Steamed to Death (A Gourmet De-Lite Mystery #2)

Meh. The main character, while not unappealing, isn’t really three dimensional enough to be appealing. No hint of spark, or humour – even her ‘temper’ isn’t really much of anything to make one sit up and take notice. She’s terribly earnest and has a hint of wounded bird about her that makes me want to tell her to suck it up and get over it.

 

Comments about her biological clock were about three too many. The ‘romance’ is rather tepid as well, although the men are likeable and appealing enough. If all the characters were 20-30 years older, the whole character dynamic would work better, I think. (ok, maybe not the biological clock bit.)

 

The plot was, well, I don’t know. I pegged the villain very early on in the book so the whole thing felt predictable.  I want to like this series – there are themes and bits that appeal to me, but I just don’t know that I’ll be continuing on with it beyond this book.

Blood Bound (Mercy Thompson, Book 2)

Blood BoundBlood Bound
by Patricia Briggs
Rating: ★★★★
isbn: 9780441014736
Series: Mercy Thompson #2
Publication Date: January 30, 2007
Pages: 292
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Ace

Mercy has friends in low places—and in dark ones. And now she owes one of them a favor. Since she can shapeshift at will, she agrees to act as some extra muscle when her vampire friend Stefan goes to deliver a message to another of his kind. But this new vampire is hardly ordinary—and neither is the demon inside of him.

When the undead and the werewolves sent to find him don’t return, the local vampire queen turns to Mercy for help. A coyote is no match for a demon, but Mercy is determined to get her friends back—including the two werewolves circling around her heart.


A tad darker than the books I usually enjoy, Blood Bound sort of rides that edge of what I enjoy reading and what I’d rather put down and move on from. Though as I start to read more and more books similar to Mercy Thompson, it’s not easy to keep saying that.  But, I really enjoyed it, in spite of it’s slightly darker intensity. Most of that can be contributed to my ‘bonding’ with the characters in the first book, so I found myself really wanting to know what was going to happen to all of them this time around.

I’m one who thinks you can never have too much humor, and there was enough throughout the dialog to keep things from becoming positively moribund.

The plot line is definitely dark stuff and the author gets big kudo’s from me for giving Mercy faith and using it as a strength, without becoming evangelical about it. She strikes a nice balance – Mercy is never, ever, preachy or superior, but she doesn’t hesitate to use that faith as a tool in her arsenal. Well done.

The climax was intense but I didn’t find it overly done and it didn’t drag out either. Following the sometimes labyrinthine vampire politics took some concentration, which at times I didn’t always have (especially when I’m picking the book up after a long day at work), but it added a level of intrigue that kept the plot from being too obvious.

I had my doubts about a were-based series – they aren’t my favorite paranormal species, but I’m really liking Adam and Warren and Bran. I’m looking forward to picking up the third book.

Demonglass (A Hex Hall Novel #2)

A great read. I’ve found that just about every trilogy has a bit of a sophomore slump in the second book, but I enjoyed this one a lot. Fast paced, lots of action and such great characters! And such wonderful snark! Witty dialog can redeem a so-so book, but when you have a great story and witty dialog, it’s a joy to read and I didn’t want to put it down.

 

Luckily, my impulse book buying habits had me buying both this book and the third one at the same time. It’s not a major cliffhanger, but it’s not a small one, and I was thrilled that I could close this book and immediately pick up the third and keep on reading.

Spell Bound (A Hex Hall Novel #3)

Loved this trilogy. The characters were fabulous – witty, interesting and likeable. The dialoge in this book and the others reminded me lot of the first few seasons of Buffy. Great snark. Even the ‘nemesis’ Edodie is a character you like and cheer on.

 

The over arcing plot of the trilogy was interesting, the ultimate villains not being the obvious foes. I won’t say the story arc was obvious – it wasn’t – but it wasn’t shocking to me either. But then, I’m a generation removed from the demographic for these books.

 

I genuinely enjoyed reading these books – I didn’t want to put them down until I was finished and the climax of this one left me feeling a bit misty eyed. I’ll definitely be checking out some of Ms. Hawkins’ other work.

Topped Chef: A Key West Food Critic Mystery #3

Well, this book was the one that decided whether I continued with the series or not. I was left feeling disappointed by the first two – the main character was just scatter-brained and a bit of a mess. Not the heroine I want to rally behind. So I figured, one more book, if it’s as disappointing as the first two, the series goes into the donation bag.

 

I’m happy to say this book is a marked improvement over the first two. Marked. Hayley isn’t a ditz and she’s finding her groove and her backbone. The plot was very well laid out with no clear path to who the killer was until then end. Some might not appreciate the lack of ‘clues’, but it does make for an ending I personally didn’t see coming.

 

I’ll admit to being bone dead tired when I read most of this book, so there might have been a fourth star had I been more alert, BUT, the lack of any kind of romantic tension and the over-usage of internal dialogue/introspection would have taken that fourth star away anyway. So, definite signs of improvement, and I’m actually curious about the fourth book and what it will bring. So, we’ll see.

The Begonia Bribe (A Garden Society Mystery #2)

I just couldn’t get into this book at all. I liked the first book well enough that I looked forward to this one, but it just fell flat. I had a hard time remembering who was who from the first book at first, so it took me a while to sort it all out. Then, well, meh.

 

The characters are all likeable, the plot was serpentine and convoluted and almost too complicated, but it kept you guessing. It was well written. And beyond the pageant stuff – which I have zero interest in on a good day – I like the gardening talk. So I can’t really say why this book fell so short for me.

 

I’ll wait for the next book before deciding whether or not to drop this series – it could be just a sophomore slump.

A Witch’s Handbook of Kisses and Curses

I loved Molly Harper’s Nice Girl’s series – the characters were people I wanted for friends. If I could live in one of the fictional universe’s in my books, Half Moon Hallow would rank in my top 5 list – IF I could work at Specialty books.

 

So having said all that, of course I loved this book. While Jane and Andrea aren’t center stage, they are a major part of the book and plot – as is Dick. Nola isn’t quite as left of center as these loveable members of HMH, but she plays a great straight-man to many of their antics.

 

I’m a sucker for treasure hunts, so the plot of this book appealed to me: searching for four objects necessary for the continuation of her family’s magic. Ms. Harper tried to keep each artefact search a little bit different, nothing too clichéd. I loved the scene at Jane’s parents house – very funny.

 

Overall, a great addition to the Half Moon Hollow Universe. I hope Ms. Harper continue’s to spin her tales in that little town in Kentucky for some time to come.

Hex on the Ex (A Mind for Murder Mystery #3)

Ok, I really enjoyed this book, but I have to say the killer was screamingly obvious towards the end – like it could have ended several chapters sooner, but it seemed like the author had more to say so she kept her characters in a state of temporary stupidity until she was ready.

 

Beyond that, a great story – not quite as much woo woo, although the murder has a very occult spin to it. But it was restricted to the murder itself, so we don’t have to read about Liz’s refusal to have an open mind, which was an irritant to me in the last two books. I like Nick and the rest of the cast; they’re all fun to read. I especially love that Ms. Staab doesn’t feel the need for a nemesis, or a love triangle – thank you.

 

I was a little bit on the fence about this series after the second book, but this one has me eagerly awaiting the next book.

Wicked Bugs: The Louse That Conquered Napoleon’s Army & Other Diabolical Insects

Things that make you go ‘ewww’.

 

Excellent read but not for the easily squeamish. Amy Stewart vividly describes what many of the world’s pests do, making my partner insist that I stop reading sections out loud to him as they were really too disgusting. But if you like nature, or any interest in entomology, this book is a fascinating, entertaining read.

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson, Book 1)

Moon CalledMoon Called
by Patricia Briggs
Rating: ★★★★
isbn: 9780441013814
Series: Mercy Thompson #1
Publication Date: January 31, 2006
Pages: 288
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Ace

Mercy Thompson is a shapeshifter, and while she was raised by werewolves, she can never be one of them, especially after the pack ran her off for having a forbidden love affair. So she’s turned her talent for fixing cars into a business and now runs a one-woman mechanic shop in the Tri-Cities area of Washington State.

But Mercy’s two worlds are colliding. A half-starved teenage boy arrives at her shop looking for work, only to reveal that he’s a newly changed werewolf—on the run and desperately trying to control his animal instincts. Mercy asks her neighbor Adam Hauptman, the Alpha of the local werewolf pack, for assistance.

But Mercy’s act of kindness has unexpected consequences that leave her no choice but to seek help from those she once considered family—the werewolves who abandoned her…


This one started out slow for me, although reliable friends recommended it to me so I wan’t too worried I wouldn’t love it.

The story really kicked in for me once they hit Montana and I was hooked from there. I like Mercy – she’s got enough humour about her to keep the whole thing from feeling too dark. Adam is exactly what Adam should be!  Zee is fun and Stephan is, again, what he should be. So a great cast of characters you can get involved with.

The plot itself was delightfully labyrinthian – not so complex you couldn’t follow it, but complex enough to keep you guessing right up until the very end, when even the bad guys were somewhat sympathetic.

I’m not yet ready to add this series to my top 5 list, but I’ll definitely be reading the next book as soon as possible.