Sunday, December 5, 2010

Review: Queen of Shadows

Queen of Shadows (A Novel of the Shadow World)Product Description
Meet Miranda Grey-music and magic are in her blood.

Overwhelmed by her uncanny ability to manipulate people's emotions through her music, Miranda Grey comes to the attention of vampire lord David Solomon. Believing he can help bring her magic under control, David discovers that Miranda's powers may affect the vampire world too...


Welcome to the Shadow World, the hidden world of vampires.  A group of vampires calls the Austin area home, as does Miranda Grey, a talented musician.  The vampire Prime, David Solomon, notices Miranda Grey while he stands in line at the grocery store holding a pint of Ben  & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia (evidently top dog vampires have a sweet tooth too). 
Miranda, who also has abilities as an empath and a telepath, hovers on the brink of madness as those abilities threaten to overwhelm her.  She uses those gifts but they take their toll on her, resulting in her shutting herself in her apartment as much as possible when not performing.
Shortly after their initial encounter, Miranda undergoes an extremely traumatic event and would have died if not for intervention from David.   He takes her to Haven, the base of operations for vampires in the South.   The story progresses steadily after Miranda goes to Haven.  The love story was believable and dealt with issues in a sensitive, caring manner, spread out over the course of almost a year.
The  author writes in a clear, concise style, maintains a good pace and excellent character growth throughout and crafts memorable secondary characters.  If she writes more in this series, I will definitely read them. 
Sensuality: a rape scene and a graphic sex scene
Rating: 4 stars

Friday, December 3, 2010

Product Review: Kindle update

Kindle 3G Wireless Reading Device, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 3G Works Globally, 6" Display - with New E Ink (Pearl) TechnologyAn update:  I did end up ordering the kindle 3 and have had it a few weeks now.  I love it.  It’s even lighter than the kindle 2, has more than double the book storage capability (3500 books!), the battery life is greatly increased (up to a month with wi-fi off!) and the e-ink contrast is dramatically increased, which decreases eye strain even more.  I was unsure if it would be a huge improvement and was very pleasantly surprised.

I ordered the 3G version because I wanted white but I do love the versatility of having 3G available wherever I go.  The wi-fi version only comes in the new graphite color.  If you have wi-fi set up at home or are often in areas that have wi-fi, the wi-fi version will probably be fine for you.

The kindle 3 is a fantastic gift idea for any occasion for yourself or a  loved one.

Cole Haan Hand-Stained Pebble Grain Leather Kindle Cover with Hinge (Fits 6" Display, Latest Generation Kindle), BurgundySince the kindle 3 is lighter, it feels more delicate.  I highly recommend a cover for it for your peace of mind, whichever type suits your needs better.  I bought the Cole Haan leather cover in Burgundy which adds a very luxurious feel to the reading experience, making it feel a great deal like reading a leather-bound book.

Review: Grave Witch

Grave Witch: An Alex Craft NovelProduct Description
Not even death can save her now.
As a grave witch, Alex Craft can speak to the dead-she's even on good terms with Death himself. As a consultant for the police, she's seen a lot of dark magic, but nothing has prepared her for her latest case. When she's raising a "shade" involved in a high profile murder, it attacks her, and then someone makes an attempt on her life. Someone really doesn't want her to know what the dead have to say, and she'll have to work with mysterious homicide detective Falin Andrews to figure out why...

What a great start to a new series!  I thoroughly enjoyed my introduction to the world of Alex Craft.  Humans, fae, witches, ghosts, soul reapers and shades (no werewolves or vampires here) make up the cast of characters.  Grave Witch has an interesting world, a strong but not perfect female lead, an intriguing male lead(s),  great descriptions, an interesting mystery/plot, good secondary characters, a little romance, and a great deal of room for story expansion. 

Without giving too much away, Alex is a PI with grave-sight, which means she sees one world super-imposed on top of our own world.  The price she pays for her magic use leaves her extremely vulnerable and requires help from her friends until the effects wear off.  Sometimes the effects last beyond the night, depending on how much magic she uses and how long she uses it.   I’m highly interested in where the author take Alex; sadly, the next installment will not be released until summer 2011 but it’s on my must-read list now!

I highly recommend Grave Witch.  It’s a great winter read when you want to hole up at home cuddled under a blanket with an engaging book at your fingertips and a cup of hot chocolate by your side.

Sensuality: one sex scene, semi graphic

Rating: 5 stars

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Review: Double Cross (The Disillusionists Book 2)

Double Cross (The Disillusionists Trilogy: Book 2)Product Description

Justine Jones lived her life as a fearful hypochondriac until she was lured into the web of a mysterious mastermind named Packard, who gifts her with extraordinary mental powers—dooming her to fight Midcity’s shadowy war on paranormal crime in order to find the peace she so desperately craves.

But now serial killers with unheard-of skills are terrorizing the most powerful beings in Midcity, including mastermind Packard and his oldest friend and worst enemy, Midcity’s new mayor, who has the ability to bend matter itself to his will. 

As the body count grows, Justine faces a crisis of conscience as she tests the limits of her new powers and faces an impossible choice between two flawed but brilliant men—one on a journey of redemption, the other descending into a pit of moral depravity.

It must be said:  I seriously wanted to hurt the author at the end of this book for leaving me hanging like that!   However, I will admit the wisdom of the way it ended (to make you come back for the final installment of the trilogy!).   That said, on with the review!
Double Cross continues the fascinating world of ordinary people “zinging” their neuroses into other people.  Do not even think about reading this book if you haven’t read the first in the trilogy, Mind Games; there’s too much back story and you will be completely lost.
Justine’s main case in Double Cross is disillusioning Ez, a dream invader, who may or may not be guilty of causing people to be sleepwalking cannibals.   She also assists other disillusionists in investigating some highcap murders.  We meet a few new characters and previous characters show nice development.  
This book showed definite improvement over the first Disillusionist book, although the writing was still choppy and vague in places.  At times, I could tell a scene was supposed to be particularly horrifying but it felt glossed over, lacking urgency.  The same thing happened with a few other scenes, not the horrifying part, but a pivotal scene evoked the same emotions as a regular scene.  For example, several times, I was reading along and regular stuff regular stuff regular stuff (no spoilers here!) and then boom!  Major Information and I said to  myself “what?!” (reread, oh wow, that was sudden!)   A time or two and it makes for a super-fun surprising read, but it was distracting here.  I enjoyed Double Cross, indeed, I eagerly anticipate reading the final installment of the trilogy, just had to share that quibble.  
Sensuality:  a few brief sex scenes
Rating: 3.5 stars