Mwahahaha! How can you not like a book whose first chapter is just one long dick joke? And it's a true urban fantasy that is not a mis-labeled paranor...moreMwahahaha! How can you not like a book whose first chapter is just one long dick joke? And it's a true urban fantasy that is not a mis-labeled paranormal romance--there's no sex here, just a lot of hilarity about penis bones and how to steal them.
Thief and vampire Raylene Pendle is hired to retrieve some "bacula" (go ahead and make the joke--you know you want to and it doesn't stop Priest either) that have magical powers. (Yeah, yeah... every guy thinks their "wand" is magic, but these really are!) With her trusty ex-SEAL drag-queen friend along for his own reasons, Raylene plunges into the world of vampire politics, weird antiques, and freaky magic. It's a super-charged hoot from start to finish!
Sadly, this may be the last of the Cheshire Red books, since they don't seem to have found the big readership numbers the publisher was hoping for. That would suck because Raylene and her crew of off-kilter friends are delightful and always seem to have the most interesting adventures in Urban Fantasy. Love this book, buy this book, go forth and persuade others to do so, also. They'll thank you--it's fantastic and fun!(less)
Jane Austen with magic! *LOVE* Oh I do love this book! As a Jane Austen reader (it would be unfair to say I'm a fan, since I don't go that far in my k...moreJane Austen with magic! *LOVE* Oh I do love this book! As a Jane Austen reader (it would be unfair to say I'm a fan, since I don't go that far in my knowledge of the cannon) I had a grand time with this book. The magic system was interesting, the characters were intriguing (even if one of them was almost insufferable--but necessarily so) and the writing was crisp, well-paced, and engaging. It's not a perfect Austen copy and I think that's quite appropriate since it's written for a modern audience and Austen's style tended to be more leisurely and a touch long-winded at times. Kowal's adaptation of the period style to a faster pace and slightly updated language captures the feel without laboring the reader or the story. It was also lovely to read a book in which the technicalities of the magical system were not only well defined and clear, but important. No blithery info-dumps here--everything has a purpose and is cleanly used.
The biggest problem this book had was its length: too damned short. I wanted more! More, Mary! Write FASTER! I can hardly wait for GLAMOUR IN GLASS (book 2).
This book may not appeal to some male readers because it seems a bit romance-y and yes, there is a romance element, but it's such a well-written book and so clever that I hope a few smart men will ignore the apparent and go for the substance within. Good stuff!(less)
OK, now I shall just become a total fan grrl and drool all over Diana Rowland's latest book. This book is so much evil, slightly gross, funny fun I wa...moreOK, now I shall just become a total fan grrl and drool all over Diana Rowland's latest book. This book is so much evil, slightly gross, funny fun I want to EAT DIANA ROWLAND'S BRAINS and absorb that amazing talent.
It's light, it's sometimes silly, it's gross here and there--but only when appropriate--and it's graphic sex-free with surprisingly little "on camera" violence, even though the topic is zombies and there are a lot of decapitated and otherwise icky bodies that the heroine has to deal with. But she works in the Morgue, so... what do you expect?
Angel Crawford is a Loser--she's really trying not to be but the deck of Life is kind of stacked against her--until her death when she unwittingly becomes a zombie and has to get her act together, grow up, and find the killer who's decapitating people all over her Louisiana parish. 'cuz if she doesn't she's dead meat--literally.
Totally entertaining, utterly fun, and surprisingly sweet in parts, I really loved Angel and her (eventual) friends at the Morgue as she struggled to become a non-loser and find happiness as well as security and possibly even love. She's not your typical Urban Fantasy heroine, but if you like quirky tales of underdog protagonists who rise above their circumstances, and a little mystery with your zombie comedy, you're going to love this book.
Only downside: the mystery wrapped up very fast and a bit out of the blue for my taste. And I kind of wish the sequel were already out so I could read it right now!(less)
Mostly good--the subject is fascinating--but occasionally over-simplified to an annoying degree or explained for a reader who is assumed to have no ba...moreMostly good--the subject is fascinating--but occasionally over-simplified to an annoying degree or explained for a reader who is assumed to have no background at all in the technical aspects of computers while other aspects are not explained adequately. Timelines and dates were often muddy and description and background on some of the players was unpredictable in quality. Found myself not always sure when something happened or what other actions where happening at the same time. Over all it's a very interesting subject that's adequately written for popular-science readers. Readers with a higher degree of computer-savvy may find the level of technical explanation too "end user" grade.(less)
Suzanne Enoch is a very naughty girl--hurray! Slightly silly, but tons of fun, it's exactly the mix of frivolity and romance I was looking for. Enoch...moreSuzanne Enoch is a very naughty girl--hurray! Slightly silly, but tons of fun, it's exactly the mix of frivolity and romance I was looking for. Enoch has a nice touch with the historical feel, though she sometimes stretches historical accuracy for a better and more reader-friendly story, and her characters are likable, even when they try not to be. Her heroes are never despicable ne'er-do-wells (except on the surface), and her heroines are always smart and resourceful.(less)
Had to give up on this one. Just HATED the male character too much. Nothing really wrong with the book that I could see in terms of the writing, but.....moreHad to give up on this one. Just HATED the male character too much. Nothing really wrong with the book that I could see in terms of the writing, but... I just can't get behind a "hero" who comes off as such a manipulative self-centered prick. I had to quit about 1/3 of the way through or throw the book overboard. I chose not to litter.
However, I give the book 2 stars because the writing was sound and there was nothing wrong with the author's technique or ability. If you're a fan, or you enjoy regencies with old-school "difficult" heroes, you may like it. It just wasn't the book for me.(less)
Finally a series that feels like High Fantasy but without the boring bits, in-jokes, bad puns, and a lot smarter than most. Engaging story that goes i...moreFinally a series that feels like High Fantasy but without the boring bits, in-jokes, bad puns, and a lot smarter than most. Engaging story that goes in some unusual directions not with the plot as much as the details and the magic systems--because really Quests aren't new, but what Gilman does with hers is marvelous. And of course we all know there's magic in wine....
I'm really enjoying this series and I'm very glad the next is out so I can read it as soon as I have time. I'd have rated it a little higher if it hadn't been quite as much of a bridge as it was. The book handles it's job as Act Two very well, but because it is what it is, there is a feeling of things unfinished that is dissatisfying. However, that just makes me want to gobble up the next one!(less)
If you like forensic detective shows on TV you may find this remarkable non-fiction book quite interesting and even entertaining. It has the feel of a...moreIf you like forensic detective shows on TV you may find this remarkable non-fiction book quite interesting and even entertaining. It has the feel of a novel and by the end I realized that, in a way, it was as much a biography of Charles Norris--the founder of the modern New York City Medical Examiner's office as we know it--as it is a tale about the rise of forensic pathology and toxicology in the US. It's obvious that Blum deeply admires Norris, which is certainly not surprising--he seems to have been a remarkable man who was not only a fine pathologist, but an untiring crusader to improve the system by which crimes that otherwise went unprosecuted could be detected and proven in court at a time when the United States was in a turmoil of social, technical, and political change. Norris's standards and practices for the Medical Examiner's office became the pattern that was and is followed throughout the United States in crime labs to this day.
The book covers the "Jazz Age"--the period from just before the end of World War I to the chilling precursors of World War II with particular emphasis on the toxicological, technological, cultural, and criminal impact of Prohibition. If you're a forensic buff, you'll be fascinated. If you are a forensic pathologist, you may be bored, since the information is not cutting edge and it often dwells on the personalities involved as much as the cases and developing science, which will be old hat to you. If, however, you are an animal lover who flinches at the mention of animal testing DON'T READ THIS BOOK! I mean it: even the carefully-written descriptions Blum uses with respect to these common practices at the time are chilling and upsetting. I'm pretty cast-iron on gruesome descriptions, but even I had to skim past some of these parts.
Without creating a horror-film atmosphere, Blum is both informative and detailed with her descriptions; she doesn't flinch from the often-disturbing realty of the period or the crimes she is covering and she does not apologize for the acts she describes, but nor does she revel in them. She has an excellent balance of reportage and showmanship to illustrate her story without going too far. I learned a considerable amount about toxicology and the history of forensic pathology in the United States and was entertained to the point that I sometimes could not put the book down, even at the most horrific moments. Blum is an excellent storyteller.
The only reason I don't give the book 5 stars is that it is a bit light in some respects and the gruesome aspects are sometimes overwhelming, so it's not a perfect book. 4.5 would have been much more to the point, but I don't have a half-star option. To be fair: I did finish this book while I was in the hospital for surgery and recovering, so I might be a bit biased.(less)
Very well written and I didn't figure out "whodunnit" until it was revealed. A few other things I caught on to early, but not enough to lower enjoymen...moreVery well written and I didn't figure out "whodunnit" until it was revealed. A few other things I caught on to early, but not enough to lower enjoyment of the book.
I'd have given it more stars--it deserves 3.5 at least--except that I find I'm not as enamored of the "golden age" style as I once was. This is definitely a book that wears its age and some may find it too mannered and distant to really love. But Heyer is a master character writer and very subtle, so if you like a good, old fashioned Agatha Christie or Dorothy L. Sayers sort of English Mystery set in what was then contemporary London (1936 in this case), jump into these!(less)