Sunday, June 19, 2011

Book mini-Reviews: library books

OK, so these last few are library books, and are due in a day or so.  I'll just be giving a thumbs up or thumbs down, mostly, though I may have a comment or two on some of the books.  Obviously, I got all these books at my local library, and received nothing for these reviews, such as they are.

Beguiled by Deeanne Gist and J Mark Bertrand.  A first-time collaborative effort between two authors who met through a critique group.  (now that I'm writing about it, I may have already reviewed this one.  Oh, well).  I loved the character of Rylee Monroe and the character of Charleston.  Some of the old Southern cities have amazing personalities.  Thumbs Up.

The Beast Within by Erin McCarthy, Bianca D'arc and Jennifer Lyon.  This is an anthology of "other" stories.  Werewolves and zombies and magic, oh, my.  In The Howling by McCarthy, a young woman loses her boyfriend, and takes up with his brother.  She dreams frequently of an old wedding party being attacked by wolves.  One surprise is not really a surprise, and the other is only a small one, because the story telegraphs the twists.  It definitely had its good moments, though.  Thumbs Up.  In Smoke on the Water by D'Arc, a couple of federal agents fight zombies on a lake.  Zombies are not my thing.  At all.  Not movies or books or whatever.  Nonetheless, I enjoyed the premise of this short, just not the zombies.  The author has created an interesting near-future for Earth, and if it weren't about zombies, I probably would have enjoyed it a great deal more.  Thumbs Up.  Redeeming the Wizard by Lyon was probably the one I enjoyed most.  A wizard whose job it is to protect a city has issues, and fighting those issues means that his city is not getting all the protection it deserves.  In this universe, people who have no magic at all serve the others who do.  One such sister/niece/etc. drives out to pick up Gram for a party, only to find her missing.  She goes to the wizard for assistance, and they rub each other the wrong way on sight.  Mira insists on having the wizard's help, and together they solve the mystery of Gram's disappearance, as well as the issue Mr Wizard is going to great lengths to hide from his town.  Thumbs Up.

I'll Be Slaying You and Eternal Hunter by Cynthia Eden.  Both books are set in the Other Universe, where Others are people who are not quite what they appear.  Both stories have well-matched male and female leads, and the sex is hot.  The Other Universe is interesting, and one I'll likely look for more of when I hit the library again.  Thumbs Up for both.

Without Mercy by Lisa Jackson.  Jules' little step-sister Shaylee has been sent to an elite boarding school for troubled teens.  On the surface, the school has an amazing record for helping kids and many of those kids come back to the school to help others.  On the other hand, a girl disappeared there not too long ago, and no one seems to think the school holds any responsibility in the matter.  Jules has issues and sees conspiracy theories where there are none, but in the case of the school, something is definitely just a little bit off.  Jules uses the fact that she and Shaylee don't share a last name to apply for a job with the school.  Once she's there, her first surprise is that an old boyfriend is also there, and he seems to be everywhere she is.  The amateur investigation is a source of irritation, and bad guys go to a lot of trouble to shut Jules up.  She's plucky, and keeps on truckin', and takes a little time out to have a little shag with Cooper.  That's when things really heat up.  The final surprise in the story is one I didn't imagine at all.  Then, the epilogue opens the door to a possible sequel or related story, with a sinister twist.  Thumbs Up.

Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas.  Ella Varner's little sister abandons her baby with her and leaves it to Ella to find the baby's daddy.  (I have to say that this is one of the most realistic screwed-up families I've ever had the pleasure to read about.  Kleypas manages to make Ella's family profoundly damaged without going over the edge into caricature.)  Ella's boyfriend refuses to have anything to do with the baby, even for a minute, and so she has to leave her little corner of the universe to go find "daddy."  She narrows down the playing field and visits choice number one.  Jack Travis, of the Houston Travis family, takes her accusations in stride and, for his own personal reasons, takes Ella and baby Luke under his wing.  Ella fights her attraction to Jack, and fights falling in love with her nephew.  Jack Travis turns out to be a very handy ally in the search for Luke's father.  This book hit a lot of personal buttons for me, and I cried tears of sorrow for Ella, then tears of joy.  I hope this book is as good for you.  Thumbs Way Up.

Night of the Vampires by Heather Graham.  This story about vampire fighters set during the Civil War just hit me wrong almost from the moment I started reading.  I liked parts of it, but mostly it just seemed a ridiculous premise.  Thumbs Down.

The Killing Edge by Heather Graham.  Chloe Marin is not just a survivor, she's a survivor with a gift.  Ten years after escaping killers, she's using her past to help other people with their own personal traumas.  Girls have started going missing, and Chloe believes it's related somehow to the killing from which she escaped.  This story is a fairly fast-paced murder mystery, with some romance thrown in.  Thumbs Up.