What a rollicking roller coaster! This was the first book I've read of McKenzie's and I'm so glad I did. Middle grade boys in particular will love thiWhat a rollicking roller coaster! This was the first book I've read of McKenzie's and I'm so glad I did. Middle grade boys in particular will love this! Sam, the adventurer, Joey, the outspoken and Roger, the timid soul are best of friends. Hiding out in a cave to avoid Sam's uncle they find a chest with a dragon carving on it. It contains a mysterious scroll, held by a bony hand! The boys are bound and determined to track down its source. What kid can resist the promise of a treasure hunt!? I won't reveal any spoilers, but trust me, this tale is brimming with breakneck twists and turns. Plus it is full of heart without being sappy. Standout characters besides the boys include Li Kwan and Jen. Highly recommended for kids who love adventure, mystery - oh, and dragons!...more
Ghost Dancer is big fun. In fact, The Paramours series is such a great concept that I wish I’d thought of it myself! LOL. It’s a mash-up between CharlGhost Dancer is big fun. In fact, The Paramours series is such a great concept that I wish I’d thought of it myself! LOL. It’s a mash-up between Charlie’s Angels and Ghostbusters, with a heap of sexy steam in the brew.
Nina Azure is a ghost dancer, meaning she dances naked to coax out troubled male spirits. Then, detective style, she figures out their backstory to help send them on to a trouble-free afterlife.
The hard thing for Nina, though is that when she encounters Ben, a super-hot guy with a tortured conscience, her desire to help him move on to the next world takes a sharp detour. Because Nina wants him all for herself in the here and now!
I look forward to more in the series, which I’m assuming will be narrated by others in the Paramour trio—namely Claire and Vivian.
I was totally charmed by this novel, particularly the super adorable relationship between Bean and her boyfriend, Zak. Her manner of veering between bI was totally charmed by this novel, particularly the super adorable relationship between Bean and her boyfriend, Zak. Her manner of veering between brave determination and shy adoration toward Zak felt very realistic. His way of speaking was hilarious and endearing. I loved his constant sketching of everything and everyone and drawing Bean in a flurry of flowers and feathers and wings. He used a Rapidiograph, an art pen that was all the rage in the 70s. Even the hippie clothing was spot on. For teens curious about this now historic era, I vouch for the authenticity of Bean’s world. Oh, and there’s music! Bean has a girl group, and there’s the Grateful Dead at the Fillmore, Fairport Convention and the rest of the carnival bright soundtrack of the time.
There’s time travel, too. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into with this element, or how smoothly Potter would be able to zing Bean back and forth without it being clunky. But she pulled it off. I never felt her pulling the author strings. Rather it felt like an organic part of the story and each scene back in time was a puzzle piece that was nicely completed by novel’s end.
I related to so many things: Bean’s frosty, troubled mom and how the two of them had to make it work since the divorce. The overlarge drafty house that was lonely when Bean’s mom was at work. Bean’s friends: lovely Susanne in a too – fast, too-open relationship with her boyfriend Blair, and Sam, Bean’s flaky but feisty friend who seemed to have it all, attending Deerwood Academy, an upper crusty local boarding school. Bean’s mom, Julia attended Deerwood but Bean’s family couldn’t afford to send her. Understandably, Bean was in turns fascinated and critical of the school when she went there to visit Sam. And finally, there was Bean’s disgust and fear regarding unwanted attention from a guy whose creepy eyes and attention focused on her way too long. Highly recommended for teens who are curious about the infamous 1970s, and for those who love music, time travel and the high-spirited journey of a very endearing couple.
I’m enjoying paranormal novels more and more. Christine Rain’s Of Blood and Sorrow put me through breakneck twists turns that made the ride quite wortI’m enjoying paranormal novels more and more. Christine Rain’s Of Blood and Sorrow put me through breakneck twists turns that made the ride quite worth it. With her creative concepts and gallows humor I can tell she has wicked fun as she writes. Oh, and it’s sexy, too.
Erin, the leading lady and a demoness, gains energy from sucking up the sorrow of others—a totally weird but great concept. Rains explores Erin’s character and motivation in depth. Erin is ashamed of how her on mother fed so completely on one of her “victims” she killed them. This is partly why Erin takes sanctuary in the Putzkammer Mortuary. There, she can “safely” feed on the natural sorrow of the grieving, while sparing random outsiders a fatal feeding fate. Erin hates her spots, which engorge as she feeds. They remind her of her mother’s appetite and of her own, which at any moment could rage out of control. There are so many fascinating analogies with these elements: the consequences of any type of appetite gone amok, the dread of potential inherited tendencies, the effects of shame on one’s life and even love. Constrained by the people around Erin and by the demands of her job, she hopes her dark past will never come to light.
But when Nicolas Reese lands in the mortuary and is decidedly undead, Erin’s failsafe shrouds are ripped away. For one, she is falling for the dashing vampire. And then there’s the fact that vamps and demons don’t trust each other. Nicolas’s creator, Hessa a terrifyingly powerful and evil being, is stalking him. He needs Erin’s help but when the Putzkammers, who took her in and gave her a home, start to die off in scary ways, Erin starts to doubt her own allegiances.
I recommend Of Blood and Sorrow to readers who like inventive paranormal with dark humor and spicy romance. And I look forward to the next in this series....more
Twixt by Diane J Reed is the first in her Enchanted Outlaws series. It's also the first novel rife with faeries I’ve read, which I was not only able tTwixt by Diane J Reed is the first in her Enchanted Outlaws series. It's also the first novel rife with faeries I’ve read, which I was not only able to get through, but read eagerly without stopping. That was due to Reed’s strong characters and the refreshing jump from old Ireland to a modern Idaho setting, specifically a fabled Ophir Creek mountain area, once a site for gold panning.
Rose and her new age-y friend Amy, who babbles about so-called transmigration therapy and psychic repair spruce up Rose’s father’s miners’ outpost. Calling it The Rainbow’s End, they turn it into a warm sanctuary for hardscrabble speculators. Reed sets up vivid relationships fraught with tension: between Rose and her cold, all-business sister Laurel, between Rose and bad-boy Vincent, who has just rolled into town and set up The Magpie Saloon, a tavern across the street from The Rainbow’s End.
Rose is broke and weary. Fiercely protective of Crystal, her little daughter from a disastrous relationship, Rose worries Crystal is irrevocably damaged from a near-drowning. Crystal is mute, and seems trapped in her own distant world, where she spins and rocks. While Rose has set out exercises and learning charts for Crystal, she balks at her sister’s dogged attempt to send Crystal away to a special school. Will Crystal ever get better? If so, how? And what exactly is she suffering from anyway?
The other aspect that really deepens this story is that Reed is dealing with elements of rebirth and reincarnation. On a more philosophical level, that we all embody strong elements of those who came before us—both the upsides and downsides, the talents and so-called curses. She also introduces the possibility of a “twixt” world between this and the world of dreams where one can spin a practical, healing magic. Whatever your views, these are intriguing concepts, which Reed weaves throughout quite deftly.
I won’t post spoilers so I hesitate to say much more, except there’s also great romantic suspense. Vincent, the new owner of the Magpie Saloon is dashing yet sketchy in a way Rose can’t put her finger on. And Chance, another handsome, yet eccentric stranger has a very different pull on her. The question is who should she trust her heart with?
Twixt is highly recommended for those who like unusual mashups of genres (paranormal romance, myth, fairytale, dark fantasy) in their helping of speculative fiction. ...more
From the saga of her uncontrollable giggle fit over her boyfriend's car accident, to a cringeworthy description of her stodgy relatives who have troubFrom the saga of her uncontrollable giggle fit over her boyfriend's car accident, to a cringeworthy description of her stodgy relatives who have trouble wriggling into their girdles, Aron Lee Bowe has wicked fun revisiting her past. She successfully layers her painful childhood, teen and college disasters with a bubbly champagne glaze of hilarity. As Chekhov made clear, the comic-tragic works amazingly well in describing the horrors and joys of life.
Her drawings rock, too! They're the perfect counterpoint to her razor-sharp observations. Highly recommended for those folks who love to laugh, and who appreciate super-fun artwork....more
What an intense read! I have not read many zombie tales, but this one was very cool. A terrified young mom protects her baby at all costs, as hungry zWhat an intense read! I have not read many zombie tales, but this one was very cool. A terrified young mom protects her baby at all costs, as hungry zombies lurk outside her farmhouse. Her father had taught her to shoot and aim well, but is a simple rifle really enough to stop the horde? This short story is quite well-written. Recommended for those who like quick dark reads with unexpected twists!...more
Happily, Hunted Heart by Alison DeLuca is a novel I can truly gush about. It’s a very adult twist on the classic Snow White. Having just written a twiHappily, Hunted Heart by Alison DeLuca is a novel I can truly gush about. It’s a very adult twist on the classic Snow White. Having just written a twist on A Picture of Dorian Gray with my YA horror, Dorianna, I know how tricky it can be. The writer needs to echo the original tale enough to craft a genuine homage, yet in their new version, they should let it free-float organically out of the predecessor’s ghost to form an innovative story uniquely suited to the era and zeitgeist. DeLuca pulled it off!
Tali is a poor yet beautiful and brave huntress who knows the forest in and out, and whose only family is an old man who rescued her from abuse many years prior. She is called to the palace to meet the new Queen Leila, who has taken the much beloved Queen Freja’s place after her unexpected early death. Supposedly, Queen Leila wants to meet this impressive huntress because Tali is rumored to have killed a monstrous Drauger, an undead in animal form.
Fancy digs and stuffy parties make Tali uneasy. When she sneaks away to the library to escape the snooty crowd, she runs into Prince Kas, a handsome man who loves books. This is one of the first cool twists—he’s a prince who’s a real bibliophile.
The rub: Queen Freja has lured Kas into her bed and drugged him, but Kas is not so receptive. In fact, he’s horrified once he snaps out of his drugged state to discover what’s happened. He is much more admiring of Tali, who can tell alluring stories as well as go on dangerous hunts. Meanwhile, Queen Freja has developed an obsessive crush on Kas, and when she realizes Tali and Kas have warmed up up to one another she orders Tali to complete a horrifying task: hunt Kas down, cut out his heart and bring it back to her as a trophy.
I won’t reveal any spoilers. I will only say that this novel kept me turning the pages, and reading way, way into the night. DeLuca is an incredible wordsmith! Her prose is spectacularly beautiful. The action was breathtaking and the surprises just kept on coming. Oh, and the romance was sizzling. Highly recommended to anyone who likes fresh twists on classics, dark fantasy, unusual romances, or just a flipping great novel! ...more
I appreciate a tale that makes me laugh and Loose Corset accomplished that to the max! What could be more entertaining than a bunch of horny geeks whoI appreciate a tale that makes me laugh and Loose Corset accomplished that to the max! What could be more entertaining than a bunch of horny geeks who all knew each other from an online gaming community finally getting to meet one another--in full-out Comicon type costumes!? Ms. Rains turned the stale formulaic romantic trope on its head and succeeded in making awkward, intellectual nerds super-sexy. Love, love, loved it, from the moment Morgan hurries to escape the con floor to loosen her suffocating corset in the ladies room, to the fumbling first kisses in the dark con hallway, to Dean's surprisingly masterful moves.
The rub? Morgan is insecure. Does Dean love her fictional online character more than her real, live one? Should she continue to role-play to keep him hooked? The sex is hot, the chase is fun, and her friendship with her roomie, Emily - even the angst over sharing the hotel room while Morgan is trying to have alone time with Dean is realistic. We've all been there at one time in our fumbling youth.
Even Ms. Rains' chapter heads are fun. They consist of Geek Girl Problems, each numbered the way a brainy girl would, of course, be compelled to do. I so look forward to the next in the series. ...more
I've been getting more into dark fantasy and was quite curious about the particulars of a necromancer's world. In reading Necromancer, I feel as if I'I've been getting more into dark fantasy and was quite curious about the particulars of a necromancer's world. In reading Necromancer, I feel as if I've taken a college course in dark beings and all things undead without feeling schooled. Rather I was purely entertained and on the edge of my seat.
The city of Malkandrah was expertly portrayed and painted in rich, earthy colors. I found myself as compelled by the setting as I was by the characters, though I became very fond of Maldren as I read on. His mother had been a powerful necromancer, who he'd had some misunderstandings with that were never resolved, since she passed on. And Maldren was plagued with an inexperienced apprentice that he never asked for. Nevermind that Ayla was young, beautiful and brave. Maldren had his heart set on an older woman, Phixia, who was out of his league and out of reach. His pain of not being able to get any respect as a necromancer was visceral, since the superstitious townsfolk all too easily blamed death and destruction on the necromancers and their guild.
The town was besieged by terrifying, supernatural fires. The big question? Would Maldren be up to the task of figuring out who or what was causing the fires, and more importantly, why? You'll have to read to find out.
Ing is a masterful writer, who really understands wordlbuilding and character development. Oh, and there's a compelling romance blooming, plus tons of really intense action. I highly recommend Necromancer....more