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Archive for the month “January, 2017”

#BookinItTuesdayReview #TuesdayBookBlog – A Cold Tomorrow by Mae Clair

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My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

BLURB

Stopping to help a motorist in trouble, Katie Lynch stumbles upon a mystery as elusive as the Mothman legend that haunts her hometown of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Could the coded message she finds herald an extraterrestrial visitor? According to locals, it wouldn’t be the first time. And what sense should she make of her young son’s sudden spate of bizarre drawings—and his claim of a late-night visitation? Determined to uncover the truth, Katie only breaks the surface when a new threat erupts. Suddenly her long-gone ex-boyfriend is back and it’s as if he’s under someone else’s control. Not only is he half-crazed, he’s intent on murder…. As a sergeant in the sheriff’s office of the famously uncanny Point Pleasant, Officer Ryan Flynn has learned to tolerate reports of puzzling paranormal events.   But single mom Katie Lynch appears to be in very real danger—and somehow Ryan’s own brother, Caden, is caught up in the madness, too. What the skeptical lawman discovers astounds him—and sends him into action. For stopping whatever evil forces are at play may just keep Katie and Caden alive….

~~~

I read and enjoyed A Thousand Yesteryears, and was eagerly awaiting another visit to Point Pleasant. Fascinated by the way Mae Clair made Mothman so much more interesting than he ever seemed to me before, I couldn’t wait to see what new developments were in store. I was not disappointed. While I enjoyed Yesteryears, A Cold Tomorrow ratcheted everything up several notches, and Clair knocks this one right out of the ballpark. The characters were truly engaging, the mystery intensifies, and an element of shivery danger overlays every page.

Not going to go into details here, because I never like to give away too much of any plot, but my favorite character this time around is Officer Ryan Flynn. Try as he might to disbelieve in the Point Pleasant paranormal shenanigans, Flynn can’t ignore a truth that becomes more and more clear to him every day: what seemed solidly real to him for most of his life isn’t, and a creature he’s never really believed in, is.

The tale makes me want to visit Point Pleasant, and take a look around for Mothman, myself. If you love a good, creepy mystery, with everything from Men in Black to flying humanoids, this book is for you. You can read it as a standalone, but I wouldn’t. The first book, A Thousand Yesteryears, gives you a more solid grounding in both the real life tragedy that occurred in Point Pleasant, and the mysterious mythology that haunts the little town.  A Cold Tomorrow takes you to the next level. I recommend both books, and I’m looking forward to the final installment in this shivery trilogy.

A Thousand Yesteryears

A Cold Tomorrow

 

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#TuesdayBookBlog – The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks @BrentWeeks

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My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars for EACH Book!
Pure Enjoyment!

I’m sorry to admit this, but I’m so pressed for time this week, it was either no review at all today, or a very, very short one. I opted for short: Read this trilogy.

For those who might require more depth to their reviews, I’ll add this: If you love well-written fantasy, with strong characters, intricate plotting, friendship that knows no bounds, painful and heartbreaking sacrifice, and really, really weird names: READ THIS TRILOGY!

And to back up my suggestion, here are the blurbs and links for each of  the three Night Angel books. (I’m serious. Read. This. Trilogy.)

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5 of 5 Stars

For Durzo Blint, assassination is an art-and he is the city’s most accomplished artist.

For Azoth, survival is precarious. Something you never take for granted. As a guild rat, he’s grown up in the slums, and learned to judge people quickly – and to take risks. Risks like apprenticing himself to Durzo Blint.

But to be accepted, Azoth must turn his back on his old life and embrace a new identity and name. As Kylar Stern, he must learn to navigate the assassins’ world of dangerous politics and strange magics – and cultivate a flair for death.

Way of Shadows

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5 of 5 Stars

Kylar Stern has rejected the assassin’s life. The Godking’s successful coup has left Kylar’s master, Durzo, and his best friend, Logan, dead. He is starting over: new city, new friends, and new profession.

But when he learns that Logan might actually be alive and in hiding, Kylar is faced with an agonizing choice: will he give up the way of shadows forever and live in peace with his new family, or will he risk everything by taking on the ultimate hit?

Shadow’s Edge

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5 of 5 Stars

Logan Gyre is king of Cenaria, a country under siege, with a threadbare army and little hope. He has one chance – a desperate gamble, but one that could destroy his kingdom.

In the north, the new Godking has a plan. If it comes to fruition, no one will have the power to stop him.

Kylar Stern has no choice. To save his friends-and perhaps his enemies-he must accomplish the impossible: assassinate a goddess.

Beyond the Shadows is the action-packed conclusion to the Night Angel Trilogy.

 

 

 

#TuesdayBookBlog Among Thieves & Sworn in Steel by Douglas Hulick @DougHulick

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My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars for Each

Among Thieves Blurb:

Drothe has been a member of the Kin for years, rubbing elbows with thieves and murderers in the employ of a crime lord, while smuggling relics on the side. But when an ancient book falls into his hands, Drothe finds himself in a possession of a relic capable of bringing down emperors–a relic everyone in the underworld would kill to obtain.

Sworn in Steel Blurb:

It’s been three months since Drothe killed a legend, burned down a portion of the imperial capital, and found himself unexpectedly elevated into the ranks of the criminal elite. As the newest Gray Prince in the underworld, he’s not only gained friends, but also rivals—and some of them aren’t bothered by his newfound title. A prince’s blood, as the saying goes, flows just as red as a beggar’s.

So when another Gray Prince is murdered and all signs point to Drothe as the hand behind the knife, he knows it’s his blood that’s in danger of being spilled. As former allies turn their backs and dark rumors begin to circulate, Drothe is approached by a man who says he can make everything right again. All he wants in exchange is a single favor.

Now Drothe finds himself traveling to the Despotate of Djan, the empire’s long-standing enemy, to search for the friend he betrayed—and the only person who can get him out of this mess. But the grains of sand are running out fast, and even if Drothe can find his friend, he may not be able to persuade him to help in time…

~~~

I’ve never made any secret of how much I love beautiful book covers. I own an overabundance of print books, filling floor-to-ceiling bookshelves in my library, even though these days, I read almost exclusively on my Kindle. (Old eyes, adjustable fonts, ’nuff said.) Bearing my nearly OCD Cover-Love in mind, it might not surprise you that the cover of Among Thieves pulled me right in, but trust me–the story inside did not disappoint. In fact, it was so engaging, I downloaded and read Book 2 of the series immediately upon finishing Book 1. And happily, I loved Sworn in Steel just as much.

As another reviewer pointed out, Drothe is exceptional among fantasy book heroes because he’s not. Exceptional. At least, not particularly so. He’s smart and scrappy, sure, but not impossibly smart or annoyingly scrappy. He has no magical powers, nor any supernatural strength to mention. What he is, is determined. Once he’s made up his mind, he’s damn hard to stop. And he’s loyal to his friend, Degan.

In fact, the friendship between Drothe and Degan is one of the things I loved most about both of these books. The sincerity of their commitment, even when it was put to the most severe of tests, left me rooting for each of them, throughout both their separate, and combined, journeys. It was a reminder that true friendship can withstand terrible hardship and trauma, and put me to mind of the bond between Scott Lynch’s Locke Lamora and his friend, Jean–but that’s a review for another day.

Hulick’s world building worked for me, with just enough political intrigue to make sense, but not so much as to slow down the plot, which, btw, is filled with action, drama, some very bad (and scary) players, and some great swordplay.

I’ve read there is to be a 3rd book in the series, but have found nothing definite as to when. I’m sincerely hoping the rumors are correct. I’d love to join Drothe and Degan on another adventure, and I highly recommend that you folks who enjoy the realm of fantasy check out the world of the Kin. I don’t think you’ll be sorry.

Among Thieves

Sworn in Steel

 

 

 

A Reason to Live (A Marty Singer Mystery) by Matthew Iden

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My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

BLURB:

In the late nineties, a bad cop killed a good woman and DC Homicide detective Marty Singer got to watch as the murderer walked out of the courtroom a free man. Twelve years later, the victim’s daughter comes to Marty begging for help: the killer is stalking her now. There’s just one problem: Marty’s retired…and he’s retired because he’s battling cancer. But with a second shot at the killer—and a first chance at redemption—Marty’s just found A Reason to Live.

~~~

I don’t often read “straight-up” mysteries, but something about this blurb appealed to me, so I gave it a try, and was happily surprised. I found Marty Singer to be a very likable guy, and I was engaged with the plot all the way.

It’s often difficult to make a character suffering from something like colon cancer sympathetic to the reader in just the right amount. Too much, and it’s uncomfortable. Too little, and it’s not realistic. I felt Matthew Iden hit the perfect balance. I believed Marty had cancer, and was floundering as he tried to figure out what to do with whatever was left of his life, but I never felt it overwhelmed the story, or became maudlin or depressing.

The murder mystery was well done and believable, too, if not earth-shattering at the conclusion. And most important of all when you are writing a series, A Reason to Live made me want to read the next book.

If you are a fan of mysteries with a bit more grit to them than most cozy ones, but without the heavy-handed violence and gratuitous sex of so many on the other end of the spectrum, I recommend you give this one a go. You just might find yourself a whole new series.

A Reason to Live

Some Exciting #News – #StJohnsRiverEcoTours – #NotesFromTheRiver Weekly Blog

2017 is off to a great start, and I’m full of ambition. I have a list of books ready to review here on Bookin’ It, and I have great news about St. Johns River Eco Tours, and a brand new blog “Notes From The River.” Check it out! 🙂

The Write Stuff

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As many of you know, my Riverbend series is based on a fictional small Florida town, located not very far from where I live, and peopled with the eccentric characters who dwell in my slightly warped brain. The first book in the series, Swamp Ghosts, was inspired by my real life friends, Captain Jeanne Bell and her photographer husband, Doug Little. Sadly, we lost Jeanne a few months ago (see my posthere), but Doug has decided the very best way to honor her memory is to continue with their extremely popular Eco tours aboard Jeanne’s custom-built boat, the Naiad.

doug-smallDoug Little

Doug is an excellent wildlife photographer, and is filled with interesting and often amazing information on the habitat and history of the St. Johns River. He’s eager to share all of it, and to that end, Doug has completely revamped the St. Johns River Eco Tours website. Let me tell you, it…

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