Teaser Tuesday


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the follow:
  • Grab your current read
  • Opening toli a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • Share Title & Author, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Here's my teaser this week:
"Tangs in a variety of colors shot around the reef, anemones flared and larger fish appeared as well, one giant grouper, a curious barracuda that politely kept its distance and, beneath them, a number of little nurse sharks.  Katie, in her light dive skin, hair flaring out around her, eyes large and beautiful behind her mask, made a perfect subject for quick takes with his camera."
Ghost Shadows by Heather Graham, page 121



Love, Sinn

Book Review — Deadly Night

Title:  Deadly Night
Author:  Heather Graham
Genre:  Horror/Mystery
Pages:  Paperback 389
Published:  2008
Opening Lines:  "It was there . . ."

"Aiden Flynn, a private investigator and the eldest of the Flynn brothers, scoffs at the haunted-house rumors—especially since Kendall Montgomery, a tarot card reader who has been living in the mansion, is the one to tell him the tale of the woman in white.  But when he finds a human bone on the grounds and another by the river, Aiden delves into the dark history of the Flynn Mansion.

"Foced together to uncover the truth, Aiden and Kendall realize that a serial killer whose victims seem to vanish into thin air has long been at work . . . and their own fates are about to be seated forever unless they believe in the unbelievable."
~ Jacket Copy




Thoughts:  I have picked up Heather Graham's books quite a few times.  However, there was some other book that I planned on buying.  When my hubby and I went down to the used bookstore, a few of her books were sitting on the shelf.  After a lot of time reading the backs, I decided to give this series a try.

The book starts out switching between the War of Northern Aggression and present.  In the past, cousins on different sides of the war end up killing each other while trying to protect the same woman.  However, the present follows a young woman who was lured out to the mansion on the pretense of new historical information.  Unfortunately, she was lured by the serial killer.  At this point, the story picks up Aiden and Kendall's storyline.

The Flynn brothers end up in New Orleans when the learn that they have inherited an antebellum from a relative they never knew existed.  Due to this, they end up meeting Kendall, a local tarot reader and their aunt's caretaker.  And, honestly, the book gets way to complicated to explain.

I found the character development of Aiden was central to the plot.  He starts out as a hardcore former-FBO agent.  However, through his work with Kendall, he ends up melting.  Granted, it is made clear that his rough exterior is more than likely due to the death of his wife.  Even with that in mind, I felt the author did a good job portraying this without going over the top and 'poor me.'  Kendall was also an interesting character.  The fact that she had a degree in psychology and was a tarot reader was absolutely hilarious to me!  It was an interesting play.  However, throwing int he curve balls was perfect!

The setting was awesome!  I have wanted to visit New Orleans for years, so I was quick to tear through this book! Living in Wyoming, I'm used to a Halloween blanketed in snow.  The fact that they were able to still enjoy time outside was a very well thought out detail.

I ended up really enjoying this book.  I found myself in the couch spending most of the day reading this.  It was hard to put down.  And, I admit, there were some seriously creepy elements in this story!  Which, for me, is always a plus!   


Rating:
Currently: Still trying to decide . . .
Current Pages:
7349
Current Progress:

20/50 books


Love, Sinn

Follow Friday

Follow My Book Blog Friday is hosted by Rachel at Parajunkee's View and Alison at Alison Can Read. The point is to follow as many book blog as you can and make new friends! As part of the adventure, she gives a weekly question.

Here's the questions for this week  (answer will contain adult language. If you're under 18, STOP reading):

Q: Have you had a character that disappointed you? One that you fell in love with and then “broke up” with later on in either the series or a stand-alone book? Tell us about him or her.

A:

I have to agree with Rachel on this one, Anita Blake is the biggest disappointment I have experienced with characters.  I fell in love with her shortly after the first three books were out.  I read her books as soon as I could get my hands on them, stayed up late into the night (or early morning) finishing every novel, etc.  The love of crazy coffee mugs, penguins, and a Christian girl who was still an animator was awesome!  And, on top of that, she was a kick-ass vampire hunter.  When she was one of the only licensed vampire hunters, I cheered!  Hamilton also had me falling in love with Richard.  *sigh*  Of course, we all know how that ended. Adding insult to injury, she is screwing up Edward!!!  Needless to say, after throwing Harlequin across the room and finally finishing it a two years later, I have finally given up on the dream and accepted reality: Anita is nothing but a vampire and were slut.  

Love, Sinn

Book Review -- Mark of the Demon

Title:  Mark of the Demon
Author:  Diana Rowland
Genre:  Urban fantasy
Pages:  Paperback 370
Published:  2009
Opening Lines:  "I could hear the intruder breaking into my house."

"Why me?  Why now?  That's what Beaulac, Louisiana, detective Kara Gillian was asking herself when an angelic creature named Rhyzkahl unexpectedly appeared during a routine summoning.  Kara was hoping to used her occult skills to catch a serial killer, but never had she conjured anything like this unearthly beautiful and unspeakably powerful being whose very touch sets off exquisite new dimensions of pleasure.  But can she enlist his aid in helping her stop a killer who's already claimed the lives—and souls—of thirteen people?  And should she?  The Symbol Man is a nightmare that the city thought had ended three years ago.  Now he's back for an encore and leaving every indication on the flesh of his victims that he, too, is well versed in demonic lore.  

"Kara may be the only cop on Beaulac's small force able to stop the killer, but it is her first homicide case.  Yet with Rhyzkahl haunting her dreams, and a handsome yet disapproving FBI agent dogging her waking footsteps, she may be in way over her head . . ."
~ Goodreads

Thoughts:  This book has been sitting on my wishlist for a long time.  This past Christmas, I finally got around to buying it. You would think that I would jump on the book and tear into it in a crazed frenzy.  Yeah, you would think . . .

This book follows Kara Gillian on her first time homicide case.  She has only been a homicide detective for a short time when her captain decides to make her the lead on a serial killer case.  Because of her familiarity with the case files of the last Symbol Man murders, he feel that she has more knowledge than his seasoned homicide detectives.  While she jumps at this chance, she has her own motives.  After seeing on of the previous victims while still a beat cop, she discovered that the arcane may be involved in these killings.  Newly finishing her training as a summoner, Kara is more than excited to use this knowledge to help find a killer.  However, it goes deeper than she thought.

The spin that Rowland puts on demons is very interesting.  Instead of toeing the Judeo-Christian mythology, she makes demons similar to the fae.  They are not necessarily evil or good, the are very honor driven, and so on.  Even though a demon can do the bidding of the summoner, they will not do anything that will compromise their honor.  Further, they are also summoned to give knowledge and/or teach the summoner some new thing they have to learn.  That being the case, it was extremely interesting that Kara could summon demons to help her solve the case.

I really liked her aunt's character.  Even though her character was kind of in the background and did not overpower Kara, I felt that she was really fleshed out and added a depth to Kara.  I still cannot decide if I like Agent Kristoff.  I spent half the book convinced that he was behind the killings.  Something about him seemed too sketchy.  And, along those lines, I'm not sure if I liked the twist.  I felt that she didn't lead into that one enough.  However, I'm not sure how she could have done it.

The sex was steamy, but it didn't distract from the overall story.  However, I am still very curious about the demonic lord and why he chose to interact with Kara in that way.  Granted, Rowland kind of explains why he lacked the rage he normally would; however, I really want to know why he took a special interest in Kara.  Did it have to do with his desire to be called?  Not sure.  I'm hoping that the next books will go into a little more detail. 

It was obvious that Rowland has worked in law enforcement.  There seems to be a lot of books that center around a character being in law enforcement that just fail due to lack of knowledge.  However, it was apparent that Rowland knew what she was talking about.  After sitting in a dispatch center for awhile, was able to give me a unique perspective on the book.

All in all, I really enjoyed the book. It never lagged, there was good character development, time spent in fleshing out the scenery, and the plot was well played.

Rating:
Currently: The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi (trying to)
Current Pages:
6860
Current Progress:

19/50 books








Love, Sinn

Theme Song Saturday (20)



Welcome to Theme Song Saturdays, a new weekly meme, hosted by yours truly, in which we share our love of music and books! Since I love books and music, this meme is for fun to try to incorporate those two loves! Whenever I read a book, a certain song -- kind of like a soundtrack or theme song -- plays through my head.

Want to know how to play? Head over to this post to read the rules and get the code.

Here's my pick this week:







Love Bites (So Do I)  by Halestorm really struck me as a song for Mark of the Demon.  Even though our main girl is dealing with a high level demon lord, she has got some spunk!  Being able to stare down some pretty formidable people in the police department, FBI agents, and take on demons and a serial killer, shows that she can kick some serious ass!  Granted, at this point, she doesn't have a serious love interest, but this song really fits when looking at her connection to the demon lord and the Agent Kristoff.  I have got to give this girl props!



What's your pick this week?  Share a link to your theme song in the comments ^_^

Love, Sinn

Book Review -- Coyote Blue


Title:  Coyote Blue
Author:  Christopher Moore
Genre:  Fiction
Pages:  Oversize paperback, 303
Published:  1994
Opening Lines:  "While magic powder was sprinkled on the sidewalk outside, Samuel Hunter moved around his office like a machine firing out phone calls, checking computer printouts, and barking orders to his secretary."

"As a boy growing up in Montana, he was Samson Hunts Alone -- until a deadly misunderstanding with the law forced him to flee the Crow reservation at age fifteen. Today he is Samuel Hunter, a successful Santa Barbara insurance salesman with a Mercedes, a condo, and a hollow, invented life. Then one day, shortly after his thirty-fifth birthday, destiny offers him the dangerous gift of love -- in the exquisite form of Calliope Kincaid -- and a curse in the unheralded appearance of an ancient Indian god by the name of Coyote. Coyote, the trickster, has arrived to transform tranquillity into chaos, to reawaken the mystical storyteller within Sam ... and to seriously screw up his existence in the process."
~ Goodreads

Thoughts:  If Coyote is your spirit guide, cash in your chips because you're screwed!

I have been meaning to read Christopher Moore for years!  However, a few weekends ago when my brother was in town, he brought up this book.  The way he talked bout it, described it, etc., made me curious enough to find it at our local library.  And, boy, I am glad I did!

The book starts out with Samuel Hunter, a well-to-do insurances rep.  While going to a meeting with a very wealthy client, he stumbles upon Calliope Kincaid.  And, after that fateful meeting, his life is forever changed.  Honestly, it is hard to describe the book without giving too much detail away!

Through the course of the book, the reader learns that Samuel Hunter started out as Samson Hunts Alone who was born/raised on the Crow reservation in Montana.  After a run-in with the one of the local asshole res security men, Samson is forced to run away at only 15 years-old.  Even though he doesn't have any prospects, he is brought under the wing of Aaron Aaron, an up-and-coming big shot in insurance.  And, the amazing thing is, Samson—now Samuel—is still only 15!

The book is a mix between the past and the present.  Moore did a good job mixing them.  It helps the reader to see how Sam's past is shaping his future.  You learn that on a vision quest, Sam's spirit guide is Old Man Coyote.  And, even though he doesn't put much stock in it, Coyote has taken it upon himself to help Sam.  That is where the story takes off in weird, crazy, and laugh-out-loud situations.

I loved the way Moore wrote Coyote!  Being a trickster god, I was wondering how he would portray him.  Even though Coyote is extremely smart, he kind of acts like a child.  What I found interesting was how Coyote disrupted Sam's life.  Many of the adventures causes the reader to shake their head and wonder why this is happening; however, at the end of the book, it becomes obvious that Coyote really taught Sam how to live and love life.  He was stuck in a dead-end life, had no real future, and was not an active participant in his life.  Meeting Calliope, who is an extremely strange girl, and dealing with Coyote gave him the ability to finally discover who he was.

Another thing, I loved the myths of Coyote that were interspersed throughout the book.  It was a good way to give the reader a road map. Also, they were funny as hell!  I think I read all of them to my husband!  We ended up holding out sides while laughing.

There isn't too much that can be said about this book without giving everything away.  It was a good read, was a good mix of comedy and drama, the paced was good, and I couldn't put it down!  If you haven't read Moore, I highly recommend this book! 

Rating:
Currently: Mark of the Demon by Diana Rowland
Current Pages:
6490
Current Progress:

18/50 books





Love, Sinn

Follow Friday

Follow My Book Blog Friday is hosted by Rachel at Parajunkee's View and Alison at Alison Can Read. The point is to follow as many book blog as you can and make new friends! As part of the adventure, she gives a weekly question.

Here's the questions for this week:

Q:  What is one book that you would be nervous to see a movie adaption of because you think the movie could never live up to the book?


A:

Well, I would say Battlefield Earth, but it's already been ruined by Travolta.  Hmm, I'm not really sure.  They did an amazing job with Coraline; however, I think I would be afraid of an adaptation of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.

**Note:  Since GFC only works for Blogger blogs, please sign up on my Linky Tools friends! Thanks so much!**

Love, Sinn

Teaser Tuesday


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the follow:
  • Grab your current read
  • Opening toli a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • Share Title & Author, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Here's my teaser this week:
Lonnie Ray Inman was sitting in a worm leather easy chair listening for noises to shift from upstairs.  He had loaded and unloaded his Colt Python .357 Magnum four times, nervously fumbling its deadly weight as he alternately entertained fantasies of vengeance and prison."
Coyote Blue by Christopher Moore, 136

Sinn

Book Review -- Red-Headed Stepchild

Title:  Red-Headed Stepchild
Author:  Jaye Wells
Pages:  Paperback 325
Genre:  Urban fantasy
Published:  2009
Opening Lines:  "Digging graves is hell on a manicure, but I was taught good vampires clean up after every meal.  So I ignored the chipped onyx polish."

"In a world where being of mixed blood is a major liability, Sabina doesn't really fit in.  And being an assassin—the only profession fit for an outcast—doesn't help matters.  But she's never brought her work home.  Until now.

"Her latest mission is uncomfortably complex and threatens the fragile peace between the vampires and mage races.  As Sabina scrambles to figure out which side she's on, she uncovers a tangled political web, and some unexpected new talents.  Any of these things could be worryingly life changing, but together they could be fatal . . ."

~Jacket copy


Thoughts:  Every time I picked up this book, it sounded as though it could be a good read.  However, for some reason or the other, I ended up putting in back on the shelf.  And, let me tell you, I am happy I finally convinced myself to buy it with my Christmas money!

The story follows Sabina Kane, half vampire/half vampire assassin working for one of the largest vampire groups around.  However, even though she is good at her job and her grandmother is 1/3 of the ruling body, she still feels the pinch of being an abomination.  In order to win the approval of her grandmother, she takes on a seemingly impossible case: infiltrate a rival upstart, determine the identity of his mole, and assassinate him.  However, being a half vampire/half demon, it seems impossible.  And here starts the crazy adventure of political intrigue and an unknown quest to find her identity.

First off, I enjoyed that Wells didn't take the typical, clique vampire approach. Granted, that being said, she did know of take the vampire origin (being from Cain) from Masquerade.  Either way, I loved the concept of the vampires being the children of Cain and Lilith.  In addition, making all of the vampires have red hair due to Cain's mark was brilliant!  I also liked the animosity between the vampires and other races.  It was interesting to see how the vampires views themselves as a superior race.  I know that part has been done before, but her approach felt different.

I absolutely loved the banter between Sabina and Giguhl!  Many times, I had to read large sections to my husband!  It was just awesome and hilarious!  Something about a demon being a hairless cat is priceless!  Along with that, all of her supporting characters were well fleshed out without taking the main focus off of Sabina.

One of my hangups with the book was the editing.  Many times I had to stop and reread an entire section multiple times.  Some of them could be a simple case of typos; however, it ended up pulling me completely out of the book.  And, at some level, that is almost unforgivable.  Her editor needed and editor.  Unfortunately, those mistakes keeps the book from a 5 skull rating. 

Aside from the major drawback, the book was well written, very well paced, and fun!  I tore through this book in a matter of days and picked up the second one.  If you're looking for a good urban fantasy, this one might be right up your alley! 

Rating:
Currently: Coyote Blue by Christopher Moore
Current Pages:
6187
Current Progress:

17/50 books


Sinn

Follow Friday

Follow My Book Blog Friday is hosted by Rachel at Parajunkee's View and Alison at Alison Can Read. The point is to follow as many book blog as you can and make new friends! As part of the adventure, she gives a weekly question.

Here's the questions for this week:

Q:  Have you ever bought a book BECAUSE of a bad review?

 

A:  

It really depends on how much I want to read the book.  If the back catches my attention, I have been known to pick up a book despite all of the bad reviews.  However, more often than not, I find that I tend to agree with the bad reviews.  It also helps me determine whether books will have what I call "deal breakers."  So, in short, yes.  Often?  No.

Sinn

Book Review -- Ashfall

Title:  Ashfall
Author:  Mike Mullin
Genre:  Post-apocalyptic
Pages:  Hardback 456
Published:  2011
Opening Lines:  "I was home alone that Friday evening.  Those who survived know exactly which Friday I mean. Everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing, in the same way my parents remembered 9/11, but more so."

"Many visitors to Yellowstone National Park don't realize that the boiling hot springs and the spraying geysers are caused by an underlying supervolcano, so large that the caldera can only be seen by plane or satellite.  And by some scientific measurements, it could be overdue for an eruption.

"For Alex, being alone for the weekend means freedom from his parents and the chance to play computer games and hang out with his friends without hassle from his mother,  Then the supervolcano erupts, plunging his hometown into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence.  Alex beings a harrowing trek, searching for his family and finding help in Darla, his travel partner.  Together they must find the strength and skills to survive and outlast an epic disaster."
~Jacket copy


Thoughts:  The subject is what drew me to his book.  Living about six hours away from Yellowstone, I have often wondered about the volcano.  And, if it goes off, I'll grab my lawn chair and watch the fireworks!

This book starts shortly before the volcano erupts.  The main character, Alex, is remembering the fight he had with his mother; his family leaving for Warren, IL; playing on his computer, and then the aftershock of the volcano.  After his house falls on him and starts to burn, he ends up staying with the neighbors before he sets off on a mission to find his family.  Here starts his adventures of meeting Darla, dealing with the devolving human condition during a disaster, starvation, cannibalism, a FEMA concentration camp, and love.

I felt the beginning was rushed.  After a few comments about the fight with his mother, the book jumps headlong into the action.  While some books can pull this off, it was jarring in this book and made it hard to fully concentrate.  At first, I was upset that the author didn't spend a lot of time introducing the audience to Alex; however, we learn more as the book goes on.  Thinking about it know, I wonder whether the author wanted the audience to learn who Alex is now, after the volcano.

The author did a good job showing how a catastrophe can bring out the worst in people.  And, I have to wonder, did Alex actually end up eating someone?  When he meets Target, I got the distinct impression that the author was describing long pig without actually saying it.  The author also did a good job showing characters thinking through things.  The fact that Alex thought of using cross country skis to traverse the ash was a brilliant idea!

The scenery was well executed.  The descriptions of walking in the ash and the ash covered in snow was beautiful.  Growing up in a snow covered environment, I was able to fully empathize with the characters.  In addition, the author did a good job using the ashen landscape to show how bleak things really were.  The FEMA concentration camp was also well done.  Mulling was able sketch a picture of the toilet trenches, the line for food, the lack of sleeping space, and the austere nature of the camp.   

I loved Darla's character.  Her gift with mechanics was a unique touch. 

This book wasn't exactly as I expected; however, Mullin was able to pull a few punches and surprise me. 

Rating:
Currently: Red-Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells
Current Pages:
5862
Current Progress:

16/50 books



Sinn

Teaser Tuesday


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the follow:
  • Grab your current read
  • Opening toli a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • Share Title & Author, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Here's my teaser this week:
Darryl was getting close—too close.  I took the staff in a two-handed grip, like a six-foot baseball bat, and started whirling it over my head."
Ashfall by Jonathan Maberry, 113

Sinn

Book Review -- Dust & Decay

Title:  Dust & Decay
Author:  Jonathan Maberry
Genre:  YA post-apocalyptic
Pages:  Hardback 519
Published:  2011

"Benny Imura and Nix Riley can't forget the jet they saw fly over the zombie-infested mountains of the Rot and Ruin.  

"The jet meant leaving, something that Nix and Benny were going to do.  Now—after months of rigorous training with Tom, Benny's zombie-hunter brother—Benny, Nix, Lilah the Lost Girl, and Chong are ready to leave their home forever and search for a better future.

"But from the start, everything goes wrong.  They were pursued by the living dead, wild animals, and insane murderers, and are face with the horrors of the rebuilt Gameland, where teenagers are forced to fight for their lives in the zombie pits.  Worst of all . . . could the evil Charlie Pink-eye still be alive?"

~Jacket copy
Thoughts:  Since I finished Rot & Ruin, I have been looking for this book!

This book picks up several months after the destruction of Gameland and the death of Charlie Pink-eye.  After seeing the jet, Nix is determined to find out where it came from.  Since the death of her mother, she feels no connection to their small town.  Even though Benny seemed happy to go, the closer it gets to their deadline, he secretly wonders if he really wants to go on their adventure.

Even though he is not following them, Tom arranges to take Chong with them into the Rot and Ruin for a one or two day camping trip.  Chong has been training with Benny, Nix, and Morgie.  Tom feels that it is important for Chong to know what the Rot and Ruin really held.  However, even though Tom intentionally took paths that were mostly untraveled, their trip went from bad to worse.  And, in the midst of it all, Benny thinks he has seen Charlie Pink-eye!

It is hard to say too much about this book without giving the whole story away.  I will say, however, I love the characters Maberry introduced in the book!  The bounty hunters were not the main characters in the book, but it honestly could not have stood without them.  Further, Maberry did a wonderful job keeping the reader in the dark about the current status of Charlie Pink-eye.

The book had great pacing and didn't lack in the plot department.  The scenery was just as rich and well thought out as the first book.  Honestly, the author did a wonderful job keeping the continuity through both books.  Even though there were some things that really distressed me in the book, I am very curious to see how the series plays out.  


Rating:
Currently: Ashfall by Mike Mullin
Current Pages:
5406
Current Progress:

15/50 books


Sinn

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    "If you’re a freak like me, Wave your flag! If you’re a freak like me, Get off your ass! It’s our time now, To let it all hang out!" I am a recovering English major, closet bibliophile, breve addicted, zombie lover with a rockabilly and heavy metal fetish.