Friday, May 29, 2009

Once Bitten: A Novel of Haven by Kalayna Price

Once Bitten: A Novel of Haven by Kalayna Price
(Urban Fantasy)

Kita is a runaway. Heir to take her father's place as clan leader, this little pussy cat just didn't feel up to the challenge. Straying to Earth from her home on Firth, Kita has managed quite well to say off the radar. Shifting from her human body in to her natural calico cat shape, Kita has been able to travel about without drawing any unnecessary attention to herself. But she is being hunted. Her clan wants her back.

Then innocent humans start turning up dead, violently tortured and torn apart. Witness reports combined with the damage left behind at each site indicates to the shifters that a rogue is responsible for the attacks. No human could be responsible for the devestation. It's with this knowledge that Kita finds herself cast in the role of prime suspect. Not by the humans, but by the hunters. The attacks began only just after her arrival to Earth which means if Kita isn't responsible first hand then she must have tagged a human thereby inadvertantly creating a rogue shifter. Once captured, Kita will be returned to her home on Firth where she'll suffer the consequences of her abandonment and Earthly disgraces. The trouble is, Kita does not want to return home. Neither does she believe she is responsible for the attacks taking place. The hunters though will stop at nothing to bring her down.

With the aid of her now spoken for shifter ex-boyfriend, Bobby; her new vampire master and sex interest, Nathaniel; and her new found magical scholar-trainee from Sabin, Gil; Kita hopes to not only prove her innocence but also bring down the responsible rogue in the process. The stakes have been risen, and it's no longer a matter of clearing her name to stay on Earth. It's now a matter of life or death, for herself and her friends. With the mage judge breathing down her neck, she has only 3 days to solve the mystery of rogue shifter. They say a cat has nine lives, but this particular endeavor is sure to burn through them all if Kita's not careful.

Once Bitten is a confident and compelling debut novel that should leave no reader disappointed. The beautifully crafted and developed characters are unique and captivating to the point where I didn't want to let them go at the end. [Side note: I'm thoroughly delighted to learn that Price has signed a five book contract, so there will, for sure, be more books coming in the Haven series. Woot! Woot!] And the story as a whole combines all the great elements necessary to make a positively remarkable fantasy come to life before the reader's eyes. There is humor, both dark and light; love; loss; gruesome and original action; and nail biting suspense. The well rounded story comes together in an exceptional way whics leaves the door open for the follow up in the series, yet the author leaves no loose ends untied. A truly magical read!

~Bookish Mom, aka RebekahC

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Run For Your Life by James Patterson

Run For Your Life by James Patterson

With over 160 million copies of his books sold worldwide, you know when you come to an author like James Patterson that you're not going to be disappointed. His characters are honest, realistic, and full of charm. His stories- gripping, hair raising, and full of moments that leave you hanging on to the edge of your seat in preparation for what's going to come next. To put it ever so briefly, Patterson is a master novelist with an edge for creating the utmost engaging and thoroughly addictive written word.

As has been the case with all of his previous works of fiction, the same can be said for his most recent release, co-authored by Michael Ledwidge, Run For Your Life. In this fast paced, heart thumping thriller, Detective Michael Bennett (first introduced in Step on a Crack) fights to untangle the mysterious web of deception surrounding the sudden attack on New York City's elite crowd.

When an unknown assailant, dubbed by himself as The Teacher, goes on a murderous killing spree "educating" the self righteous of Manhattan, Detective Bennett finds himself hand picked by the city Commissioner to flush the guy out and bring an end to the sudden and terrifying attacks. Because of his previous experience with the Catastrophic Response Unit, Bennett is a strong candidate, if ever there was one, to locate and intercept the brutal monster determined to "teach" New York about manners. But to do so, Bennett must not only try to figure out the true identity behind The Teacher's facade, he must also determine what links his crimes to his passion and whether or not there's any rhyme or reason to his madness.

As a single father, since his wife's untimely death just over a year before, Mike struggles to hold his family together with as little drama as possible. Yet when all ten of his kids come down with the flu at the same time as The Teacher decides to start giving lessons around town, Mike decides it truly couldn't be any worse. He's a good cop and marvelous dad, but a man needs a chance to breathe, if only for a second, if he's expected to think. And thinking clearly is exactly what he needs to be able to do if he's going to understand the juxtaposition of the random and gruesome attacks taking place across the city. Surely they're all being carried out by the same man, the one and only Teacher. It's just a matter of getting the pieces of the puzzle to come together to form the big picture that will then clue them, the authorities, in to what his ultimate plan could possibly be.

Big breaks come few and far between, and unfortunately for Bennett each one comes with only more unanswered questions. But when he finally stumbles on to something that could actually put a kink in The Teacher's deranged and twisted plan, Bennett discovers just how far The Teacher is willing to go to impart his final lesson.

With a suspenseful plot that keeps you guessing til the very end, Run For Your Life is an action packed, compulsive read that nags you never to put it down until you've read the last word on the very last page.

If Alex Cross and the ladies from The Women's Murder Club were real, they'd all be highly pleased to welcome in to their circle Patterson's most recent straight shooting hero, Detective Mike Bennett. Worthy of great praise. Patterson, has once again done a fabulous job creating a leading character who readers will want to come back for time and time again.

~Bookish Mom, aka RebekahC

Friday, May 15, 2009

Bad to the Bone by Jeri Smith-Ready

Bad to the Bone by Jeri Smith-Ready
(Urban Fantasy)

Ciara Griffin is back with her vamp friends from WVMP, and this time around the plot really thickens. Readers who are new to Smith-Ready and her incredibly original cast of characters should not be frightened to settle in with this wonderful read, but I would highly recommend first picking up a copy of the series debut, Wicked Game. For while this book could read as a stand alone, there's an awful lot of background story that new readers will miss out on if they skip straight to the second book.

When the station's signal starts being jammed and an anti-vampire, wack job religious group misappropriates their air waves Ciara and the undead crew of WVMP decide there will be Hell to pay. Not necessarily the Hell the the extremist nut job's are blathering on about either. The Hell Shane McAllister and his blood thirsty friends have in mind is something a lot more immediate and physical, though equally nasty and painful. For the vamps of WVMP, "The Lifebloof of Rock 'n' Roll" have a sweet gig going. They live in the station's furnished basement, play the music of their "life times", drink from willing donors, and all the while do so under the noses of the entire general public. Ciara's earlier marketing campaign to save the station took off so well that now the listeners believe the DJs are humans pretending, for ratings, to be vampires. The irony and reality of the matter is, however, that they truly are vampires, and as such they are pretending to be humans pretending to be vampires. Pretty trippy, eh?

If someone wants to take away the station or, worse yet, the lives of her friends, Ciara will do whatever she can to protect the DJs and help them take back control. Even going undercover and infiltrating a vampire victim support group, which later leads to her being kidnapped by the very people she hopes to stop, does not stay Ciara from caring about her vampire friends or her new rescued pet, her vampire dog Dexter. More specifically it doesn't hinder the feelings she has for Shane, her sexy and passionate, albeit reanimated, boyfriend. Nor does it

Bad to the Bone, the second installment in Smith-Ready's unprecedented urban fantasy series, will stir readers to delight with the action, passion, and edge of your seat excitement. In this wonderfully new take on the world of vampires, readers will again, find themselves falling head over heels for these mysterious creatures of the night. Lending not one ounce of heart to doubt, readers will be swept away by the concise and masterful way Jeri Smith-Ready weaves her story together. Each intricate part (ie Ciara's family history, Shane's family history, David's story, etc) blossoms forth into it's own unique tale which when fitted together with the rest adds to the alluring quality of the story as a whole which therein entrances the reader and inspires, if only for a moment, fanciful thoughts such as "What if there really were 'good' vampires?"

A page turner that is eerily mesmerizing and enchanting. This book does not fall short on any level, but instead picks up beautifully after the first book left off and leaves ample opportunity for the author to work her magic, yet again, with books three and four which are due out starting next year [2010].

~Bookish Mom, aka RebekahC

P.S. For an added bonus, how about listening to each song mentioned on the "playlist" at the beginning of the book?

(Compliments of Jeri!)

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Then if you have time, be sure to check out each song that inspires the chapter titles. (You can find the playlist HERE on Jeri's site. For some reason I can't get this second one's code to paste properly.)

Not only is this a fun way to be introduced to some great tunes you might not have heard before, it's also a really cool way to connect, in a sense, to your favorite characters/WVMP DJs.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Shapeshifter: The Demo Tapes Year 1 by Susan Helene Gottfried

Shapeshifter: The Demo Tapes, Year 1 by Susan Helene Gottfried

Fans who have followed Gottfried's blog posts since early 2006 will likely have already read the entries which make up Shapeshifter: The Demo Tapes, Year 1. But whether you fall in to this category or not, this book is one not to miss. Those who already read and delighted in the entries as blog posts will be thrilled to find them now in chronological order. Meanwhile, those who are new to Trevor's and Mitchell's world entirely, like myself, will enjoy finding themselves sucked in for the first time.

The thing about Shapeshifter: The Demo Tapes, Year 1 is that it doesn't really tell a story. Well, rather it tells small tidbits of story, but never anything in it's entrity. Written to be a companion piece to Gottfried's full length Shapeshifter novel, Trevor's Song, this compilation serves as an excellent introductory piece.

Readers are introduced to Trevor, Mitchell, and the band- Shapeshifter. And as we follow them from their first chance meeting, via Mitchell's sister Amy, we become drawn in and are given the chance to really get to know the characters better. For instance, you know Trevor comes from a bad place emotionally and physically. However, until several segments in to the book you don't realize from how bad a situation he came. We see that even though Amy and Mitchell drive each other crazy and thrive on making one another uncomfortable, just like any brother/sister combo does, underneath it all they both just want the best for one another and love each other fully. We watch the boys start out as young, wayward teens, and as the stories progress we see them continue to develope into strong, seasoned adults. The timeline is ragged and raw, yet that's precisely what makes you want to dive in and see what else goes on behind the scenes.

Through this preview into the crass, crazy, and often times hysterical rock and roll world of Shapeshifter we get to see what makes the cast tick, what makes their stories draw together. It's through doing so that we get that urge to satisfy the taste for more. It's true; this is like a classic case of luring and baiting- in a GOOD way! People will read Shapeshifter: The Demo Tapes, Year 1 and be left hungry for the full story that Gottfried has to tell on the pages of Trevor's Song when it releases. Unfortunately a release date is not currently available for Trevor's Song, but those who read this book and find themselves eager to see where the story goes should be sure to spread the word. The more public demand Gottfried feels for her book, the sooner- I can only assume, will we all be blessed by its release. I know she's eager, so join the Trevolution and help her out!

~Bookish Mom, aka RebekahC

P.S. If you think this sounds like something you'd be interested in reading you must be sure to check back, as I'll be hosting an interview/guest blog with the author here in the very near future.