Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: Blood Games by Chloe Neill

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Teaser:
It was the man who's watched me in the crowd, the one Lindsey and I had thought was a fan. But his interest, apparently, wasn't for me.

"If he knows what's good for him," the man said, his voice deep and lush, "he'll stay in Chicago, and out of London."
This week my teaser comes from Blood Games by Chloe Neill. I got this latest book in the Chicagoland Vampire series when I roadtripped to Racine, Wisconsin, for Chloe's signing. Here is the description:
While Merit didn't choose to become a vampire or Sentinel of Cadogan House, she vowed to fight for her House and its Master, and she’s managed to forge strong alliances with powerful supernaturals across Chicago. But even though Merit has had wild adventures, this may be her deadliest yet....

A killer is stalking Chicago, preying on humans and leaving his victims with magical souvenirs. The CPD hasn’t been able to track the assailant, and as the body count rises, the city is running out of options. Vampires and humans aren’t on great terms, but murder makes for strange bedfellows. Can Merit find the killer before she becomes a target?

Monday, September 1, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Sept. 1, 2014)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.  It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

My week of teacher workshops is over and I'm semi, sorta ready to start with students on Tuesday. Things are still a little unfinished. Three computer labs were scheduled for replacement this summer and the computers finally arrived on Thursday. It looks like the tech folks will have them all ready to go but at the expense of some other things. For example, my fifth graders don't have their Google accounts set up which means I have to put off beginning our semester's work for one round of lessons. Luckily, there are other beginning of the year things I can do with them.

Then there are the things I need to do at home. My first floor windows were replaced this summer and now the shades don't fit. I have to see if my new front window shade can be made narrower, send it in to have that done and then install it. My garage door opener died during the summer too. I am in the process of getting a new one of those too. I have been back a week and the bags of books I took home for the summer still need to be reshelved either back on the TBR mountain, on my permanent shelves, or on the shelf for books I'm getting rid of.

With 32 hours of work during the first three workshop days and many hours more after I got home, I haven't had a chance to read very much at all. Even though, theoretically, Thursday and Friday were not work days, I spent four hours at school each day trying to get ready. When I got home all I wanted to do was play computer games and/or veg out in front of the TV.

Read Last Week
Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot was a contemporary YA novel about friendship and the secrets hidden by wealth and privilege. I enjoyed it. My review will be posted on October 11.

Harbor Island by Carla Neggers is the fourth book in the Sharpe & Donovan series. It is both a mystery and a romance. I liked the characters and the relationships in this story which, for me, overpowered the mystery. My review will be posted on Sept. 25 as part of the blog tour. 
The Hot Zone by Jayne Castle was a futuristic romance from an author I really enjoy. It was a quick read and a fun story. My review will be posted on September 24.

Currently
I am currently reading Skin of the Wolf by Sam Cabot. This one is a paranormal thriller. This book is one that I just bought because I saw a glowing review on someone's blog. Thus far, I agree with the review.

Next Week

I am optimistically putting four books on my stack for the coming week. These are all October review books.
Liesmith by Alis Franklin
Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
Stitching Snow by R. C. Lewis 
Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst

Reviews Posted
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?
I have Monday off and plan to spend some time reading. I am as ready for the first day of school as I can be without actually being there. Monday will be one final chance to relax before things get really, really busy.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (Aug. 31, 2014)

Tynga of Team Tynga's Reviews has a meme to spotlight the books we receive each week. Visit her site to check out the linky and see what everyone gets. I guarantee that your TBR pile will grow.
Skin of the Wolf by Sam Cabot is a thriller that I saw on someone's blog leading me to buy a copy at Amazon Marketplace.

The Hot Zone by Jayne Castle is the latest in her Rainshadow futuristic romance series. She is an auto-buy author for me no matter what name she writes under.
The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost is a new series for her. I bought this one for my Kindle.

Murder on Astor Place by Victoria Thompson is also a book I saw on someone's blog which led me to getting a copy through Amazon Marketplace.
I added a couple of review books to my stack too.

Harbor Island by Carla Neggers is the latest in the Sharpe & Donovan series. I am set to be on the blog tour for this book.

Liesmith by Alis Franklin was a science fiction book that I got an email about. It was available at NetGalley. The book is an ebook only release in October.

What did you add to your stack?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Book Review: Eight Million Gods by Wen Spencer

Eight Million Gods
Author: Wen Spencer
Publication: Baen (June 4, 2013)

Description: First entry in a new urban fantasy saga by the creator of the popular Tinker contemporary fantasy/SF series. A young American expat writer in Japan suffering from OCD tries to figure out if she’s crazy or not while solving a murder that may be part of a war among Japanese deities.

A contemporary fantasy of mystery and death as American expats battle Japanese gods and monsters to retrieve an ancient artifact that can destroy the world.

On Saturday afternoon, Nikki Delany thought, "George Wilson, in the kitchen, with a blender." By dinner, she had killed George and posted his gory murder to her blog. The next day, she put on her mourning clothes and went out to meet her best friend for lunch to discuss finding a replacement for her love interest.

Nikki is a horror novelist.  Her choice of career is dictated by an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that forces her to write stories of death and destruction.  She can't control it, doesn't understand it, but can use it to make money anywhere in the world. Currently "anywhere" is in Japan, hiding from her mother who sees Nikki's OCD as proof she's mentally unstable.  Nikki's fragile peace starts to fall apart when the police arrest her for the murder of an American expatriate. Someone killed him with a blender.

Reality starts to unravel around Nikki.  She's attacked by a raccoon in a business suit.  After a series of blackouts, she’s accompanied by a boy that no one else can see, a boy who claims to be a god.  Is she really being pursued by Japanese myths—or is she simply going insane?

What Nikki does know for sure is that the bodies are piling up, her mother has arrived in Japan to lock her up for the rest of her life—and her novels always end with everyone dead.

My Thoughts: Nikki Delany is on the run from her mother. She is currently in Japan. Nikki has OCD and a condition that forces her to write. Her mother has had her committed to mental institutions, medicated and under the care of a huge number of psychiatrists who all try to convince her that she is insane. Nikki's mother is a rich, powerful senator. The only way to keep from being institutionalized again is to run.

Nikki uses her compulsion to write in order to write horror novels. When she is telling her friend Miriam about a scene that she has recently written and shared to her blog, she is overheard by a police officer. The Japanese police arrest her because someone seems to be recreating Nikki's fictional murders in the real world.

It is at this point that the story takes a turn to the paranormal. Her writing leads her to a katana that holds a kami, a Japanese nature spirit, who takes control of her body and moves her around. She is attacked by a tanuki impersonating one of the police officers who interviewed her. She writes about and then meets a shapeshifter that she first calls Scary Cat Dude.

The Scary Cat Dude, actually named Leo, is searching for his adoptive father and finds Nikki because she wrote about him and hopes she can write more and find out where he is. Nikki learns that she writes the truth which is horrifying to her because everyone she writes about dies in gruesome ways. Now she has written herself and her friends into the story and has to find a way to change the ending.

I really enjoyed the writing and the details about Japanese mythology. I loved Nikki who wasn't at all sure, at first, that she wasn't going insane. I loved her courage and her determination to have a life free from her mother's control.

Fans of urban fantasy, anime and Japanese culture are the ideal audience for this one.

Favorite Quote:
Nikki's stomach was full of cold snakes. Getting into a car with a practical stranger was a huge personal "no no" for her. Only someone who was stupid as well as crazy would do it. Horrible things were done to them and their bodies were hidden away where they would never be found. She know almost nothing about Leo except that he knew what it was like to snap a person's neck with his bare hands. It wasn't a particularly reassuring factoid. 
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Memes: Eight Million Gods by Wen Spencer

Happy Friday everybody!
Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Rose City Reader. The Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

This week I am spotlighting Eight Million Gods by Wen Spencer. this is the first book in a new urban fantasy series by an author I enjoy. It has been sitting on my TBR mountain since June 8, 2013. Here is the description:
First entry in a new urban fantasy saga by the creator of the popular Tinker contemporary fantasy/SF series. A young American expat writer in Japan suffering from OCD tries to figure out if she’s crazy or not while solving a murder that may be part of a war among Japanese deities.

A contemporary fantasy of mystery and death as American expats battle Japanese gods and monsters to retrieve an ancient artifact that can destroy the world.

On Saturday afternoon, Nikki Delany thought, "George Wilson, in the kitchen, with a blender." By dinner, she had killed George and posted his gory murder to her blog. The next day, she put on her mourning clothes and went out to meet her best friend for lunch to discuss finding a replacement for her love interest.

Nikki is a horror novelist.  Her choice of career is dictated by an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that forces her to write stories of death and destruction.  She can't control it, doesn't understand it, but can use it to make money anywhere in the world. Currently "anywhere" is in Japan, hiding from her mother who sees Nikki's OCD as proof she's mentally unstable.  Nikki's fragile peace starts to fall apart when the police arrest her for the murder of an American expatriate. Someone killed him with a blender.

Reality starts to unravel around Nikki.  She's attacked by a raccoon in a business suit.  After a series of blackouts, she’s accompanied by a boy that no one else can see, a boy who claims to be a god.  Is she really being pursued by Japanese myths—or is she simply going insane?

What Nikki does know for sure is that the bodies are piling up, her mother has arrived in Japan to lock her up for the rest of her life—and her novels always end with everyone dead.
Beginning:
"Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is escape your powerful, control-freak mother," Nikki whispered to the mirror hung on the back of the apartment's door.
Friday 56:
Nikki lifted out the bag, undid the ties, and shifted the fabric aside to look closer at the sword inside. Gold swallowtail wings gleamed on a violet field.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Book Review: Books Can Be Deceiving by Jenn McKinlay

Books Can Be Deceiving
Author: Jenn McKinlay
Series: A Library Lover's Mystery (Book 1)
Publication: Berkley; 2nd Print edition (July 5, 2011)

Description: Lindsey is getting into her groove as the director of the Briar Creek Public Library when a New York editor visits town, creating quite a buzz. Lindsey's friend Beth wants to sell the editor her children's book, but Beth's boyfriend, a famous author, gets in the way. When they go to confront him, he's found murdered-and Beth is the prime suspect. Lindsey has to act fast before they throw the book at the wrong person.

My Thoughts: BOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING was an entertaining cozy mystery. Lindsay is new at the Briar Creek Public Library. She came there after losing her job in an academic library and shedding her cheating fiance.

Her best friend Beth is the children's librarian. Beth is also an aspiring author who is dating a famous children's author. When Beth shows her portfolio to a visiting editor, she is surprised to be called a plagiarist because her boyfriend Rick is set to publish an extremely similar book. When Beth visits the now ex-boyfriend with Lindsay and a local ship's captain, she finds that he has been brutally murdered. The local police chief is convinced that Beth is the murder.Since Lindsay refuses to believe that Beth murdered her plagiarizing ex, she begins her own investigation and discovers interesting and disturbing things about Rick.

I liked Lindsay's new group of friends at the library. The book had some laugh out loud moments when describing Lindsay's attempts to learn the various crafts that were done as a part of the crafting book club. I liked the references to other books and authors. I liked that Lindsay knew the favorite authors of many of her patrons. I liked that Lindsay was beginning to feel at home in Briar Creek.

Fans of cozies and libraries will enjoy this entertaining story. Interesting additions to the book include a discussion guide to one of books the book group discusses, a knitting pattern for the hat Lindsay makes, and a recipe for hot chocolate which was served to Lindsay by the boat captain Sully after a harrowing experience.

Favorite Quote:
"Nothing," Violet said. "But...um...what are you knitting it for?"

"My dad."

"Oh, so he is real," Nancy said. there was a twinkle in her blue eyes that should have warned Lindsey, but she missed it.

"Of course my father's real," she said.

"Wow, so how does it feel to be a descendant of Bigfoot?" Beth asked. She muffled her laughter with her knitting.

"What?" Lindsey asked and then looked at the sock on her two circular needles and frowned. "Oh, you. It's not that big."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Book Review: Hammered by Kevin Hearne

Hammered
Author: Kevin Hearne
Series: The Iron Druid Chronicles (Book 3)
Publication: Del Rey (July 5, 2011)

Description: Thor, the Norse god of thunder, is worse than a blowhard and a bully—he’s ruined countless lives and killed scores of innocents. After centuries, Viking vampire Leif Helgarson is ready to get his vengeance, and he’s asked his friend Atticus O’Sullivan, the last of the Druids, to help take down this Norse nightmare.

One survival strategy has worked for Atticus for more than two thousand years: stay away from the guy with the lightning bolts. But things are heating up in Atticus’s home base of Tempe, Arizona. There’s a vampire turf war brewing, and Russian demon hunters who call themselves the Hammers of God are running rampant. Despite multiple warnings and portents of dire consequences, Atticus and Leif journey to the Norse plain of Asgard, where they team up with a werewolf, a sorcerer, and an army of frost giants for an epic showdown against vicious Valkyries, angry gods, and the hammer-wielding Thunder Thug himself.

My Thoughts: HAMMERED was another excellent addition to the Iron Druid Chronicles. In this episode, Atticus needs to keep his promise to Leif and get him to Asgard where he can finally take his revenge on Thor. Now, Atticus has gotten all sorts of good advice from both Jesus and the Morrigan who tell him that this is a major bad  idea. But Atticus has given his word.

Along with Leif and the werewolf alpha Gunnar are three other supernatural beings who also have a need for revenge against Thor. They include an Asian named Zhang Guo Lao, a Finnish semi-forgotten god named Vainamoinen, and a Russian thunder god named Perun. In a somewhat Canterbury Tales mode, we hear each of their stories about their reasons for wanting Thor dead.

I am always amazed and informed about various world mythologies when I read this series. The juxtaposition of characters out of legend with current culture makes these stories amazing. This is probably the first time I have ever gotten an ear worm from reading though. Atticus walks in on two frost giants making love and quickly needs something to erase the image from his mind. He chooses to focus on It's a Small World After All which he says is one of the most annoying songs ever. I agree!

This is also a story that begins lots of changes for Atticus. He will have to run and hide to avoid the ire of the rest of the gods. He spends time saying goodbye to his life in Tempe. He is leaving with not much more than his apprentice and his dog. His leave-taking brings up one of the downsides of a really, really long life. People you love don't live forever and every loss brings pain.

This is an excellent series for fans of urban fantasy. It just keeps getting better and better. I can't wait to read more.

Favorite Quote:
It used to be so easy for me to run, to care about nothing but myself and the earth underneath my feet. That had been my modus operandi ever since Tahirah died; I never stayed anywhere long enough to be bound by commitments, never entangled myself with the lives of others, and told myself it was all about avoiding Aenghus Og. That was more true than I realized: What I'd truly been avoiding was love, the strongest binding there is, and the pain that scrapes at your insides when the bond is forcefully broken.

It has been more than five centuries. I still miss her. She smiles in my dreams sometimes and I wake up weeping for the loss.
I bought this one on July 7, 2011. You can buy your copy here.