Tag Archives: paranormal

The Reinvented Miss Bluebeard by Minda Webber

On a recent trip to Preschool Story Time at my local library, my daughter pulled this book off the rack near the “check out” counter as she waited for me to check out my books. I have a fascination with all things paranormal and all things fairy tale (which I love to critique). So, it caught my attention and I added it to check out pile.

The Reinvented Miss Bluebeard (2007) by Minda Webber is described on the back cover with:

Kooks, Spooks & the Infamous Dr. Bluebeard: When your father is not only an infamous pirate but the husband of six vanished wives, respectability’s hard to come by. That’s why Eve invented herself a husband. How else was a nineteenth-century girl to follow her dreams and become one of those newfangled psychiatrists? Certainly she’d never be running The Towers, London’s preeminent asylum for potty paranormals. She wouldn’t be seeing famous patients such as Frederick Frankenstein (he has a screw loose) and treating Jane Van Helsing’s blood phobia. But now, wackier than the werewolves and loonier than the leprechaun she is already treating, something new is taking shape—and he has the name of her never-before-seen husband and a body to drive a girl absolutely batty . . .

The wild mishmash of history, fairytale, and literary characters and plots was tangled enough that several readings would probably be needed to bring them all to light. Webber’s clever literary and psychological references kept me interested and amused. This was great. It was the funniest thing I have read in a very long time. Clearly, Webber is well-read and well-learned. Evidently, Webber writes these kind of books often, and I will be adding her to my “author’s to watch” list.

Happy Reading!

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Filed under Paranormal Romance, Reading for Fun

In Too Deep by Jayne Ann Krentz

In Too Deep is Jayne Castle / Amanda Quick / Jayne Ann Krentz’s lastest in her Arcane Society series. Because I have read every book in the series eagerly, I bought this one on its release date for my eReader. This particular book is the first in the Looking Glass Trilogy, and it is simultaneously described / categorized as a paranormal mystery, a detective novel, and a romance.

The product description is as follows: Scargill Cove is the perfect place for Fallon Jones, confirmed recluse and investigator of the paranormal. It’s a hot spot, a convergence point for unusually strong currents of energy, which might explain why the town attracts misfits and drifters like moths to a flame. Now someone else has been drawn to the Cove — Isabella Valdez, on the run from some very dangerous men…. 

Fallon Jones has been a peripheral character in all of the contemporary Arcane novels, so I was very excited to read his story. I was also very pleased. This book makes a perfect love match for a remarkable character, and the mystery keeps me guessing. I cannot wait until March when the next book of the series comes out!

Arcane Novels:

  • Second Sight
  • White Lies
  • Sizzle and Burn
  • The Third Circle
  • Running Hot
  • The Perfect Poison
  • Fired Up: Book One of the Dreamlight Trilogy
  • Burning Lamp: Book Two of the Dreamlight Trilogy
  • Midnight Crystal: Book Three of the Dreamlight Trilogy
  • In Too Deep: Book One of the Looking Glass Trilogy

Happy Reading!

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Filed under Mystery (NOT Cozy), Reading for Fun

Black Magic Sanction by Kim Harrison

Black Magic Sanction is the most recent book in The Hollows series by Kim Harrison. I purchased it from the Sony eBook store. While I have read several reviews of The Hollows’ books that say book 6 was intended to end the series, I have also read on the author’s website that her contract has been extended to do 12-13 books. So, this is book 8, the most recently published (February 23, 2010).

Product Description: Rachel Morgan has fought and hunted vampires, werewolves, banshees, demons, and other supernatural dangers as both witch and bounty hunter–and lived to tell the tale. But she’s never faced off against her own kind . . . until now. Denounced and shunned for dealing with demons and black magic, her best hope is life imprisonment–at worst, a forced lobotomy and genetic slavery. Only her enemies are strong enough to help her win her freedom, but trust comes hard when it hinges on the unscrupulous tycoon Trent Kalamack, the demon Algaliarept, and an ex-boyfriend turned thief.

It takes a witch to catch a witch, but survival bears a heavy price.

The episode in Rachel’s story picks up where the previous left off, which does suggest to readers that it would be hard to begin reading this series with anything but book 1. Rachel has been shunned. Why? She is a “missing link” of sorts between demons and witches. Her children will be demons who can walk on this side of the ever-after. Because of this, Rachel must agree to castration or she will be imprisoned. This book details her journey to fix that because she agrees to neither, and our love of Rachel and belief in her is reinforced when we see “good” witches do “bad” things, things much worse than Rachel and not earn smut. We learn that Rachel’s choices have been limited, and we wonder if the universe is really treating her fairly by exacting such a cost from her for her decisions.

The cast of men in Rachel’s life is resolved a bit in this book, leaving us hating Nick even more and glad that he is not part of Rachel’s life. The issues between Ivy and Rachel appear to have been resolved and are not revisited (thank the goddess; it was getting old). Trent is still a very complicated jerk. Lee is much more interesting than we thought. And, Jenks suffers a tragedy that brings tears to the eye.

This book was not as good as book 6, but it was definitely better than book 7. I look forward to book 9 sometime next year.

Happy Reading!

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White Witch, Black Curse by Kim Harrison

Because I liked the last book in the Hollows series by Kim Harrison (see yesterday’s post /review), I purchased the final two (to this point) from the Sony eReader Bookstore. Book 7 is White Witch, Black Curse, and while it wasn’t as fabulous as Book 6, it was certainly better than Book 5 (reviewed June 30).

Product Description: Some wounds take time to heal . . . and some scars never fade.

Rachel Morgan, kick-ass witch and bounty hunter, has taken her fair share of hits, and has broken lines she swore she would never cross. But when her lover was murdered, it left a deeper wound than Rachel ever imagined, and now she won’t rest until his death is solved . . . and avenged. Whatever the cost.

Yet the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and when a new predator moves to the apex of the Inderlander food chain, Rachel’s past comes back to haunt her.

Literally.

I liked that this book began with psychologist Ford, introduced in the previous book, as an empath. His character is interesting enough to carry a huge plot burden in this installment of Rachel’s interlander saga that takes on an emotion-sucking banshee. This plot develops and aligns with previous novels well as we learn how the Banshee has a connection to Rachel’s partner Ivy, and we meet Rachel’s leprechaun.

This book, though, introduces a character that was supposed to be really important to Rachel, despite the fact that we are seven books into the series before we learn about him. In addition, we are just now introduced to a magical governing body (it has been mentioned but not in a way in which we could expect it the kind of power it wields in this book). This governing body “punishes” Rachel for who she is and what she does, with no real scaffolding. I wasn’t expecting it or the consequences. I did like the length of the book but I was really surprised by the number of subplots and new introductions. And, I have to say, I was very disappointed in who the killer was. The potential for that person’s identity was lost completely. The dialog was interesting, and the resolution of Ford’s problem and that of the banshee’s was intriguing.

Happy Reading!

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Kim Harrison’s The Outlaw Demon Wails

As I said yesterday, The Outlaw Demon Wails is absolutely my favorite of the Hollows series by Kim Harrison. I purchased it at the same time as the previous book (For a Few Demons More) from the Sony eReader Bookstore. And, I almost didn’t read it. I’m very glad I did.

Product Description:  To save the lives of her friends, Rachel did the unthinkable: she willingly trafficked in forbidden demon magic. And now her sins are coming home to haunt her. 

As Rachel searches for the truth behind a terrifying murder, an even greater menace threatens, for the demon Algaliarept will stop at nothing to claim her, and the discovery of a shocking family secret throws Rachel’s entire life into question. If she is ever to live free, Rachel must first walk willingly into the demonic ever-after in search of long-lost ancient knowledge. 

But when you dance with demons, you lay your soul on the line . . . and there are some lines that should never be crossed.

Book 6 has a lot less whining and much more cowboy-ing up (to keep with the Clint Eastwood western movie theme of the titles) from Rachel, and that really appealed to me in a way the previous books had not. Rachel acts and has agency and makes decisions instead of being a victim of circumstances or a passive recipient of the universe’s aggression. She is feeling kicked and down and she is grieving, but she stands up and says this is who I am and this is what matters to me. I can expect no more from a hero.

I have really struggled with what to say in this post because I don’t want to “ruin” the book for you by providing too many details and spoilers. So, I will say that all of the previous characters and plot twists appear in this book. In this action packed, emotionally full, ass-kicking book, each character’s role in Rachel’s life is explored, explained, and expanded, and each character is more fully developed and complicated. Each (sub) plot from the previous books is addressed and connected to Rachel’s immediate life and concerns. For example, one of the most involved character developments and plot connections has to do with Rachel’s mother, who until this point had been basically dismissed as a bit flighty or crazy and unreliable. She is a vital and important part of Rachel’s life and her actions are explained to us in a mostly believable (shocking?) plot twist. She’s a great character (now), and I think you will like her.

If you have read any of this series at all, you have to read this one. I hope you are as intrigued by the gargoyle as I am.

Happy Reading!

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Kim Harrison’s For a Few Demons More

After a much needed break / vacation, this blog returns today with a review of book 5 in The Hollows series by Kim Harrison.  I purchased and downloaded the book from the Sony eReader Bookstore. For a Few Demons More was absolutely my least favorite of the series.

The book description reads: Despite dating one vampire and living with another, Rachel Morgan has always managed to stay just ahead of trouble . . . until now.  

A fiendish serial killer stalks the Hollows, claiming victims across society, and the resulting terror ignites a vicious Inderland gang war. And while the ancient artifact Rachel is hiding may be the key to stopping the murderer, revealing it could also create a battle to the death among the numerous supernatural races that live in and around Cincinnati. 

For every action has its price, and when the vampire master Piscary is set free and the demonic Algaliarept dares to walk openly under the sun, even Rachel Morgan can’t hide forever.

By time I read this book, I had had my share of demons in the series. In an urban fantasy setting, there are so many more antagonists possible than just demons, but this was the third in a row to latch on to the demons and not let go. It just didn’t do it for me. Yes, the book attempts to wrap up issues left hanging from previous books; Trent returns; Ceri is further developed, and David plays a larger role. All of those things are interesting. But the plot was unbelievable and over the top. Most of the action takes place off stage and then is reported to us (show not tell, remember?) and even then it doesn’t always make plot sense.

An example of this (spoiler alert?) is that while Rachel is on a bus on the way home, Al supposedly wreaks havoc on the city and the city holds a council meeting and decides that they must let Piscary out of prison to catch him since “Rachel won’t”–wow, that quickly huh? How’s that timeline work? There are other weird plot elements, such as a fixation on convincing Rachel to have sex with Ivy despite the fact we were led to believe this issue was put to rest several books ago since Rachel is not into sex with women. Then, the ending is bam! an unexpected tear-jerking plot twist.

Had  I not already purchased the next in the series, I wouldn’t have after reading this, especially since “demon” is also in its title. That would have been a mistake. Book 6 is the best in the series. I will be reviewing it for you tomorrow. Until then,

Happy reading!

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Alice Kimberly’s The Ghost and The Dead Man’s Library

Like most of my books, I purchased and downloaded this book to my Sony eReader. The Ghost and the Dead Man’s Library is Book 3 in the Haunted Bookshop Mystery series by Alice Kimberly.

Book Description: Jack Shepard didn’t have much use for books when he was alive. Now that he’s dead, he has even less interest in the crate of dusty old tomes that arrive at the bookshop he’s been haunting. Penelope, on the other hand, is thrilled with the delivery. The rare old Poe library was willed to her shop by an elderly admirer of her aunt Sadie’s. The dead man’s library is so valuable that Pen is inundated with astronomical offers for every volume in the set. Everything appears rosy, until Pen begins to sell the books, one by one…and one by one each buyer dies. The police don’t believe Pen’s theory—that these deaths are linked to the rare book purchases. In fact, the police don’t believe these deaths are murders at all. Pen, of course, knows differently, which means it’s time to persuade her hard-boiled haunter to stop resting in peace, start cracking some clues, and make sure this twisted Poe freak kills…nevermore.

(An excerpt is also available on the author’s website)

I have been reading this series for the cozy mystery challenge. This particular installment was very interesting since I am a Poe fan. For one who has read Poe’s works, this book provided many references and illusions that caught my attention and my interest.

In a very Davinci Code-ish way, this series grabs the reader and pulls her along as we try to determine if the Poe code is real and what we will find. All of this, is of course, while solving a series of murders and trying to get Penelope off the hook for Grand Theft Larceny. It was a quick enjoyable read. And, I really liked the conversations Penelope and Jack had about their different uses of language and slang (something that was lacking in the first book and worried me a bit). This book proves the author has meshed those eras and their languages well.

Having said that, as a mom, I wished an incident with Penelope’s child had not been glossed over so much. In addition, at this point, I would like to see Penelope develop a love interest of some kind (other than Jack).  Also, Pen doesn’t seem to be as worried about being arrested as I would think someone would be. She never consults a lawyer and there is no mention really of the charges being dropped other than we know the police know she didn’t do it.

So, with those minor caveats, it was good. I will definitely read the next one. Happy Reading to you!

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Filed under Cozy Mystery, Cozy Mystery Challenge 2010, Reading for Fun