Monday, December 16, 2013

Innocent Blood (The Order of the Sanguines, #2)Innocent Blood by James Rollins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Action-packed, great read with a notes of Biblical history as the background. I received Innocent Blood as an e-Arc from Edelweiss. It is the second in a series about the Order of Sanguines and two outsiders that have been recruited to assist them in their search for a holy book. The group is in direct competition with a group called The Belial that has also been searching for the book but with the goal of causing a cataclysmic event. The trio from The Blood Gospel are brought back together to continue on the path that The Blood Gospel search has set them on. A reader can read this book and enjoy it without having read the first one, but, they will be missing a lot of the history of the events and the first book was quite exciting.

Innocent Blood starts off where The Blood Gospel leaves off with each member of the trio having stepped back into their own lives. Rhun, one of the Sanguinists, is in trouble and missing. Jordan, a member of the military recruited to help in the search, is burying the members of his team that were lost in The Blood Gospel and Erin, the final member of the trio (or is she?) is teaching at university. Events start to unfold that draw them back together and we learn more about Rhun's past and the history of the Sanguinists. We also learn more about how Rhun became a part of the Sanguinists and how the organization began.

There are some real surprises in this book! Though it was a bit long it is so full of suspense and action that it does not take long to move through the story. This series would really appeal to armchair travel readers as well as history buffs. It looks like there is at least one more in this series and I look forward to reading it!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Guest Post/Interview with Rachel of Dirt Diary by Anna Staniszewski

Anna: Hey, Rachel. Well, this is kind of weird. I’m not used to talking to you when other people are around. Mostly it’s just in my head.

Rachel: Um, yeah. Hi. Not to be totally rude or anything but I have some brownies in the oven, so can we speed this up?

Anna: Okay, let’s get right to the point. Your life is full of embarrassing moments. Can you share your worst ones with us?

Rachel: What? I’m not going to tell complete strangers about things like that!

Anna: Come on. I’m sure you have a good story about Steve Mueller. Ever since you’ve had a crush on him, you freeze up whenever he’s around.

Rachel: Oh my goldfish, who told you I have a crush on him? Well, it’s not true. He’s just…I mean, he’s gorgeous, but he doesn’t even know I exist.

Anna: That’s not entirely true. Didn’t he ask you to spy on his girlfriend?

Rachel: Will you stop telling everyone my secrets? Ugh, fine. Yes, he asked me to poke around Briana’s room while I’m there with my mom’s cleaning service. I know spying on someone sounds bad, but you don’t how horrible Briana is. She goes out of her way to make my life a living hell, so if she’s cheating on Steve then doesn’t he have a right to know?

Anna: Well...

Rachel: Holy fried bananas, are you defending Briana? You’re the one who created her. You know how evil she is.

Anna: Sorry, I guess it wasn’t fair to unleash a harpy like that on you, but spying on her is—

Rachel: I know it’s not the most moral thing, but you don’t know how desperate I am. If I find any secrets on Briana then Steve will pay me for them, and if I can save up enough money then I can pay back the cash I stole from my college fund before my mom finds out. Oh no! My mom isn’t going to read this, is she?

Anna: No, your secret is safe with us. So, is there any other dirt you want to share?

Rachel: No way! Besides, I think I smell my brownies burning. Can you do me a favor, though? In the next book, can you make my life a little less mortifying?

Anna: Sorry, kiddo. You’re stuck with me for two more embarrassment-filled books!

Born in Poland and raised in the United States, Anna Staniszewski grew up loving stories in both Polish and English. When she’s not writing, Anna spends her time teaching, reading, and challenging unicorns to games of hopscotch. She is the author of the My Very UnFairy Tale Life series, published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky. Look for the first book in Anna’s next tween series, The Dirt Diary, in January 2014, and visit her at www.annastan.com.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The NaturalsThe Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this book! It had well-written characters and a great story. I am a sucker for secret agent books, and I really love ones that have a different spin on them. The Naturals was that kind of story. I received an early release e-Arc but was out of the country and had to catch up on a lot of work when I returned so I am just getting to the review. There are a lot of twists in this book and I like how they were done. Cassie is a teen that doesn't really seem to have a connection with her family though she has a family that loves her deeply. She has been on the FBI's radar for a special program and accepts the challenge to go and learn more about her gift and how to use it to help them track criminals. She meets some interesting teens that also have gifts and she is not the only one that has a troubled background and it all comes to the front when the story hits its stride. One thing I did like is that the story doesn't act as if the FBI would be willing to let teens work on cases involving murder but, teens being teens, and desperate people trying to get answers will do what they have to do. Great story and I look forward to how things go in the next installment.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sekret (Sekret, #1)Sekret by Lindsay Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an early release eArc of Sekret by Lindsay Smith through Netgalley.com. I made an update post when I was about 1/3 of the way through Sekret because I was really struck by how trapped these kids were and all I could think is this could really have happened. I remember reading a lot about the Cold War because I was always fascinated by covert operations and espionage books and movies even as a kid and a lot of the things I read always gave me the impression that there were a lot of people standing in line for rations of food and though they were being provided for by the government they were still starving. People were jailed for just disagreeing with the government which was against the law there. I read that different governments invested in supernatural studies to try to get an advantage over other governments. This book strikes me as delving into those rumors and giving the reader a good story about how this could have happened. She also goes one step further to show how genetic studies could have been exploited and played a part in the use of psychics and other supernaturals.

The one thing that prevented me from giving this book 5 stars is that I was sometimes confused by how some of the supernatural gifts worked for a couple of the students. I also was a little confused by how things went with her family because the story was told in a bit of a disjointed manner. Despite that I was really invested in Sekret and read for hours so that I could see how things would end. There were some great displays of the use of the gifts during training and live exercises. It was sort of bittersweet especially when it was hard to determine who could be trusted. As some of them developed other skills we saw more, but I wish there was more information about how things worked. Like if someone was scrubbed was that back to tabula rasa? There were some great surprises in this book also and I am glad to see there is a sequel and look forward to reading it.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Stonecast (The Spellmason Chronicles, #2)Stonecast by Anton Strout
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh Stanis, how do I love thee? Stonecast is the second installment in the Anton Strout very cool series about a Spellmason and the grotesque or as we call them gargoyle that has watched over the Belarus family since her great-great grandfather. Although you might enjoy Stonecast by reading it alone you would miss out on a lot of history that was given in the first book, Alchemystic. I really was looking forward to this follow-up and it did not disappoint. We begin the story where things left off in the first book where Alexandra is still under threat from Stanis' father who wants materials that Alexandra's great-great grandfather, Alexander Belarus hid very well. But, now she is under threat from another front in this book, someone that has been highly trusted by her father, who unfortunately plays quite a small role in this book. Stonecast focuses mostly on Alexandra and her friends, Marshall and Rory with an addition, someone she meets that might just be able to help her learn more of her craft.

We get to see the story told in alternating points of view between Alexandra and Stanis. Sometimes I forgot he was telling the story in his chapters and I was a bit confused. Other than that I loved seeing things from his eyes and also when there was a cross-over in the telling of a scene from both Alexandra's and Stanis' point of view. It was quite interesting to see how oblivious she was to some things but, hey, he's a big stone guy, so it is quite understandable. The thing is that every once in a while his humanity still shines through in his thoughts and feelings. It was great seeing how he felt about some things and how he wanted to respond versus how he did respond.

We are treated to some great scenes with Marshall and Rory being their hilarious selves. I have to say that it was a bit disconcerting that Lexi placed so much trust and faith in someone she did not know and over the objections of the people and grotesques closest to her, especially someone who had been her friend since childhood and the grotesque that had watched over her family for centuries. She kept justifying it in her head but asking them to risk their lives based upon the word of someone they did not know or have any of the same interactions with that she did. If it had been just money or something not so important it would not have stood out as much to me. But, she risked their lives by doing it and it just did not sit well with me. She tried protecting them but she knew she needed them but instead of protecting them when she needed them she exposed them and I have to say it was different then giving them the choice so we hit upon something that made me not be on her side as much as I had been in the first book. Well, she's a bit arrogant there as well but she didn't seem to grow much from that. She approaches this new friendship more like a teenager than an adult. That was my one problem with how things went though it is not a flaw in the book moreso just something I do not like about Alexandra now that I recall she had the same issues in Alchemystic. There were some good stone man on grotesque battles and some great scenes with Lexi and her friends as they used their own skills to battle. I'm ready for book 3!

Review can also be seen at http://LadyTechiesBookMusings.blogspo...

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Murder In ThrallMurder In Thrall by Anne Cleeland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an early eArc from Netgalley. I love British mysteries. I have to admit that I have not been reading straight mysteries for a while. But, this mystery does have a twist in it and it makes it more interesting. Murder in Thrall is the story about a DC, Kathleen Doyle, from Dublin who moves to London to work for the police and is given a chance to work with one of the most famous investigators on the force who also happens to be an aristocrat, Lord Acton. Part of what is interesting about this story is its layout, the order in which the story is told. We join the story with the duo already mid-investigation of a murder. One of the things that I did not like about Murder in Thrall is that though I liked the attempt at how the story was arranged it did at times confuse me. Some of the Irish slang also was a bit baffling to me at times. I am having trouble determining the definition of a section seven. It appears to have several different meanings. I will go with stalker laws. We get a better feel for this as the story moves along. There are some great red herrings in this story and as Doyle moves along throughout her day her talent for interrogation and reading people tells a lot of the story.

One of the great things about Murder in Thrall is the cast of characters. I did miss having a better sense of place. I love London and the story just does not give a good feel for where the story happens. There are some pretty diverse people in this police department. They are flawed and quite interesting. They make the story stand out more. Everyone has these quirks in their personalities that make it plausible for them to be the killer. The first two murders just do not seem to have any rhyme or reason that make sense so finding out who the killer is and why really makes you sit back and think "I just could not have seen that". I had the feeling that this is the first of a series and I have to admit that I liked the Epilogue and the information that it gave. It was an interesting way of giving something good about Acton and Doyle and makes me look forward to seeing more of their story.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

On Midnight Wings (The Maker's Song, #5)On Midnight Wings by Adrian Phoenix
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an eArc from Edelweiss. It seems like we waited years for this follow-up and though I loved it, something felt like it was missing. The time between Etched in Bone and On Midnight Wings was a bit long so I had to stop every now and then and remind myself about parts of the story. The story starts where Etched in Bone leaves off and Heather and Dante are both in their own situations where they are in danger. The others are trying to determine what happened to them and deal with the losses they have had over the last couple of books. Von is amazing but he has his own situation apart from trying to find Heather and Dante.

On Midnight Wings still has several arcs going on, Lucien playing politics with the angels, the fallout from the mini-war Dante is fighting with the other vampires in New Orleans, Heather's father trying to control his daughters, the FBI trying to control Dante and Heather, the vampires coming up to speed on Dante and wanting to control him, the organization Von works for wanted their stake claimed and the rogue group that experimented on Dante. Of course there are a few little splinter arcs going on but, I'm not sure how Adrian Phoenix keeps it all straight. There has to be some sort of storyboard going on because she never misses touching on any of them.

I have to admit I am not a huge fan of the way each book ends, with ginourmous cliff hangers right in the middle of something exploding. Though I loved the book I was left wanting, wanting some sort of resolution of something. This book in particular is harder to review because to explain why I was left wanting means spilling the beans on some things and I prefer to not give spoilers. Suffice it to say that there was Heather trying to get to Dante and the rest trying to get to Heather and Dante and I wanted to see more forward momentum. But, for Dante he had some other things he was trying to resolve. It was full of action and you still love the gang you just wish some things had happened more quickly or differently. I'll still be looking forward the next book and how all these things turn out because it is a great series with some great characters, flaws and all.

Thankless in Death (In Death, #37)Thankless in Death by J.D. Robb
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I never think I should write huge reviews of J. D. Robb's books because she has so many readers that the word is already. I will post my blurb from the other day:

"I have always disliked the villains throughout this entire series, but, there is something about this guy, this ugggg, I want to kick the crap out of him. J. D. Robb has outdone herself with giving us this huge glimpse into the bad guy and I think that is the difference. This is the largest glimpse into the bad guy's thoughts, processes and crimes that we have ever had making it seem like he is the worst one."

I can say the ending was fulfilling. The story was exciting and we got to visit with some old friends and I always love when Roark's family comes from Ireland. They are hilarious and I wish we could see more of them. This book almost felt like it was a turning point in the series. I have no idea to what but we do see that Eve has grown so much and we see a lot of that in Thankless in Death. Oddly enough I'm always reminded that if she hadn't found Roark I would have loved to see her with Morris. They have a connection and it isn't just their jobs. Most of the time I don't think Eve recognizes when she has a connection with someone until she is forced to see it.

I am excited to see where the series goes next!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Magic Rises (Kate Daniels, #6)Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I know I do not have to tell anyone that has already read Magic Rises that this book is great. I am the first to admit that I was apprehensive about reading it because I have been so invested in this story. I own each release in both ebook and audiobook and the earlier releases I had the paperbacks to go with my audiobooks. With the audiobooks I like to go through the series at least once a year. I started out listening to the book on my long commute to and from my office. I finished one book yesterday and decided to read it on my Kindle and ended up spending most of the afternoon into the night finishing it. I couldn't walk away. I had to know how the story finished. One of the things that kept going through my mind as the story was winding down was how Ilona Andrews has always been able to tap into my emotions with this series. Anyone in my family and close friends can tell you I avoid books and movies that make me cry or make me sad. But, this series is one where, from Kate's loss in the very first book when we first meet her, to the action and emotion-packed events in Magic Rises, I just couldn't walk away.

Magic Rises is the continuation of the Kate Daniels series but it is so much more. It is a story that becomes the story of all the people she interacts with whether friend or enemy. She develops relationships and feelings that are totally against how she was raised. As Hugh told her "we were raised to be serial killers". That is an extremely profound statement. The fact that they both had the same background but evolved into such different people speaks volumes. Based upon how the series has gone so far I think that despite Kate's bloodline I do not think that blood will always out, as they say. Kate has forged her own path and I believe when everything comes to a head she will continue to do that.

There is still the great displays of humor and I found myself thinking that possibly one of the reasons this series works the way that it does is because of the good give-and-take of the authors. I attended a great online chat and it was fun and interesting to watch them interact with each other. I had this chain of thought, right there is the heart of Curran and Kate. They leap off the page when we read their story because a lot of what is put into them comes from not only the imagination of Ilona Andrews but also from the heart of the authors. If you spend any time with Magic Rises you will see that it fully deserves its well-earned spot on the NYT Bestseller list.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Stick and Move - Guest Blog Post by Ted Goeglein author of Flicker & Burn - A Cold Fury Novel

It’s an old boxing term – jab your opponent (stick) and get away (move) before she can do it back. It’s also a good description of how my protagonist, Sara Jane Rispoli, fights her way through the COLD FURY trilogy. In FLICKER & BURN, she comes out swinging again, this time even harder.

I boxed at a place in Chicago, Windy City Gym, which had been around since the early 1920’s and looked it, with warped floorboards, sweat- and bloodstained rings, and slowly twirling heavy bags. Real fighters trained there, people who wanted to be pros, including one of the toughest young women I’ve ever known.

She gave me the idea for Sara Jane to be a boxer.

It’s a sport that requires strength, but even more, dexterity and smarts. The young woman – I’ll call her Rosa – had all of that in abundance. She was one part gladiator, one part ballerina, and a hundred percent Einstein. If she got hit, Rosa learned from it on her feet, reacting in a way that made sure she didn’t get hit twice. And she employed the wisest move in boxing – if she was getting hurt, she ran. Not out of the ring, of course, but in a way that made an opponent chase her.

And then she’d stop abruptly, feet planted, body squared, and throw a left hook.

I learned a lot by watching Rosa and put almost all of it into Sara Jane. Throughout the trilogy, my heroine knows when to stick, when to move, and above all, she never stops fighting.




Flicker & Burn (Cold Fury, #2)Flicker & Burn by T.M. Goeglein
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Flicker & Burn
T. M. Goeglein
I received and ARC from the publishers for review. I loved Cold Fury and was waiting on pins and needles to get a hold of Flicker & Burn. While I was reading it there are times that I wanted to inhale it whole and times I wanted to slow down and make it last longer. It is that good! Part of me was thinking how long before we get where Sara Jane is trying to go? I can’t take this. The other part of me thought when is she going to box someone’s ears? She is straddling this line between being a teenager who goes to school and hangs out with a best friend and being a mafia princess of sorts. I have to admit that mafia books and movies are not my thing. But, the author has wrapped this thing up in such a nice package that I can’t help but enjoy it. I have to admit I am starting to despise clowns also.

I look at the really nice cover of Flicker & Burn and see the blurb “A heart-pounding mafia action-adventure” and think wow that is so true. This book is full of chase scenes, fight scenes and a great mystery which turns multipronged. That was handled very well. We get to meet some of Sara Jane’s family and from the beginning I wondered why they were suddenly there. I have to admit I thought they worked for the people holding Sara Jane’s family. It was great to be wrong. Their part of the story was a great addition to the storyline. This part of the story and the part with Max did bring out some emotions for me because it really portrayed how alone Sara Jane seems in this fight. Doug’s exciting part of the story also brings that home.

One of the big breakout facets of Flicker & Burn is seeing more of Sara Jane’s immersion into the Chicago mafia. We meet some colorful characters. There is some great character development in this edition and it looks like we will see more of them in future books as opposed to only getting summaries of what occurred from Sara Jane. We got to see blow-by-blow, if you will, interactions. I have to admit that I hope that things change with regard to her family. I am one of those people that do not like when the storyline goes on and on across multiple books with no resolution. I would like to see a new story arc with regard to her family after they are home and the family is back together. Lou is fascinating and I can’t wait to see more of him in the books. Flicker & Burn is a great addition to the series and I look forward to seeing where the Cold Fury series goes from here.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Bleiberg Project: A Consortium ThrillerThe Bleiberg Project: A Consortium Thriller by David Khara


My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I received an e-copy of The Bleiberg Project by David Khara from Netgalley. I have to admit when I think about reading anything related to the Holocaust it makes me want to run the other way. Knowing everything that was done and probably not being aware of some things makes it a hard subject to digest. I have to admit this is my first foray into reading about this topic for that very reason. But, when I read the synopsis I thought this sounds really good and just maybe there is a good enough ending that I will not feel totally depressed afterwards.

The characterization in the story was done really well. I have to admit that Jeremy Corbin, even without knowing his secret, makes it hard to like him. He is quite witty and also so darn down on himself it makes you want to avoid him. But, as the book goes on you start to become invested in his pain and hope that somewhere down the line things get better for him. Oddly enough his thoughts about Jackie Wells at first seemed a bit off to me, then as I read on I decided he is just a bit self-centered and immature and kind of thinks of her in high-school terms. Jeremy takes body blow after body blow in losses and as he deals with them throughout the book you start to see him maturing and growing and realizing how he lost more than he realized with his father.

I love reading books based in other countries, especially Europe and Eastern Europe. This book did a good job of giving me a bit of armchair travel. There was not a lot by way of describing the sites in the different places they visited when they arrived in Switzerland and made their way across to Poland but, there were enough of the descriptions that it grabbed my interest. What was really great was the tie-in to some of the rumors of some of the medical testing that happened in the camps. They were nicely woven into this book. But, my all-time favorite part of this book was Eytan Morg. I love reading about and seeing stories on television about the Kidon unit of The Mossad. Granted they are not nice people but, this was my first book that I got to read about some of what they do and what is known about their skills. It took me back to my favorite parts of NCIS and the character Ziva who was also Kidon. Eytan was larger than life and not just due to his size. He was this amazing, scarred man who didn’t allow himself to have anything other than the work he did and we find out why in The Bleiberg Project. That part of the story was riveting. Eytan’s fight scenes were awesome and jumped off the page when you read them. Interestingly enough at the beginning of the book you don’t know whose side he is on so he comes off as if he might be one of the bad guys but, he is so much more.

I just read on Goodreads that this is the start of a series and I have to say a very good start and I look forward to following this series every step of the way!
Review can also be seen along with more great information about The Bleiberg Project by David Khara at http://LadyTechiesBookMusings.blogspo....





Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Bleiberg Project
Could secret human experimentations be
carried out worldwide?

A thriller with action, killings, this has a WWII element
Genre: thriller/espionage

The Bleiberg Project by French author David Khara, adapted into English by blockbuster movie translator Simon John, combines non-stop action, loads of espionage and unforgettable characters. This prize-winning spy novel, the first in a series, took France by storm when it was first published, reaping superlatives: "Spellbinding," "exceptional," "staggering," “captivating," "brilliant," "astounding," "fascinating."

Synopsis
1942, Poland. The head of the SS meets secretly with a scientist in charge of a major Third Reich project. Present day. After late night with yet another woman whose name he doesn’t remember, self-pitying golden boy trader Jay Novacek learns that his long-lost father has died, precipitating events that lead him to board a plane to Zurich under his real name, Jeremy Corbin. He’s got a Nazi medallion in his pocket, a hot CIA bodyguard next to him, and a dangerous Mossad agent on his tail. What was his father investigating? Why was his mother killed? Why are unknown sides fighting over him with automatic weapons? Far from his posh apartment, he races to save the world from a horrific conspiracy straight out of the darkest hours of history. Can it be stopped?

The Bleiberg Project won the Blue Moon prize for best thriller and has sold over 100,000 copies already. It is being made into a movie.

Author: David Khara
Translator: Simon John
Publisher: Le French Book, Inc.
First published in French (Editions Critic, 2010)
Release Date: April 30, 2013
Specs: direct to digital translation, ebook exclusive, 57,000 words
Genre: thriller/espionage
ISBN: 978-0-9853206-9-0 (Kindle)/
978-1-939474-99-5 (epub)
List Price: $7.99
Retail orders:
Amazon.com, BN.com, ibooks, kobo, Overdrive, other ebook platforms
Buying links:
For your Amazon Kindle.
For your Kobo.
Live outside the US? Click here for other Amazon Kindle stores.


Praise for The Bleiberg Project
“Fascinating, written with a sharp style, shock value and a lot of humor.” – Serge Perraud, www.lelitteraire.com.”
“Impossible to put down.” – France Inter

About the Author
French author David Khara, a former journalist, top-level athlete, and entrepreneur, is a full-time writer. Khara wrote his first novel—a vampire thriller—in 2010, before starting his thriller series. The first in the series, The Bleiberg Project, was an instant success in France, catapulting Khara into the ranks of the country's top thriller writers.
  
Contact:
Facebook: LeFrenchBook
Twitter: @LeFrenchBook



Monday, July 1, 2013

If the Shoe Fits by Megan Mulry

If the Shoe FitsIf the Shoe Fits by Megan Mulry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an early release copy of If the Shoe Fits from netgalley. I have to admit that now that I read some pure romance books this one falls within the realm of the type I enjoy most. I seemed to have a fondness for the royals or wealthy men meeting and falling for someone that is not part of their crowd. In this case Sarah James is non-royal but she does come from a wealthy family and in her own right is very successful and wealthy. I loved her more in the first book in the series. In this series I was slightly put off by her attitude towards commitment. Not that I have not seen good reason to stay away from them both in my reading materials and in real-life. I just could not get a good feel for her reasons for her attitudes. I felt like I was missing it so I did not identify with her or understand some of her decisions.

I love reading books based in London, really things in the entire U.K. region and Europe. This series always does a good job of giving that feel for location even when they are in New York. I did not recognize all of the streets but had a great desire to walk those streets and see if some of the buildings actually exist. Things look so different over there due to differences in architecture and purely because of the age. This book is not designed so much for an armchair travel book but it does provide good atmosphere when describing decor and buildings. Devon's mom seems to be a bit prejudiced about the 2 women that are dating her sons and I just did not get a great feel for why she was more companionable to Sarah James versus Bronte Talbott but, I think it might be in the books so I will have to re-read both to detect the nuances. I suspect it has more to do with her relationship with the sons spilling over onto her relationships with the women. Megan Mulry does a good job with characterization. Overall it is a great story and I hope to see more in this series though I tend to shy away from books that cover different relationships as part of the same series.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Mira's Diary: Home Sweet RomeMira's Diary: Home Sweet Rome by Marissa Moss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mira’s Diary Home Sweet Rome
By Marissa Moss
I received an early release Arc of Home Sweet Rome and it fell into the same realm as Lost in Paris. There was this anticipation of what would happen to Mira as she slipped into ancient Rome. There was also this giddiness at seeing Rome through Mira’s and the author’s eyes, though some of her time spent there depicted a very different Rome. One of the amazing things about Italy is that so much of what was there in the 15th and 16th century can still be seen now. Some of it is ruins, but, occasionally you visit someplace like the Pantheon that has existed in its current rebuilt state since approximately 125 A.D. and before it was rebuilt it existed since somewhere between 25-27 B.C.. It is just breathtaking to consider something so old still standing. Mira gets to experience both time periods and see what was originally in Rome and how much things have changed and shares that with the reader.
She has her father and brother to help her as much as they can while Mira learns to control her travels into other times. The rules have not changed but the risks to Mira have grown exponentially because she has travelled to a time when females do not have the same rights or roles as they do in our time and still another time when Jewish citizens are treated as less than other citizens in Rome. Mira again has to determine what wrong she needs to right so that her mom can come back to their time. She has several mysteries to solve to determine what her mom’s messages are guiding her to do in ancient Rome. Mira is growing more into a young adult and unfortunately a great deal of that is now being done without her mom who is still missing.
One of the best things about Home Sweet Rome is living through the trials with Mira as she tries to determine her purpose in Rome. It is not all investigation and move on. She has some serious decisions to make and her life is at risk while she traverses through time to help her mom solve the problem she is determined to solve so that she can rejoin her family in Mira’s time. Home Sweet Rome is a traveler’s dream, a historical book lover’s companion and a great book to add to a mystery book reader’s shelves. It has it all and despite being about a young adult it is a great read for book lovers of all ages. I look forward to the next trip in Mira’s story!
Review can also be seen at LadyTechie's Book Musing http://LadyTechiesBookMusings.blogspo...


Monday, April 29, 2013

Immortal EclipseImmortal Eclipse by Sherry Soule
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received Immortal Eclipse as an e-Arc for review on behalf Literal Addiction. I read the blurb and was really looking forward to it but have to admit that I tend to stay away from ghost stories and haunted house stories. But, I honor my obligations so I tucked in yesterday to see what this story had to offer. Skylar is a gifted photographer who has had photos on the cover of some of the best fashion magazines published. She also spends more than her fair share of money on designer shoes and clothes. Her glamorous life takes a turn and she is suddenly without direction. She has received several calls from her recently deceased uncle to handle his estate which was left to her. She decides it is as good a time as any to go to California and see how the investigation into his death is proceeding and handle his estate.

From the moment she arrives in California she is warned away, harassed, haunted and threatened. Everyone she has met that works at her uncle’s mansion, now her mansion, seems to dislike her. Oddly enough she expected better treatment from those that depended upon her for their livelihood. She finds that it is hard to trust any of them and some openly distrust her though they just met her. That is one of the things that is great about this book, the character development. You have no trouble seeing who the bad guys are but, there is some difficulty determining if those that seem like good guys really are good guys because everyone there has secrets and some of them involve Skylar though she is not aware of the secrets. One of the other things about Immortal Eclipse is the story line. Though ghost story/hauntings are not usually to my taste this one was well told and held my interest. Honestly at times it kind of crept me out which might be why I stay away from them. Skylar has to decide if risking her life is worth determining who killed her uncle since the police have already closed the case as a suicide or going back to New York and trying to rebuild her life. She sticks it out until it is too late and she has no choice but to push on and find out the secrets of her uncle’s home. I will be looking out for more titles by Sherry Soule!

Review can also be seen at http://LadyTechiesBookMusings.blogspo...


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Flirting in Italian (Flirting in Italian #1)Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have to say that this book really hit me more than I thought it would. I chose it hoping to get to see Italy again but through the author's eyes hoping she had been there and was sharing her experiences through her character's eyes. What I got out of it was so much more than that. I was reminded of things I saw and things I missed and plan to go back and see. I was reminded of this weird kinship I felt with Rome despite the fact that I did not speak the language and did not know anyone there. My Goddaughter still talks about the food we ate and the places we visited and how we just roamed around and fell in love with this place. It seemed really odd to miss a place and think about it every single day as if it was a second home, and only after a first visit. We both talk about how much we miss it. I read everything I can that has Roma as its setting. The author did an amazing job expressing the same feelings I had when our driver dropped us off at the airport. I knew immediately when we left that I had to go back and that I would miss it. Reading Flirting in Italian felt like I was reading my own travelogue, though I wish I had the great experience with the fellas while I was there, but, I was with a minor and my focus was on making the trip amazing for my Goddaughter. More than that this book captured the people of Roma just as I remembered them. I know I will read this book again and again and look forward to it every time I begin it.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Deadly Sting (Elemental Assassin, #8)Deadly Sting by Jennifer Estep
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received an e-Arc of Deadly Sting and loved every moment of it. I took some time reading Widow's Web because I caught a hint of part of the story arc. Once I made it through, and still loved it I did not hesitate to jump right into this one. I mentioned in my review of Widows's Web that part of the overall theme of the series is that Gin doesn't just help the people she jumps in to defend. She also seems to in some way end up needing them to step up and help themselves. This one was a bit different from that. We always get to see more into how Gin is growing and changing and how her past plays a part in this change.

Deadly Sting does one thing that I really enjoyed, spend more time with Fletcher Lane. I have always been bummed that we don't get to know him better when he was such a big influence in her life. We pretty much see Gin as she is as an adult and though we get flashes of Fletcher in the books we never get to know who he is and how he got to be that way. Maybe one day Jennifer Estep will write a novella based upon Fletcher Lane or even a full novel that would backtrack when Mab is in her heyday and Fletcher is Gin's handler and who her love interest was at the time, etc. That would be great. Another thing I would love to see is something about Gin's father. We know absolutely nothing about him other than Mab's interest in him.

Deadly Sting was more of an action packed ride where there were 2 mysteries, one was more a mystery for Gin's friends and the other involves who set up the events in the museum. Getting to the answers of who is responsible for everything is more than just seeing who the players are during the robbery and it adds to the tension and gives the reader something to look forward to in future books. I have to admit that I am more a fan of stories that do not drag on one villain for too long, in books and in television shows. Catch Red John for crying out loud! I am invested in this series and it is one of few that I am still following because the characters have not driven me away, even Owen.

Review can also be seen at Lady Techies Book Musings http://LadyTechiesBookMusings.blogspo...

Friday, March 15, 2013

Widow’s Web (Elemental Assassin, #7)Widow’s Web by Jennifer Estep
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received an e-Arc of Widow's Web before it was released. But, I made the mistake of catching a whiff of something that made me a bit wary to jump right into the story. Then the audiobook was released and I bought that on the day of the release because I love Lauren Fortgang's narration of the series. Finally, I decided to take the leap because I wanted to honor my promise to review the book and now Deadly Sting is being released on March 26, 2013. Time to suck it up and catch up.

I have to admit that I love this series. I am always looking for great, woman assassin books, and Gin Blanco is that and more. She has the kick-butt elemental powers as well as some great fighting skills. I have to admit that there was one pet peeve for this book. The use of the word "lover" drove me nuts. I guess I'm not overly fond of it anyway so there was a bias to start. For me, there was this love of Owen who was a bit of a disappointment in this book. Even Eva was disappointed and she is his sister. But, I have to admit that Gin has had so much loss and pain in her life I was kind of hoping that her personal life could be one area that she could have a break while she helps right wrongs or protect the innocent. But, I did have a bit of an epiphany or maybe I noticed this in previous books but put words to the thoughts this time. Gin starts out fighting the battles of others then for the most part the victim has to step in and help protect her and themselves before the problem is fixed. Maybe there is a lesson that was always there but I missed it because I was always so engrossed in the fight sequences and cool powers to see it before now. Maybe I saw it when Gin fought the vampire and tried to help his wife. That one was really more evident though I didn't take note.

This story was about how the past comes back to haunt you. For Owen he learned that a prolific set of circumstances that shaped a large portion of his life were misinterpreted. But, he still allowed that mistake to shape a lot of his decisions in Widow's Web. It was the one time I wanted to slap him and yell wake up, even after he woke up, he seemed to act weak. It was a disappointment because I really loved him as a love interest for Gin. But, I'm not quite sure he deserves her. I don't think that Gin's run-in with Donovan in the last book was anywhere near the same annoying circumstances as what happened with Owen and his former fiancée. She did not show any weakness for him and even took a stand to protect the feelings of Donovan's fiancée.

There were some decent fight scenes though not quite to level of previous books. I hope Deadly Sting steps them up again. Widow's Web read more like it was about personal issues than fighting the bad guy, though the bad guy existed. I'm ready for Deadly Sting and cannot wait for the audiobook to be released!

Review can also be seen on LadyTechie's Book Musing http://LadyTechiesBookMusings.blogspo...


Monday, March 11, 2013

AngelopolisAngelopolis by Danielle Trussoni
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Angelopolis
By Danielle Trussoni
I received an e-Arc of Angelopolis through Edelweiss. I have to admit that I was watching closely for this release because I loved Angelology. I was excited to have a chance to review this book a bit before its release. I did not love it as much as I did Angelology though I have a strong like for it. I think the biggest thing that struck me is that there were 3 points-of-view from which Angelopolis was told. One was Evangeline's, the other was Verlaine and Bruno, and the other began later in the story when one of the other angelologists, Vera, went a different direction. I think the one thing missing for me was spending more time with Evangeline. Her part of the story was not as big as I would have liked, especially since so much of the story was about her and her family and given the suspenseful ending of Angelology. Another thing that I’m mulling over is the “Angelopolis”. There was something odd with the prison nomenclature in Siberia and I was not sure if it was meant to be two different terms for two different concepts or if there was a change in terms. Possibly the angels called it one thing and those that new what the place eventually turned into called it something else, Panopticon. Are these the same place or have we not seen Angelopolis yet?

There were some great scenes with some of the more prominent angels and I loved learning more about the different types and hierarchies of angels. We find out more about the relationship between the angelologists, the Nephilim in particular. There is a great depiction about the history of not only the angels, but also of some of the angelologists, particularly Angela Valko and her father, Raphael Valko. Part of what was hard for me to follow is the gap in time and possibly I should have re-read Angelology before embarking on this experience and I can describe it as just that, an experience. I think I understand why there was a gap in the time between the two stories and if it is designed for the reason I believe then it works well and would have been even better if Evangeline was in the story more. We only get to see her changes and growth a small amount and maybe that will be developed more in the next book. But, it would have been great to experience more of her changes in this book.

There are some surprises in this book and some real displays of power by the angels, though I am wondering more about one of the new characters, Yana. I get the feeling like she has some gift that we are not privy to yet. Eno has one of the largest roles in the book. We don't know much about her other than the accountings of various run-ins told by Bruno and what was reported in other angelologists' reports. She appears to be ruthless and very violent and epitomizes the reason the angelologists exist in the first place. There are more angels that we see developed in this story specifically who will likely have bigger roles in the next book, like the Grigori twins. We also get to learn more about Russian history and some Biblical references with a nice tie-in to Faberge who still has a presence in the European and U.K. shopping districts. The ending was quite exciting and it did give a big buildup to the next book which I hope comes without another 2 year wait. I did stop to check Danielle Trussoni's website to see if this is a series or trilogy but did not find any information that gave me a clue. I can say that fans of Angelology will likely enjoy Angelopolis as much as I did.

Review can also be seen at Lady Techie's Book Musings http://LadyTechiesBookMusings.blogspo....


Friday, March 8, 2013

Frost Burned (Mercedes Thompson, #7)Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was absolutely good. I listened to the audiobook and it just added to my enjoyment of the story. The narrator, Lorelei King, does a great job with voices and emotional inflection. There was a great mystery and wonderful fight scenes. You cannot help but have your emotions tied up into the story. It makes you want to start the entire series over from the beginning and experience them all over again.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School, #1)Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think I have fallen in love with a new series. This book was even better because I listened to the audiobook and Moira Quirk, the narrator, took this book to the next level for me. She was awesome! If I closed my eyes and let my imagination go it was like watching a movie. I could literally picture all of the characters. She was excellent with the different voices and I finished this book wanting to start it all over again.

Obviously, the narrator had to have good material to start with in order for this to be a great audiobook. I have to say that Gail Carriger has another winner on her hands. This was a great story. One of the best things about this Etiquette & Espionage was the characters. I loved Sophronia and Dimity, well, even Pillover, despite the fact he is study to be an evil genius. One of the most refreshing things was seeing old friend's from the Parasol Protectorate series. It was really cool seeing them as children. Actually, that was something else that made this a wonderful book, having this Steampunk era book told from the perspective of children and teens.

The mystery in the book was also interesting and it was exciting. Who knew a mystery could be so exciting without a nice, juicy murder? There was a great deal of action and it was also great to have one of my favorite settings, an academy school and this school really has a twist. I have to admit that Sophronia's family was also quite fun. One of the best things is that Gail Carriger's humor really came through in this series also. It really was much more funny than the Protectorate series and I thought it was quite hilarious, more so, on audiobook, as I read the books and listened to the audiobooks, which is a sure sign of a book being one of my favorites.

Unfortunately, now I must play the waiting game for the next book in the series. Boy, it would be nice if she published twice a year.

Review can also be seen at LadyTechie's Book Musings http://LadyTechiesBookMusings.blogspo...

Royally Roma by Teri Wilson My rating: 5 of 5 stars Royally Roma takes place in one of my most favorite cities in the world, Rome. How ca...