Tour’s Books Blog

December 23, 2012

Christmas 2012

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Since the world did not end on 12-21-12, we’ll be seeing in Christmas next Tuesday.  I might have a slight chance of a white Christmas, but it can be a mild one and I’ll be content.  Yes, I have books for my family, I always do.  And the complete set of Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes movies.  Some things are predictable.  (Like the fact I’ll want to see some Charlie Chan movies on Christmas Day.)

Now I’ve been reading a ton of books, so before I leave for colder climes, here are very short reviews:

Trapped by Kevin Hearne picks up 12 years after Tricked ended and Atticus’ student, Granuaile, is about to be bound to the Earth as the first new druid in thousands of years.  But all of the ‘paths’ between the worlds and travel via Earth paths are suddenly closed.  The reason is soon clear – Loki is loose, and Ragnaock  seems to be starting a bit early – and the damn Olympians are involved.  Of course, the only spot Atticus can use for his binding is Mt Olympus, but the Greek Gods (and their Roman counterparts) want Atticus’ head – preferably served on a tray.

Moving between Tír na nÓ, Mt Olympus and eastern Europe, battling vampires, various gods, and nursing injuries, Atticus tries to finish binding Granuaile, for her own safety – and because deep down, he’s been denying their mutual attraction.  Various characters from earlier books put in cameo appearances and a number of Irish gods.  Lief shows up scheming again, and the Morrigan, but this is mostly the Atticus and Grabuaile show with the wonderful Oberon along offering comments that can crack the reader up.

Not his best, but a very entertaining read and a solid B (3.9*) and recommended read for any fan of the series.   It helps to at least read Tricked prior to Trapped, preferably the whole series, to understand Atticus’ complicated relationships with the gods.  Amazon 4-for-3 for $5.99 with discount and worth it.  A quick read.

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I also read the Ann Charles paranormal mystery series set Deadwood – Nearly Departed in Deadwood, Optical Delusions in Deadwood, and Dead Case in Deadwood.  Humorous, increasingly paranormal, Nearly Departed introduces Violet Parker, the single mother of twins who’s father never had any part of their life.  She lives with her artist aunt in Deadwood, SD in an effort to start a new life as a realtor.  Being new to real estate in a down economy has been slow going, but her boss Jane has given her an ultimatum, sell a house within the month or lose her job.  The condescending jerk male agent, Ray, makes her life a misery in his all out, underhanded effort to get his nephew hired for her job.  Mona is the other agent and hates Ray as much as Violet does.  The only characters that gets short shrift are Jane and Violet’s aunt, but the others come alive – love them, hate them, relax and be entertained by them.  From petty office games to trying to sell the house inherited by a handsome man who is attracted to her, and their new office neighbor, Doc Nyce, who hires her to help him find a house that ‘smells right’, to a feisty rancher who agrees to let Violet sell his place, but she has to have one meal a week with him until it’s sold.  His nephew is the humorless police detective that keeps running into Violet.  Pure entertainment.  B+ (4.1*)  This book came via a book swap site.  If you like the Steph Plum series, give this a try.

Optical Delusions includes a freaky ghost/demon.  The Sturgis motorcycle rally, the largest in the US, brings lots of business into Deadwood, SD, including a couple interested in buying a house.  Well, it so happens that Violet agreed to list a house where a murder happened – a house no other agency would touch.  The house is in the neighboring town of Lead and turns out to be a real charmer.  To bad the Carharts and the so-called ‘fiance’ of the deceased that are selling are anything but.  Oh, and it’s hunted.

Compounding Violet’s problems in life is her first listing, Harvey.  She got his listing with the caveat she takes to one meal a weel.  At breakfast, he tells her way too much about his lively love life – and warns her  if  she takes the listing, her career, a fragile bud, will be flushed down the drain.  Thing is, sleazy Ray Underhill, wants nothing more than Violet out and his nephew in.  Her failure will be his opening.  So Violet once again must get a haunted house sold and solve a murder to save her job.  Her boss Jane, of Calamity Jane’s Realty, is going through another messy divorce, so her help comes from fellow realtor Mona.  And Doc Nyce, who tries, unsuccessfully tries to get her to NOT take the listing – and Violet who wants more of Doc.

The ending is not as surprising in the ‘who done it’ way, but the sudden shift to dark magic and raising demons that was disconcerting.  Overall, the book is well done and the fast pace makes up for the flaws, but that right angle turn was a bit more than the crazy serial killer in book one.  Like every ebook, there are editing/proofreading errors that can be distracting, but that’s not a fault of the story.

As a result, Optical Delusions had a different tone that Nearly Dead in Deadwood, and the ending begins the move to horror side, but still enjoyable mystery/humor/horror read.  I give it a B- (3.8*)  Purchased the ebook for $3.99 from Amazon and at that price, it was worth it.  Print book price is about $11-12, so the ebook is a bargain.  Try getting the print used, though the used prices on Amazon are still high when including shipping.

The third book in this series is Dead Case in Deadwood – which I got for free for my Kindle.  Tough to beat free.  Taking place mostly in a neighboring town, Violet is still sneaking around hooking up with Doc because she hasn’t worked up the nerve to tell her BFF Natalie that the object of her fantasies of ‘happily ever after’ made other plans – her.  Nat is still staying with Violet – sleeping in her bed – and she’s a bed hog, driving Violet to the sofa – or Doc’s bed.

A clairvoyant that’s a dead ringer for Honest Abe walks in the agency and asks for her by name.  He wants to buy a haunted hotel, but before he does, he has to be sure there are ghosts, and that means a seance, one Violet MUST attend.  It ends in the appearance of a demon that scares the spit out of Violet.  Even worse, her client maintains that claims Violet is kind of a ghost magnet, a natural channeler for spirits.  This one gets more into the paranormal side than Nearly Departed, and takes on some of the edge of horror.  Doc and Violet have a sort of relationship, but he’s still busy hiding a lot himself and her BFF wants him for herself.  Problem is, Violet wants him …….. and Doc wants Violet.  In the middle of all this, Violet has the contact to sell the house of the very uptight police detective

The is a whole subplot involving the local funeral home and Ray moving caskets – and Nat and Violet getting caught spying on the two brothers who own and operate the business.  Vampires get mentioned and once again, the demon that appeared in Optical Delusions returns in larger part here.

The problem here is Ms Charles has so many story lines going at once, the plot gets a bit garbled at times.  Still, it had good entertainment value despite shifting even more to the dark side with supposed demon cultists and human sacrifice.  The ending has several layers, and a final shocker with Jane, the agency owner.  NOTE:  There is more sex in this book than usual for the genre, so keep that in mind if there are younger readers.

Dead Case in Deadwood was a good read, but was getting a much darker tone from book 1.  It took one some of the black humor I associate with the Sandman Slim books by Richard Kadrey.  It still earns a B- (3.7), and I’ll be interested to see where Ms Charles takes this series, but stick with the ebooks.  Not worth the price of the print books.  Once again, in print, it runs $11-12.  Too high for this series.

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Another new series is by Lexi George, Demon Hunting in Dixie and Demon Hunting in the Deep South is worth reading for fans of Molly Harper’s books.  This series follows more in in the paranormal romance genre. with a healthy does of humor.  Unfortunately, I’ve run out of time, so I’ll review them when I get back from my family Christmas celebration, along with a bunch of mysteries and some smut.  Nothing like a little quality smut by Eve Langlis!

In the meantime, everyone have a great Christmas holiday!  Travel safely and don’t drink and drive.

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