Friday 28 August 2009

Review: Finger Lickin' Fifteen by Janet Evanvich

Finger Lickin' Fifteen by Janet Evanovich

Published: June 2009
Genre: Chick-lit, romance, mystery
Pages: 320

Recipe for disaster:
Celebrity chef Stanley Chipotle comes to Trenton to participate in a barbecue cook-off and loses his head --literally.
Throw in some spice:
Bail bonds office worker Lula is witness to the crime, and the only one she’ll talk to is Trenton cop, Joe Morelli.

Pump up the heat:

Chipotle’s sponsor is offering a million dollar reward to anyone who can provide information leading to the capture of the killers.
Stir the pot:
Lula recruits bounty hunter Stephanie Plum to help her find the killers and collect the moolah.
Add a secret ingredient:
Stephanie Plum’s Grandma Mazur. Enough said.
Bring to a boil:
Stephanie Plum is working overtime tracking felons for the bonds office at night and snooping for security expert Carlos Manoso, A.K.A. Ranger, during the day. Can Stephanie hunt down two killers, a traitor, five skips, keep her grandmother out of the sauce, solve Ranger’s problems and not jump his bones?
Habanero hot. So good you’ll want seconds.

Perhaps it were the reviews I had read that made me look more critical at this one, or perhaps it just wasn't as good as previous novels. It never made me laugh out loud, just smile now and then. And I always laugh when I read the number novels.

I think I may know the reason, the lack of Morelli. I love these because of the dynamics between Stephanie, Morelli and Ranger. They are the perfect triangle, and I enjoy how they all act together. And the whole who will she pick, who will do what. That was not here, so that crucial ingredient was missing and it showed.

Because of that I started looking at other things, like how annoying it is that the only word Ranger seems to know is babe, that she never understand that the skips will climb out the window while she waits patiently for them. She should have learnt by now.

What I wont get tired of is crazy grandma Mazur, I love her. I will not get tired of Stephanie's cars exploding, I would actually be upset if they weren't. And I will not get tired of the oh so funny side-kick Lula, though I could have lived without the farting in this one.

It was a normal Plum novel, she is trying to find those who failed to show up in court, that usually means crazy old men, exploding cars, and her getting all dirty. And there is always the big story too. This time Lula has witnessed a murder and the bad guys are after her. And while they try to stay away they also try to catch the killers to get the reward.

It was ok, alright more than ok, but I expect more from Evanovich by now. I want laughs, not just smiles. And if it hasn't got me giggling and laughing then it can't get more than a ok from me. Though this one is still better than her between the numbers novels and her other novels.

Tuesday 25 August 2009

Review: The Appeal by John Grisham

The Appeal by John Grisham

Year: 2008
Genre: Legal political thriller
Pages: 368

Politics has always been a dirty game.
Now justice is, too.

In a crowded courtroom in Mississippi, a jury returns a shocking verdict against a chemical company accused of dumping toxic waste into a small town’s water supply, causing the worst “cancer cluster” in history. The company appeals to the Mississippi Supreme Court, whose nine justices will one day either approve the verdict or reverse it.

Who are the nine? How will they vote? Can one be replaced before the case is ultimately decided?

The chemical company is owned by a Wall Street predator named Carl Trudeau, and Mr. Trudeau is convinced the Court is not friendly enough. With judicial elections looming, he decides to try to purchase himself a seat on the Court. The cost is a few million dollars, a drop in the bucket for a billionaire like Mr. Trudeau. Through an intricate web of conspiracy and deceit, his political operatives recruit a young, unsuspecting candidate. They finance him, manipulate him, market him, and mold him into a potential Supreme Court justice. Their Supreme Court justice.

First I thought, is this the same Grisham, where are my courtrooms, I thought about that for a while and soon enough I got sucked into this book. Not that much about lawyers but more about justice and the political game, and Grisham knows how to tell a story.

The book starts in a little town, where many now have cancer, or are sick in other ways, if not dead. A case have been built and the big chemical company is trying to prove that they sure didn't have anything to do with the fact that this town is a cancer cluster, and no place in the US even comes near the numbers. The lawyers representing a woman who lost her husband and son, wins, and the company is to pay. Here the real story starts. Carl Trudeau can burn 20 million on a painting but he does not want to pay 41 million to the woman in question. The case is to be taken to the Mississippi supreme court, and what if they could get just the right person there. A conservative, Christian, gun loving, gay hating, trial lawyer disliking, white male.

Soon enough I started to go insane, I was so upset with certain characters and I just wanted to go and yell at them, or play real dirty too. Because politics is a dirty game, and towards the end i could only read a couple of pages before I hate to stop and bite my tongue. It gets really intense, and I only grew more angry.

Justice can be bought easily, and Grisham shows what could happen with the right money. What he is saying is that the juridical system should not have anything to do with justice and he makes the point clear. He also shows how the people can be lead to think a certain way, perhaps they don't think at all that this candidate is the best. But he has the best coverage, most money, and his opponent is getting crushed in lies.

I enjoyed this book a great deal, and I am sure I could have liked it even more if it hadn't been for the end. It sure awakened a lot of emotions in me, mostly anger, but still that is what a good book should manage to do.

There is no action, but it builds up to something intense. Who will win the seat on the Supreme court and what will happen to the people in "cancer county"?

For people who like Grisham this is a book to read, his legal thrillers are always the best. For the rest, if you haven't tried a Grisham then there are many to choose from, and they are very addictive. He has a certain way of writing, something you would think is so boring comes alive with his writing.

Sunday 16 August 2009

Review: Soulless by Gail Carriger (ARC)

Soulless by Gail Carriger
Parasol Protectorate Series 1

Genre: Steampunk historical urban fantasy romance
Release date: September 29th 2009
Pages: 384

Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she is being rudely attacked by a vampire to whom she has not been properly introduced!

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire, and the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate. With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible.

Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

This book is a mix of things and I fell head over heels for it. I had heard a lot about steampunk and after reading this I want more. I love a good alternate history/earth kind of book.

And yes I know I put up a lot of genres there, but there is a lot of different things in here, and how to tell what is what. Also I am first now getting the whole steampunk idea. What not to miss is that it's also comedic. It's so witty, and even if it's not laugh out loud haha, it has that witty streak through out the whole book that I often sat there with a smile on my face. I loved the banter between the main characters.

Alexia is a great heroine, witty, smart and not like her half sisters or other women. She is also soulless, a soulsucker as the vampires call her kind. She has been a spinster from once, her mother does not know about her condition, but because of her Italian look she has been on the shelf for 10 years. But she is quite happy there, and she has the freedom to at least try to do what she wants.

But then there is the nasty incident with a rude vampire who does not introduce himself instead he goes straight for her neck. Vampires have more manners than that since they, werewolves and ghosts now are a part of society. She is of course shocked and does what she has to do. here the book starts, and we get to meet Lord Maccon who she has come across now and then. The alpha wolf from Scotland who came and took control over the London pack. Rather rude, and very much a werewolf. Can she figure out things without running in to him all the time?

Lord Maccon, well yes I fell for him. He is all alpha, and the dance between those two is great, she has really succeeded with creating chemistry between them. They are so annoyed by each other, but at the same time there is something more there. Something a soulless really should not feel for a werewolf, because what would others say? How I wanted them together.

Werewolves. vampires and ghosts are a normal sight in England, and the rest of the world these days. In England they are a part of society, and it's a nice twist to it. The setting feels normal.

This is a great and funny book. There is the romance, the comedy of manners, and the insight in how things could perhaps have been. The main characters are lovely, and very rude. The side characters are nice, especially Lord Akeldama, her vampire, and very eccentric friend.

For lovers of paranormal, historical, urban fantasy, steampunk or romance, this is a book that I can recommend. It's a nice read, and I am so happy I was lucky to win it, and discovering yet another great side genre. With likeable characters, a funny story and that little bit of extra this is a good start to a series. The next book will be released in the spring of 2010, and I hope to hear more of this author in the future.

Thursday 13 August 2009

Review: Dead until Dark - Charlaine Harris

Dead until Dark by Charlaine Harris
Book 1

Genre: Paranormal romance mystery perhaps
Pages: 292
Published: 2001

Sookie Stackhouse is just a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. Until the vampire of her dreams walks into her life-and one of her coworkers checks out....

Maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend isn't such a bright idea.

A fun, fast, funny, and wonderfully intriguing blend of vampire and mystery that's hard to put down, and should not be missed.
(fantastic fiction)

Hm, could not find a real long blurb, and no time to write one. I am really stressed, and my mind wanders. Started school again, and it's hectic, and I am so nervous cos have to plan 3 lessons of my own and have them in front of a bunch of kids who every year has the same nervous inexperienced teachers to look forward to....., and I have no idea what to do. I so envy those that have previous experience, of course they will do better. Well at least there is only 2 more crazy weeks, with no time to read, and then some weeks in the fall, and then a really crazy spring where I fear for my blogging days.

Ok, short review, I mean everyone has surely read these books anyway so why make it long. I really disliked the tv-series, too much sex, and no plot. Oh and everyone was ugly, at least I thought so. I am afraid it ruined the book a bit for me. I kept thinking of what happened in season 1 and how everyone looked. The book was so much better than the tvshow, an actual plot that I could follow instead of the filled out sex. Of course the book had sex, which was great, loved that first scene, they sure didn't do that in Twilight, lol. The book just felt more real, and I liked the storyline, I even found myself liking Eric (as long as I didn't think of Skarsgård).

I will read the next two books I have because I want to know. It's a good series, but could have been better for me if I hadn't watched that show. I know people love it, but it felt like The Tudors and Rome for me, just sex for the sake of having it. Nothing fun about that.

Still a good book, that kept me reading, I did not want to stop even if I kind of knew the plot.

Tuesday 11 August 2009

Review: Pretties by Scott Westerfeld

Pretties by Scott Westefeld
Uglies, book 2

Published: 2005
Genre: Futuristic YA
Pages: 384

Gorgeous. Popular. Perfect. Perfectly wrong.
Tally has finally become pretty. Now her looks are beyond perfect, her clothes are awesome, her boyfriend is totally hot, and she's completely popular. It's everything she's ever wanted.

But beneath all the fun -- the nonstop parties, the high-tech luxury, the total freedom -- is a nagging sense that something's wrong. Something important. Then a message from Tally's ugly past arrives. Reading it, Tally remembers what's wrong with pretty life, and the fun stops cold.

Now she has to choose between fighting to forget what she knows and fighting for her life -- because the authorities don't intend to let anyone with this information survive. (good reads)

The second book is not as good as the first, but that would be a hard thing to do anyway. This is still a great book, and it leaves me with a cliffhanger that leaves me wanting more at once.

Tally has become pretty, she is perfect in every way and she is loving the parties, drinking and all the pretty things. The gang she is in is the coolest and she is drawn to the leader, Zane. But she cannot stay in her bubble forever and she is contacted by an ugly person, some bells ring in her head that they have met before. That is the beginning to trying to figure out what really happened before she became pretty, when she was "kidnapped" by uglies and taken to their camp, Smoke. But all is not what it seems to be. And the constant rush for a moment of clarity is dangerous.

It's great seeing Tally again, and this time she has fallen for Zane, who is troubled and who had started to figure out that when you become pretty, they do something to your personality too. I can see them as a couple even if I miss "ugly" David.

This book is about the struggle she has in pretty town where she is trying to figure things out. Not much happens in a way but it leaves more time to think. First I was horrified at what was being done to people, but now I see it has to be done. By doing this there are no wars, not even fights, people are happy and loving, and yes terribly shallow. They take care of nature and they live in their cities while nature takes care of itself outside. By doing this they are saving the world. The people that escape and go to Smoke, those burn the trees and cut them down. If there were more they would soon be too many and the planet would be harmed. Mankind stood on the brink of extinction and was only saved by this. Yes the way it's being handled is wrong, but there is a good thought behind it. It leaves me wondering, what is right and what is wrong? And what will Tally choose in the end?

He has managed to create an interesting world, and I like the concept behind these books. I really need to know what Tally will do and that cliffhanger, oh yes you should be ready with book 3 because it's a big one.

If you want to have a look at book one, here is a free download

Friday 7 August 2009

Review: The Hungergames by Suzanne Collins

The Hungergames by Suzanne Collins
Book 1

Published: September 2008
Genre: Futuristic YA
Pages: 384
Cover: The Swedish publication

Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games." The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When Kat's sister is chosen by lottery, Kat steps up to go in her place.

Ok this book was messed up, not in a bad way, no, this book was amazing! But in the sense of the horrible world they have to live in. Everything is a struggle and the most horrifying thing of it all is The Hunger Games.

First, that is that Swedish cover, what can I say, I like it more, and it was on the cover of the book I read so here it is.

This is a bad world, but a world that feels real. Why could this not happen? It has happened before and it can sure happen again. It's a tool by a regime who wants to oppress it's people by sending their children to slaughter. No one dares to put anything against them, they have the power and the people out in the districts have nothing, and they are surrounded by wilderness, mutant killer bees, and other dangerous things. They must stay inside their compounds and starve.

Katniss is a 16 year old girl who is the provider for her mother and sister. She can hunt and she dares to venture outside in the constant struggle to survive. Each year there is the danger of being sent to the Hunger Games, and this year she takes her little sisters place, and faces certain death. 24 children will go into the games, and only one can come out. They will hunt each other down and kill each other. The one who wins will never starve again.

It's not a world I will like to even be in for a second, a terrible existent than they endure. And the Hunger Games are the worst things, the parents and friends have to watch their loved ones die on big tv screens. It's the leaderships way of saying, look what we can do to your children, now just sit still and be quiet.

Katniss is a great heroine, strong and willing to sacrifice herself for her younger sister, because at least she has a chance of getting anywhere in the games. I would not have her courage or will to live. There is one other big character, Peeta, the boy from her district since there are always a boy and a girl chosen. I like him, while she is more wild he can be quiet and nice. Another contender is 12 year old Rue, and my heart bleeds again thinking of a little girl in a situation like that, kill or be killed.

This is a great YA book, one of the best I have read. The future is very grim, but it does have something to say too. Like our obsession with reality tv, blood, death and all to get as many people to watch as possible, in this future world everyone gathers to see children be hunted down and die in agony. Of course do not all like it, they hate it, but they are forced to watch once a year.

I do recommend this book to all, I sat there and turned page after page wanting to see how Katt would get out of it, would she? It's not an easy book either, but it does manages to keep the blood under control. Not to much because that would be tasteless.

I want to read the next book at once, sadly I will have to wait a long time to see what happens, since I guess I will wait for the translation

Thursday 6 August 2009

Review: A Taste of Magic by Tracy Madison

A Taste of Magic by Tracy Madison

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 292
Published: February 2009

Gypsy Magic Series #1

Elizabeth Stevens is one bite away from happiness.

Today is Elizabeth Stevens’s birthday, and not only is it the one-year anniversary of her husband leaving her, it’s also the day her bakery is required to make a cake—for her ex’s next wedding. If there’s a bitter taste in her mouth, no one can blame her.

But today, Liz is about to receive a gift. Her Grandma Verda isn’t just wacky; she’s a little witchy. An ancient gypsy magic has been passed through her family bloodline for generations, and it’s Liz’s turn to be empowered. Henceforth, everything she bakes will have a dash of delight and a pinch of wishes-can-come-true. From her hunky policeman neighbor, to her gorgeous personal trainer, to her bum of an ex-husband, everyone Liz knows is going to taste her power. Revenge is sweet…and it’s only the first dish to be served.
(author' site)

The Book Trailer

This was a sweet book, and then I am not only talking about the yummy things that she was baking. Those sure made me crave cake and pie.

Liz got divorced a year ago when her husband of many years left her for a much younger woman. Now she just lives, without really leaving. But as her 35th birthday comes to pass something is about to change. There is gypsy-blood in her and it's magic, by accident she sets the first magic free and more will follow.

I liked Liz, she felt real, and I do like the scene where she first meets her hunky police neighbour. There is some chick-lit in here and that was perfect for my mood. She is a bit insecure, but who can blame her. The gift of magic is perfect for her because so grows stronger and you get to see how sweet she is. Because she does try to make others feel better too, even if the results are not always great.

Hunky neighbour Nate, yes I do like him. He wants the best for her, he is nice, and he is so sweet around his nephew. Giggle, and then there is really hunky personal trainer Kevin. The girl knows how to spice it up when she finally starts walking among the living.

Grandma Vera is love, I love quirky grandmother's, and the books gets funnier with her in it. Many other side characters too, her buddies Jon and Maddie, her idiot ex, and her sister Alice who is the main character in A Stroke of Magic, a book that I really want to read now since there is big things in store for Alice at the end of this book.

This book has the romance, sweet, but with a few sidesteps and mixups, because it's not an easy road to finding love. There is the paranormal, not big really, yes there is magic in her baking but it feels so normal and real. Makes me wish I had a gypsy ancestor who had given me some magic. There are the funny parts that just keeps you reading and wanting more. All in all a sweet ride to the end, you keep turning the page to know what happens to them all, oh and to see what else she is baking.

In the end, a really good and funny book. I guess a feel-good book, that will make you want something yummy to eat.

Sunday 2 August 2009

Confessions of a little black gown by Elizabeth Boyle

Confessions of a Little Black Gown by Elizabeth Boyle

Genre: Historical Romance
Published: March 2009
Pages: 384

Thalia Langley spied him in the shadows and in an instant, knew the man before her was no pious saint. He might claim to be the Duke of Hollindrake’s unassuming country cousin, Milo Ryder, but no man that handsome, so arresting could be anything but... well, he simply must be an unrepentant rogue. His cat-like grace and power leaves Tally shivering in her slippers at the notion of all the wicked, forbidden things he might be capable of doing to her, or the secrets he could uncover.

Indeed, Lord Larken is no bumbling vicar, but a master spy there in His Majesty’s service to find—and murder—a notorious pirate freed in a daring prison escape. Devoted to the Crown, Larken’s not about to let an interfering (and not entirely innocent) Mayfair miss disrupt his ruthless plans. He cannot be tempted not even by the little black gown she dons to tantalize him a dress revealing enough to lead even Larken astray.

(author's site)

I enjoyed this book a lot, I even giggled from time to time. And it was sure hard to keep a straight face while reading if there were others having lunch at the same time. I do love a good historical romance, there is just something sweet, and sometimes oh so wicked about them. Not to mention that I love the time and the manners.

I liked Thalia, she was strong, and she knew what she wanted, a wicked rake, pirate or perhaps a spy. So when the man she spies in the shadows actually is a vicar she is truly disappointed. But still there is something strange about him and she is very curious. How can one man seem to be one thing one moment and something else the next? And after she puts on the little black dress she found, well no one can resist that.

Lord Larken, is all man with a troubled past and a ruined reputation. He comes to the Hollingdrake estate posing as a country vicar, a bumbling fool. But after he has meet Tally he is lost, and he needs to focus on his true quest. To kill the pirate they are believing to be hiding somewhere in the house. Larken is a wicked hero that then is really sweet and torn between what to do. I like them both, cos they fit each other so well.

There is one thing that I didn't like though, the rest was great but I honestly did not care for the sex scene. It felt wrong and weird, it did nothing for me, and I read fast past it since it killed the mood for me. But of course others will love it perhaps.

But except for that this was a great book. Romance, spies and assassins, what was there not to like. I really want to read about Tally's sister Felicity now and see how she met her man because she seemed a bit caught up in her matchmaking and a bit hard at time. Would like to have seen her melt away. Still I liked her a lot too, just as I did their friend Pippin, and yes I want to read her story too, pirates ;) Ok I just want to read all her books in the end, lol. They all sound great.

And it did set the mood for more historical romance, too bad I don't have many, if you don't count all those old harlequin ones I still haven't read.


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