Friday, February 15, 2019

Urban Fantasy Fun!

5 Reasons to read Booke of the Hidden by Jeri Westerson: 
  • It's set in Moody Bog, Maine. (How great is that?) And it's full of magic...and it's funny, too!
  • The Booke of the Hidden.  Found bricked up in a wall, "It was at least twelve inches wide by eighteen inches tall. The cover was of ancient leather, worn at the edges. An ornate metal latch sealed the book ... I lifted the cover and opened the Booke. Tawny sheets of parchment crackled under my fingertips. It smelled musty, of old attics and forgotten memories. Eagerly, I turned the first few pages to discover its buried secrets. But no matter what page I turned to in this gigantic, ancient tome, I couldn't find a single word written in it...anywhere."
  • Kylie Strange.  She moved to Maine to open an herb and tea shop. What she found instead was the Booke of the Hidden. And what she loosed when she opened it....well, now it's up to her to hunt the evil down and put it back. At least she has a cool weapon to do it with:  a magical Cthonic Crossbow. (It came with the book...sort of.) Too bad she doesn't know how to use it. Yet.
  • Erasmus Dark.  The tall, dark, handsome demon with an English accent who's tied to the Booke and who's there to help Kylie with her task. At least, that's what he says. But can she trust him? He is a demon, after all.
  • Doc Boone, Nick, Seraphina, and Jolene. Moody Bog's own amateur Wiccan coven. They're game to help Kylie any way they can. Too bad they've never actually done any real magic. (Jolene, who's a computer savvy teenager, especially made me laugh.)
(The one minor flaw for me:  Kylie's excessive attraction to Erasmus, and his to her, and how fast it got physical between them. Especially when she was still supposedly suspicious of him and his motives. I could have done without this bit of romance so early in the series. But at least it didn't overwhelm the plot.)

 My rating:  3.5/5 stars.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Favorite Bookish Couples...

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week's theme?

Favorite bookish couples!

Here are nine of mine:

1. Mina and Jonathan 
(Dracula by Bram Stoker)

2. George and Lucy
(A Room With A View by E.M. Forster)

3. Jean and Joe
(A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute)

4. Laura and Almanzo
(These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder)

5. Raederle and Morgan
(Harpist in the Wind by Patricia A. McKillip)

6. Mercy and Adam
(Mercy Thompson Series by Patricia Briggs)

7. John and Sig
(Charmed by Elliott James)

8. Hero and Devlin
(Sebastian St. Cyr mystery series by C.S. Harris)

9. Kiera and Sebastian
(Lady Darby mystery series by Anna Lee Huber)

I love all of these bookish couples! What about you?
Who do you love?

Happy Reading!

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Future Shock!

Elena Martinez, a "tatted-up Mexican girl" with a penchant for fighting is about to age out of the foster care system. Which is why she's so desperate to find a job. She's smart and has an eidetic memory, but with her checkered past no one wants to hire her. Until the Aether Corporation comes along offering her a big chunk of change to do one job for them. They want her to participate in a research project with four other teens. It'll only take twenty-four hours to complete. But she'll have to venture 10 years into the future to do it. Aether says there's no risk to her and the others, but Elena suspects they're not telling her the truth. Still, what other choice does she have?

Elizabeth Briggs has written one fun page-turner. Elena's a great narrator, flawed yet personable; Adam, Chris, Trent, and Zoe, the other four teens who travel into the future with her, are good secondary characters with their own unique abilities. I liked them all. This YA novel is a very compelling read--from the first page to the last I couldn't put it down. Especially when Elena & Co. step 30 years into the future instead of 10 and things start to go wrong; then they begin to uncover the first of Aether's lies and the guessing game of who's telling the truth and who they can trust begins. As with any time travel novel, a little suspension of belief is required. But all in all, this turned out to be a very fun and entertaining read.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

A classic from my TBR shelf...

I can't remember where I first heard about Angela Thirkell, but it was on someone's blog several years ago. And not just one person's blog. For awhile, it seemed like every other blog I followed was posting a review of one of Thirkell's novels. So, when I saw a copy of Growing Up in a used bookstore, I couldn't resist; I snapped it up, brought it home, promptly put it on a shelf .... and never got around to reading it. Until now.

Title:  Growing Up
Year:  1942
Place:  Barsetshire (Anthony Trollope's fictional English county)

Plot:  Sir Harry and Lady Waring's home is being used as a convalescent hospital for soldiers while they themselves live downstairs in the servant's quarters. A young military couple, Noel and Lydia Merton, come to lodge with them for a few months as does their niece, Leslie. And soon life at the Priory gets a little more complicated...and a little more fun. With wit and humor, Thirkell captures the struggle and uncertainty of the war years and deftly mixes it with the resilience and British good cheer of her main characters. There's even a little romance thrown in for good measure.

My thoughts:  This novel started off a little slow for me, but then I relaxed into the rhythm of Thirkell's writing and really started to enjoy her characters and their day-to-day happenings at Winter Overcotes. Lydia is delightfully charming; I loved the interaction between Sir Harry and his wife; and the uncertain romance between Leslie and Colonel Winter added another layer of fun. There were a few other characters I didn't love, but they only added to the eccentricities of life in a small English town. Growing Up reminded me a lot of a Barbara Pym novel with a hint of Elizabeth Gaskell added in.

Happy Reading!

P.S.  Since it was published in 1943, Growing Up fulfills the 20th Century Classic category in Karen's Back to the Classics Challenge. And since it came from my own TBR shelf, it also counts as a read for Lark's Backlist Reader Challenge. One book; two challenges. Gotta love that!

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Bookish anticipation...

"....anticipation is an important part of're 
cheating yourself if you refuse to enjoy what's coming."
--Nicholas Sparks. 

I have a lot of favorite authors with new books coming out this year ... books that I am eagerly awaiting! Here are just a few:

Coming March 5th ... the new Patricia Briggs! 

Then, on April 2nd, I have two books to look forward to...
one by Anna Lee Huber and one by C.S. Harris:

And on April 30th there's a new Victoria Thompson:

June's looking good because of this new Benedict Jacka coming out on the 6th:

Then, on July 16th there's this new one by Linda Castillo:

Last, but not least, Christina Henry has a new book coming out on August 13th:

Isn't bookish anticipation the best?
What books are you eagerly awaiting?

Happy Reading!

Thursday, January 31, 2019

K-9 Suspense...

"Megan Jennings ignored the water squelching noisily in her soggy hiking boots and focused instead on the black Labrador running ahead. Hawk ran with his nose skimming the ground, his thick tail held stiff and high. The chase was on, and he was in his element. Pausing briefly, he pushed through the broken underbrush, following a path that meandered through the trees, a path that nearly wasn't, unless you knew what to look for. ... They were looking for a killer."

Lone Wolf: An F.B.I. K-9 Novel by Sara Driscoll -- Meg and Hawk are part of the F.B.I.'s elite K-9 unit. They track criminals and are well-trained in search-and-rescue. And when a government building is bombed, they help locate any survivors in the debris. When the bomber strikes again, Meg is determined to help track him down, even if it means enlisting the help of the journalist who was recently contacted by the bomber himself.

So, here's the truth:  I didn't love this one, but I didn't hate it either. It's an okay read in a series that has the potential to be really good. On the plus side, it reads fast. And Hawk and the other dogs are great. But I felt the humans' character development was lacking, and I questioned the role the K-9 handlers played in the F.B.I investigation. So, this ended up being an uneven read for me. But I liked it enough to want to give this series another try. (The second book, Before It's Too Late, sounds especially good.

Happy Reading!

Other K-9 reads:

Monday, January 28, 2019

A little bookish trivia....

Did you know that the game of Clue was inspired by the British murder mysteries from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction? 

It seems that Anthony Pratt, Clue's designer, was an avid reader and drew inspiration for his classic game from the mysteries he loved.

Cool, huh?

So, where did I learn this fascinating bit of bookish trivia?

It's All A Game: The History of Board Games From Monopoly to Settlers of Catan by Tristan Donovan is a fascinating read. Each chapter focuses on a different game from Chess to Scrabble, Twister to Risk, Trivial Pursuit to Pandemic. For example, I never knew that the Risk was inspired by the war games played in Prussia in the 1800s to help Prussian officers strategically prepare for battle, or that stores didn't want to sell Twister when it was first introduced because they weren't sure it was morally proper to play it. "This book is the story of these board games. The games that shaped us, explained us, and molded the world we live in." And I thought it was a lot of fun. It read pretty fast, too. And when I was done, I wanted to pull out our old game of Life and give the wheel a spin.   

Happy Reading.... and game playing!