Tour’s Books Blog

February 7, 2013

2013 and the Books Keep Coming

I admit have been over-indulging in football, college bowl games and pro games.  I’m entering withdrawal after last weekend.  Trust me, it ain’t pretty.  Luckily, I’ve also been inundated by books.  So I’ll have something to keep me busy.  SO let’s see what’s in this episode of ‘As the Page Turns’.

New authors are always fun to find.  Three books and two new authors are reviewed below and a couple of returning favorites.  First up …. Sealed With a Curse by Cecy Robson.  First book in the new Weird Girls series, Robson makes a promising debut.   Four sisters living in Lake Tahoe are hauled into Vampire Court accused of killing a vampire.  Now the sisters aren’t ordinary humans and have done their best to stay below the radar of the paranormal community that clusters around the lake, but this is not an ‘invitation’.  It’s more like an order that would be a deathwish to refuse.

But just as they are about to be convicted, Celia Wird insists that her memories be read as well.  Turns out the vamp they killed was infected with bloodlust.  Their accuser, Master vamp Sir Misha Aleksander, ends up apologizing.  And he’s given only a short time to root out the infection or lose his positing – and his undead life.  So who does he go to for help?  The Wird sisters.  They refuse.  He continues to pursue them especially Celia, the eldest and the leader of the four.  As body counts rise, like ir or not, they end up involved.

But like everything in the Wird sister’s life, it’s complicated.  Because all of them end up attracted to shifters – and Celia is very attracted to Aric, their teacher.  But the sisters have secrets, ones they keep very quiet about.  Ones that came from a witch’s curse that somehow backfired.  But it’s those gifts that are needed when take a sharp downward spiral.

The action moves quickly, with wit, and verve and enough gore to make the plot work as it should.  Not as polished as Kevin Hearne’s first book, or some others, but a better quality than I see even with some established writers.  The bad guy was obvious, but then I’m a mystery reader, so the give away line was obvious.  The ending leaves more questions and exactly what’s in the sisters’ background isn’t fully revealed.  I found it a satisfying read for a first in series, resolving enough to make me happy and leaving enough to make me pre-order the next book.

Sealed With a Curse gets a B- (3.9*) from me.  I git it on the Amazon 4-for-3, so I pain $5.99 and felt I got my money’s worth.   Worth a read and comes with a recommend read rating for fans of Jess Haines, Hannah Jayne, and Jenn Bennett.

Illegally Iced by Jessica Beck is the latest in her Donut Shop cozy series and a decent, if predictable read.  Suzanne Hart gets drawn into a murder investigation after she and the town blacksmith and a public argument about the smoke from his forge getting into her donut shop.  They settle things amicably, but when he’s found murdered later that same day, fingers all point to her.  Despite being cleared of any wrongdoing, Suzanne is determined to clear her name.  But things get strange when she discovers James Settle wasn’t at all what he seemed.

James came to Alice Springs, living in a very modest cabin under fairly rustic conditions, but he was a gifted blacksmith and a genuinely nice man, well liked in town.  Thing is, there was no James Settle.  Suzanne suddenly finds herself discovering that James came from great wealth, wealth he wanted to use to create a charitable foundation, but was stopped by his family.  A family that disowned him and he disowned in turn.  But Jessica and her friend Grace start finding a few too many things and suffer a near fatal accident.

The story was decent, though like most cozies, you kind of have to buy into the fantasy of the amateur sleuth outdoing the police.  While a good, quick read, it was not memorable in any way.  I’d give it a B- (3.7*) and suggest it for fans only.  I bought this on Amazon’s 4-for-3 promotion and paid $5.99 – and that was all this was worth.

The Trouble with Fate by Leigh Evans is another first book by a new author in the Mystwalker series.  It was recommended to me when I told a friend how much I enjoyed Sealed with a Curse.  I bought this from Amazon on the 4-for-3 promotion and found it interesting, but thought the Wierd Girls series was better.

Heidi Peacock is a barrista hiding herself and her aunt from the local werewolf pack.  Half Fae and half were, she belongs in neither world, but she has a rare talent, the kind that drove her aunt loopy, the ability to walk in the Myst world.  This world is real enough when there and doesn’t like letting anyone leave, but unlike the Fae world, now closed off forever, or this world, it isn’t ‘real’.  But someone is searching for her aunt and for her and not for any good reason – and it’s weres – not locals, from Chicago.  Somehow they know she’s part were, a scent she can hide thanks to the smell of all the coffee.  But her aunt is fae, and she inherited more than slightly pointy ears from her mother.  She inherited the ability to walk in the Myst – and ability feared by the Fae, yet used by them even knowing that forcing people to walk in that world will drive them mad and eventually kill them.

She finds herself running with her teenage crush, son of the Alpha, Robson Trowbridge – only he isn’t the same man he was.  His father is dead and he was suspected in the death of Heidi’s parents.  Now the local pack is under a regional Alpha – and that Alpha wants an amulet that’s in Myst World.  And Heidi needs to get it.

Unfortunately this strong setup does not play out well and it got rather tedious and predictable.  Even the ending was somewhat annoying.  I give The Trouble with Fate a C (3*).  Again, as a 4-for-3, I only paid $5.99, but I cannot honestly recommend this.  The story is complex, but the pacing and plotting are both off and honestly, I had trouble connecting with the characters.  There are better series out there.

Black Fallen by Elle Jasper is the most recent addition to the Dark Ink Chronicles.  Our band ‘good’ vampires and immortal Picts are now in Scotland and the entire series takes a giant turn away from the Low Country stories in books one to three as Riley Poe joins WUP (Worldwide Unexplained Phenomenon) to hunt the Black Fallen – fallen angels turned super vamps.  The new powers that Riley acquired as a result of her conversion to vampire are unique, but she lacks a lot of the training she needs.

Now understand, this has never been my favorite series, so this jerk over to a different plot line didn’t bother me as much as some, but it also didn’t entirely work for me either.  The metamorphosis of Riley into a kind action hero role is kind a familiar path for current paranormals.  I find ones that start tough a bit easier to buy into.  The Karate Kid thing predictable.  The books is filled with atmosphere, and suffers from an overdose of cute (WUP, I mean really).  Edinburgh is a great choice of setting.  It’s a city that’s made for spooky stories.  The new group of characters and change from tattoo shop owner to hero is a little hard to buy, but then I never have fully connected to Riley Poe even in the earlier books.

How do I rate Black Fallen?  That’s a tough call.  I’d say C+ to B- (3.5*).  Like the other books, this was a 4-for-3 from Amazon, so it was a good read for $5.99.  Recommended for fans of the series.


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