst, and just enough levity to keep it from being completely dark.

Favorite lines:
♦ Not my circus, not my undead monkeys.
♦ "Kate, get in the car." // "Maybe you should growl dramatically. I don't think I'm intimidated enough." // "I will put you in the car." // "No, you won't."
I love how they bicker!
♦ "Does everybody think I'm an asshole?" Curran asked. // "Only people who know you or have met you."
♦ "So you sneaked up behind him, startled him by speaking, and when he turned around and saw a six-hundred-pound talking lion, you showed him your teeth?" // "I don't think that's what happened," Curran said. // "That's exactly what happened, Your Furriness."
♦ Curran and horses didn't get along. He thought they were unpredictable and untrustworthy, and they thought he was a werelion.


Another awesome installment to this series--five stars!

*****
chez_jae: (Books)
This afternoon, I finished reading Telling Tails by Sofie Ryan. It's part of her "Second Chance Cat" mystery series.

Sarah's friend and employee, Rose, takes it upon herself to deliver a purchase to a customer. She ends up in the hospital, after being struck on the head and falling unconscious. When Sarah rushes to the hospital to visit her, Rose claims she saw their customer's dead body being dragged through his home before she was knocked out. It's an incredible tale, and Rose gets her dander up when she feels no one believes her. She enlists the aid of her fellow senior citizens to investigate. Sarah is dragged into the investigation once again, as is her rescue cat, Elvis. The man's wife claims he cleaned out their bank account and left her for another woman. Now the question is, did someone murder him, or did he fake his own death?

Characterizations were well done, even Elvis, and the plot was convoluted and interesting. I would have enjoyed the story more, however, if Rose hadn't acted like a petulant child. I guess the best way to indicate you're angry at your friends for wondering if you're a doddering old woman is to act like a spoiled brat by throwing them out of your hospital room and refusing to speak to them. I like feisty old ladies in stories, but not when they behave like precocious, sullen toddlers. I'm also not liking that the author seems to be waffling now on a love interest for Sarah.

Favorite line: "Sometimes people make a commitment and they mean it when they make it, but after awhile they find out they just don't have what it takes to keep it."

Still a little perturbed with Rose in this one, but I'll give it a four:

****
chez_jae: (Default)
Stayed up too late last night to finish reading The Good, the Bad, and the Witchy, which is part of Heather Blake's "Wishcraft Mystery" series.

Wishcrafter Darcy Merriweather is asked to help plan a grandiose birthday party for Floracrafter Harriette Harkette. Harriette is celebrating her 80th birthday, along with her prize-winning black roses. When the cake delivery is late, Darcy goes outside to check for the bakery's van. She stumbles across the body of Michael Healey, who was meant to be delivering the cake. Michael used to work for Harriette, and when his ghost imprints on Darcy, she is compelled to help solve his murder. Soon after Michael's death, some of Harriette's contemporaries are also attacked, and everything seems to indicate that Harriette is behind it. Darcy, however, feels that Harriette is being set up, and she sets out to prove it.

Fun story, lots going on, what with the murder, the attacks, a festival in town, the disappearance of Aunt Ve's cat, Harriette's unknown fiance, and the fact that one of Darcy's friends seems to have attracted a secret admirer. I am liking the slow pacing of Darcy's romance with police officer Nick, but I am finding Aunt Ve's stunts to be a tad tiring. Another thing I don't really like is that Wishcrafters can't be photographed; they appear washed out in any photo. I guess it bothers me, because it's only Wishcrafters, and not any of the other magical crafters, who can't be photographed. It makes no sense.

Favorite line: Her hopes had risen higher than a kite in a windstorm.

Other than the minor aggravations, this was an enjoyable story. Four stars:

****
chez_jae: (Books)
Tonight, I finished reading First Grave on the Right, which is the first in author Darynda Jones' series about Charley Davidson: PI, smart ass, and grim reaper.

Charley was born a reaper, which means she can see, speak to, and even touch dead people, and it's her job to move them on. Some, however, have unfinished business, and that's where Charley's PI license comes in handy. When three attorneys from the same law firm are murdered on the same night, it's up to Charley to find out who had them killed and why.

In the meantime, Charley has been having wicked hot dreams of a mysterious, nocturnal lover...one who reminds her eerily of a boy she met when she was a teenager. As Charley works the attorneys' case, she's also trying to figure out what became of Reyes. What she uncovers, in both cases, is bigger than anyone could have imagined.

Loved this book! Charley is smart and funny and brave to the point of foolish. In spite of her status as a grim reaper, she doesn't seem to have any special powers, at least none that she knows of. A select few people know about her abilities, although no one knows the whole truth. My only complaint about the story is that, once again, I was treated to the tired trope of a woman who is literally unable to function when confronted by a hot and dreamy hunka hunka burnin' love. Seriously?! If I wanted to read that shit, I would have read 50 Shades of Abusive Relationship. Aside from her inability to function around Reyes, there's also the fact that, when they met as teens, he threatened to rape her. Be still my heart! *shakes head* In spite of this major annoyance, the rest of the narrative made up for it.

Favorite lines:
♦ Death via extreme pleasure was a serious concern. The prospect led to the following dilemma: Do I seek help or buy drinks all around?
♦ He had a wrinkled suit, round-rimmed glasses, and mussed hair that made him look part young-wizard-we-all-know-and-love and part mad scientist.
♦ I went down like a drunken cowgirl trying to line dance to Metallica.
♦ ...I stormed into my apartment...then rummaged through my entertainment center to lay out all my exorcism equipment. I kept it in my entertainment center because exorcisms were nothing if not entertaining.
♦ It was hard being such an utter disappointment to the woman who'd raised me, but gosh darn it, I gave it my all.
♦ "Because at this point, my sanity is all that I have. Well, that and a breakfast burrito."


Super funny; I could have quoted the entire thing! I can't wait to read more in the series. Five stars!

*****
chez_jae: (Books)
Stayed up late last night to finish reading Cat Trick by Sofie Kelly. It's the fourth book in her "Magical Cats" mystery series.

The residents and businesses of Mayville Heights are hoping to convince Legacy Tours to add their town to its listing of vacation packages. It should be a lock, considering local-boy-turned-big-city-big-shot, Mike Glazer, is back in Mayville, representing Legacy. However, he's no longer the affable young man he used to be. Instead, Glazer is abrasive, and it seems everyone in town has a run-in with him. It's shocking, but not surprising, when Glazer turns up dead.

This time around, Kathleen promises herself, and her beau, Detective Marcus Gordon, that she will not interfere in the murder investigation. However, Kathleen finds herself drawn into the middle of it when both of her cats begin nosing around, and some local residents ask her to "look into it". Working at the library puts Kathleen in a position where she can subtly ask people about their dealings with Glazer and what he was like before he left town years before. All she finds out is that he used to be well-liked, but that almost everyone had a bone to pick with him over his recent dealings. Kathleen can't help but think there's something she's missing, and it may not be tied to the town of Mayville Heights at all. In the meantime, her meddling strains her relationship with Marcus, leaving Kathleen to wonder if she should renew her contract with the library when it's up, or if she should just return home to Boston.

The book was engrossing, and the pace moved along. I always enjoy reading about Kathleen's day to day life, in conjunction with her sleuthing. Her cats are utterly adorable, and it was nice to reconnect with familiar characters. My only complaint is that I don't feel I (as the reader) was given a fair chance to figure out who the murderer was.

Favorite line: "Could we just keep the doors locked and maybe stay here and eat muffins all morning?"
That gets my vote!

Very good story, with likable characters. Five stars:

*****
chez_jae: (Books)
Just finished reading Nightshade for Warning by Bailey Cattrell. It's the second book in her "Enchanted Garden" mystery series.

Elliana "Ellie" Allbright is delighted when her half-brother Colby shows up in Poppyville unexpectedly. Also unexpected is Larken, the girlfriend he has in tow. Ellie quickly warms to Larken, and when the Larken is accused of murder, Ellie takes it upon herself to prove the other woman is innocent. She has no shortage of suspects, as journalist Blake Sontag made enemies far easier than he made friends.

A tract of land that Sontag owned with his sister seems to be at the crux of his murder. Ellie thinks that if she can find out who wanted to buy it, then she would know who was furious when Sontag took the property off of the market. When her line of inquiry strikes too close to a killer's home, Ellie becomes the next target.

Woven throughout Ellie's investigation is her long-distance relationship with Ritter, and new, developing feelings for Spence, a photographer who accompanied Sontag to town to do a feature on Ellie's tiny house. This author seems to like giving her female leads two handsome hunks to choose from (Cattrell also writes the "Magical Bakery" mystery series as Bailey Cates). I enjoyed the book. Ellie is an engaging character, as are other returning characters. I find myself cheering for Spence in the romance department. Ha ha! The story contains a paranormal thread, as Ellie is able to use her intuition or empathy to discern what will most benefit the customers at her aromatherapy shop.

Favorite line: "I'm bruised but not beaten!"

Very good, would certainly recommend. Five 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 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)
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:

****

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