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30 June 2015

Teaser Tuesday # 17 - Mint Julep Murder

I'm already on book 8 of my 20 Books of Summer!?!

I guess June was a really good month for reading!

I know, I know ... it wasn't such a good month for reviewing, but it's that whole conundrum I face with mid-series reviews. Maybe I'll do a little mini-review-mash-up once I reach the half-way point and then again at the end ... or at the first of each month (which would be tomorrow, huh?) ...

For now, though ... it's TEASER TUESDAY!!!

The Meme

The Tease & The Book
Mint Julep Murder by Carolyn G Hart

26 June 2015

#BookBeginnings & #Friday56 -- Gail Carriger's Curtsies & Conspiracies

It's another Friday with The Friday 56 and Book Beginnings (also found at Freda's Voice & hosted by Rose City Reader)!

Today we're visiting Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger -- the second in her Finishing School series and the seventh in my 20 Books of Summer!
I've never been big on flower arrangements ... but even for ME this sounds like fun!

Fast forward to the The Friday 56:

24 June 2015

Deanna Chase - Engaged Off Bourbon Street & Angels of Bourbon Street

I'm not officially counting Engaged Off Bourbon Street as book 6 of my 20 Books of Summer since it's only a short story, but it needed to be read before my ACTUAL book 6 -- Angels of Bourbon Street!

Engaged is "3.5" in the Jade Calhoun/Bourbon Street series, after:

  1. Haunted on Bourbon Street (ramble HERE)
  2. Witches of Bourbon Street (ramble HERE)
  3. Demons of Bourbon Street (ramble HERE)

So, ENGAGED off Bourbon Street makes it sound like we'll have finally have happy times for Jade and the gang, right?


You obviously haven't been following along if you think it's that easy.

Yep. Right from the very beginning Jade is wreaking havoc ... on herself.

It's a joint engagement/holiday party and she's still recovering (sort of) from the events of book 3. Of course, add to that the fact that she already has issues with spells going awry and ... well ... things go a more than a little haywire. Mistletoe is acting up, a ghost is floating around the party, and Jade is still the constant damsel-in-distress while trying to still manage everything ... and every body.

It's a comedy of errors, I suppose. Even for a short story it seemed to fly by too quickly to really feel worth it. Which, of course, made me happy that I could go straight into ....

Yay! Angels! Angels are happy and nice and .... oh, yeah. This is still Deanna Chase we're reading here. Angels can be vindictive and horrid and wretched and ... I think you get what I mean.

Angels of Bourbon Street begins five weeks before Kane and Jade's wedding is to take place. It really does turn out to be a good thing to have read it back-to-back with Engaged since the ghost who was floating around the engagement party ends up playing quite a big part in this installment since she possesses Jade.

Yep. A bride possessed. Because, you know, we were running out of ways for Jade to be put through the ringer.

And this is about where I started to bash my head up against my desk.

I've been through a hell of a lot with these characters so I've been determined to at least try to see this through but Jade is really starting to get on my nerves.

"Starting to"?

Scratch that. She's been getting on my nerves since February. Well, really, before that even since February was a re-read.

Maybe I've just been reading too many books with too many strong females lately. "Jade Calhoun" and "strong female" don't really seem to go together for me ... unless it's in reference to someone else in the story like if I said "Jade Calhoun's [aunt/angel/friend/mentor/stranger-on-the-freaking-street-corner] is a strong female."

I have to admit that I almost gave up entirely on this after the first couple of chapters because I didn't think I could take it any more ... and then I got to Chapter 7 and Pyper saved it (at least temporarily):
Could it be that Chase is fed up with Jade, too? Might this be a turning point?

Only to a small degree, it seems. She's still the center of her universe even when her friends are in danger ... but, then again, it IS "A Jade Calhoun Novel" according to the book cover so I suppose it makes sense that she's so "me me me" all of the time. I just wish she wasn't such an annoying whiny twit about it so much of the time.

And then. Oh gosh. The book took a much darker turn than the others have and I had to put it down for a bit. You know ... like "TRIGGER WARNING: SEXUAL ASSAULT INCLUDED" would have been nice to have dark. I think you already know that I don't really do the sexy/steamy bits when I can manage to skim and with this installment of the series my skimming skills came in quite handy. I don't think I would have been able to finish it otherwise. Even with the skimming I came very close to throwing in the towel more than once.

I'm just going to set these aside for at least a while and think to myself that everyone lives happily ever after. Of course, we already know I'm a glutton for punishment at times so I'm sure I'll catch up again at some point in the future.

Chase has started a spin-off series starring Pyper ... maybe I'll move on to those next ...

After the next 14 books, that is.

#20BooksOfSummer # 5 - Shakespeare's Trollop

The most difficult part of my 20 Books of Summer is that each book is from a series -- and none of them the first OF the series. I always find that difficult to review properly because I don't want to give too much of the previous installments away in case you haven't read them yet. It's like being told how a tv series has ended before ever watching it yourself. When you finally do get to watch it you're all "Oh ... yeah ... I know this. ____ told me all about it. I hate them. Why should I even bother?" And, you know, I don't want you to hate me SO I'll just ramble a bit about the series in vague generalities and the book in even more vagueness.

Shakespeare's Trollop is the fourth of five Lily Bard mysteries by Charlaine Harris (better known to some as the creator of Sookie Stackhouse of HBO's True Blood). I had read the first three back-to-back pre-blog so can't say "go back here [insert link] to catch up." Sorry.

Lily Bard, the heroine (though don't tell her I called her that -- she would disagree at the label), is nothing like Sookie. Shakespeare is nothing like Bon Temps. There are no vampires or faeries or were-whatevers ... but there are monsters. These monsters, though, are just humans who torture, lie, steal, kill, etc. Lily works as a cleaning lady in Shakespeare, Arkansas, where she settled some years back after being victimized by monsters of her own. It's taken her some time to feel like it's "home" rather than just some place to live, but she's finally getting there. It's a small town which, of course, means that pretty much everyone knows (or is related to) everyone. Unfortunately, in a mystery series this also means that someone that you've come to know in previous books may be getting killed off.

I won't tell you who, of course. Spoilers and all.

What I will say is that I didn't realize just how much I missed Lily and Shakespeare since I left them at Christmastime and after I read the next (and last) book in the series, Shakespeare's Counselor, I may very well go into a period of mourning over the loss.

19 June 2015

#BookBeginnings & #Friday56 : Rhys Bowen's A Royal Pain

It's another Friday with The Friday 56 and Book Beginnings (also found at Freda's Voice & hosted by Rose City Reader)!

Today we're visiting A Royal Pain by Rhys Bowen -- the second in her Royal Spyness series and the fourth in my 20 Books of Summer!
The alarm clock woke me this morning at the ungodly hour of eight. One of my nanny's favorite sayings was "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." My father did both and look what happened to him. He died, penniless, at forty-nine.
Eight o'clock being ungodly early? Oh what I wouldn't give to still be in bed at eight ..... ever .....

Fast forward to the The Friday 56:

11 June 2015

Book 3 of the #20BooksOfSummer - Wrack and Rune

Wrack and Rune is the third of Charlotte MacLeod's Peter Shandy Mysteries. Of course, I suggest you read them in order. I rambled about the first one HERE and the second HERE.

It's been quite lovely spending time with Peter and the gang again. Unlike the first two installments, this one doesn't have its main setting as the college campus where Peter and his wife work but, instead, largely at a neighboring farm. We do get to see some of his colleagues but I missed the greater Balaclava Agricultural College community. Luckily there's some bits and pieces of quality time with my beloved President Thorkjeld Svenson ... who is as amazingly Vikingesque as ever. Perhaps even more so since there's a potentially cursed ancient Nordic runestone wreaking (or wracking) havoc.

(And no, "Cronkite" isn't Walter ... 
it's a local journalist who's also wreaking his 
own special kind of enthusiastic havoc.)

So aside from the setting being a bit different, Wrack and Rune has everything I've grown to love about the Peter Shandy series: wit, nerd humor, puns, a mystery I didn't solve myself, the characters I love (though I still can't decide if I have a bigger crush on Svenson or on Shandy. It's a good thing they're fictional and I'd never actually HAVE to choose between them!). 

I'm already looking forward to the next installment, Something the Cat Dragged In ... even though it won't be until September. Or 17 books from now. Whatever.

(By the way, I'm finding it incredibly hard to ramble about a book that's part way into a series. I feel like a dolt saying over and over again : "Go read the first ____ books and then when you've caught up come back!")

09 June 2015

Teaser Tuesday # 15 - 7 Brides for 7 Bodies

The Meme

The Tease
(I know -- it's more than two sentences. I live on the edge like that.)

The Book
7 Brides for 7 Bodies by Stephanie Bond

Read my full ramble HERE.

08 June 2015

7 stars (out of 5!) for "7 Brides for 7 Bodies"

Book # 2 of my 20 Books of Summer is in the bag.

The body bag, that is!

I have been in love with Stephanie Bond's Body Movers series since before it was a series. The main character, Carlotta Wren, was first introduced as a minor character in her book Party Crashers. I loved that so when I found out that there was going to be this spinoff series I devoured them as quickly as they came out.

And then they stopped coming.

In 2009 after 6 Killer Bodies was released and subsequently devoured, I was left a great big giant void in my life. Apparently the original publishers decided that they didn't want more and I was crushed. These were my friends ... my family. I was left with so many questions about Carlotta and her life and her family and her friends ... and her loves. It was horrible!!!

Then the book gods smiled down and in 2012 blessed me and all of the other Body Movers fans with 6 1/2 Body Parts -- a novella. Nice ... but something was missing. (Like, 200 or so pages.)

And then. THEN. Just a few short months ago the world was reunited for real with the release of 7 Brides for 7 Bodies.

So 7 stars out of 5. For a great story. For intrigue. For laughter. For ending it with even more questions that need to be answered (and hopefully before another 3 years go by!). For reuniting me with the characters that I've loved for longer than I've been a mom and he turns 9 in less than a week!

Do not read these out of order. Start with Party Crashers and then carry on with the "official" series. And then tell me how awesome I am for bringing them into your life.

05 June 2015

#BookBeginnings & The #Friday56

It's another Friday with The Friday 56 and this time adding Book Beginnings (also found at Freda's Voice & hosted by Rose City Reader)! I was tempted to use the book I just started, but opted to go with the one I just finished instead. The more chances I get to have people exposed to this wonderful series the better! (Not that the other series isn't wonderful, too, of course. Maybe some other Friday I'll use it instead of whatever ARC I might be reading at the time since, you know, I hate quoting ARCs.)

So, without further ado, the Book Beginning from John Connolly's The Infernals:

The place generally referred to as Hell but also known variously as Hades, the Kingdom of Fire, Old Nick's Place, and other assorted names designed to indicate that this is not somewhere in which you might want to spend an eternity, let along a short vacation, was in a state of turmoil. Its ruler, its dark king, was unwell, and by "unwell" I mean mad as a parade of March hares.
Having already read the first book in the series I pretty much knew what was going on & it was nice to see the havoc being wreaked!

Fast forward to the The Friday 56:

Okay, I think technically it was the 57% mark. You can flog me later ... after, you know, you catch up on at least the first two books of the trilogy yourself. Then you'll be too grateful to flog me for being off by a percent. 

04 June 2015

In which we yet again say goodbye to Samuel Johnson

Oh, John Connolly. You give my heart great joy and I am SO very glad that I decided to kick off the 20 Books of Summer with The Infernals! I loved The Gates so much that I think part of me was afraid that The Infernals wouldn't be as good. That it would be like Godfather 2. Instead, I got Empire Strikes Back ... a tale just as good, if not better, than the first part of the trilogy (you know, back when Star Wars was just a trilogy).

In fact, all of my worries were set aside as soon as I started to read the chapter titles. I got as far as the third title in the contents and knew that I was in for a good time.

 Now, readers. For those who haven't read The Gates yet (even though I told you back in January to do so ASAP), Connolly does give a little recap so you can play catch-up ... with a glorious scolding in the footnotes.

Yes. The footnotes are back in all of their glory!

And, really. If you haven't read the first just .... just go and do it already. Jiminy. How many times do you have to be told???

So we're back and so are Samuel and trusty canine companion Boswell. Nurd and Wormwood. Mrs Abernathy. A smattering of supporting characters that will make you go "Oh yeah! I remember them!" like a pair of policemen from Samuel's town who witnessed the events of The Gates, and a pair of demons from the same time who developed quite a fondness for quite an awful alcoholic beverage, Spiggit's Old Peculiar.

We also get new characters since this largely takes part in a different setting than the last, including the most hilarious quartet of dwarfs who are also big fans of Spiggit's. Well, they're fans. They're not big at all ... you know ... being dwarfs. Of course, the dwarfs aren't originally from the new primary setting of Hell but from the original setting of Earth. They're sort of innocent bystanders in the whole ordeal (which is probably one of the only times they've ever been innocent of anything).

So, we're in Hell. Mrs. Abernathy and a slew of other unsavory types are trying to find Samuel for one reason or another. It's not so bad. Well, it's pretty horrendous, but it could be worse. Remember, Samuel is a remarkably resilient kid.

First, the most amazing thing happens and regjnfk tbun4nbv4qui ekmjtekl5jgv34 melntfkj                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             q4b   !!!

Oh, come on. You didn't think I was REALLY going to tell you what happened, did you? Are you new here or something? (If you are: HI! Glad you found me! I'm really not as much of a rambling freak as I appear. I'm sometimes even worse. But I never ever EVER post spoilers if I can avoid it.)

Go read the book.

Read The Gates first if you haven't.

While you're at it you should probably pick up The Creeps as well since it's the third part of the trilogy. I'll get to it once my 20 Books of Summer are done. Or I'll scrap one of those pre-planned books and replace it. I'm wishy-washy like that.

Go on.


02 June 2015

Teaser Tuesday #14 - The Infernals

The Meme

The Tease

The Book
The Infernals by John Connolly

(The Infernals is the second part of the Samuel Johnson trilogy. 
You can read my initial thoughts of the first part here.)