Book Review: Night Shift by Charlaine Harris

Book Review: Night Shift by Charlaine HarrisNight Shift by Charlaine Harris
Series: Midnight, Texas #3
Published by Ace on May 3, 2016
Genres: Mystery, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 308
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Goodreads
3 Stars
At Midnight’s local pawnshop, weapons are flying off the shelves—only to be used in sudden and dramatic suicides right at the main crossroads in town.

Who better to figure out why blood is being spilled than the vampire Lemuel, who, while translating mysterious texts, discovers what makes Midnight the town it is. There’s a reason why witches and werewolves, killers and psychics, have been drawn to this place.

And now they must come together to stop the bloodshed in the heart of Midnight. For if all hell breaks loose—which just might happen—it will put the secretive town on the map, where no one wants it to be...

Book Review:

NIGHT SHIFT is the final book in Charlaine Harris’ trilogy about Midnight, Texas. While the book ties up most of the loose ends left hanging by the other two books, I do find myself wishing the series wasn’t over. It took some time for the series to hit its stride, and now it’s finished. I’ll miss my time in Midnight.

In MIDNIGHT CROSSROAD and DAY SHIFT, individual characters faced danger. In NIGHT SHIFT, the entire town of Midnight is threatened. People are being drawn to the crossroad to commit suicide, and while the press interest isn’t welcomed by the town, it’s the hidden danger that’s the big worry. What’s causing the deaths? And who is talking to Fiji?

Lemuel plays a bigger role in this book than in previous ones, which I liked. Part of the fun of this series is all the different characters that live in Midnight. Seeing how they co-exist and have formed friendships. Plus I just like vampires, what can I say? There’s also angels, shapeshifters, a witch, and a psychic. I’ve said before that Midnight’s a town I’d want to live in — everyone minds their own business, but they also come together when necessary, and there’s just enough danger without it being too overwhelming.

Fiji really came into her own in NIGHT SHIFT. I wasn’t a fan of the whole Fiji/Bobo misunderstanding romance, but otherwise, A+ for Fiji. There’s this great scene where she gets revenge on someone who violated her privacy, and then another when she tells her sister off. It was great to see that she wasn’t a pushover and could stand up for herself, as well as take a few for the team.

I do think too much of the action/revelations in NIGHT SHIFT took place off the page, or if they were shown, there wasn’t a lot of processing. Manfred learns about an important ancestor, but I can’t recall reading about his feelings after the reveal.

Some of the events also seemed out of place, based on the characters’ actions in the previous books. Take Olivia for example. She’s nearly killed by her father’s henchman, but then gets a phone call from her dad that hints at future making up. And this is after her father not believing that stepmom and friends molested Olivia when she was a child. Olivia thinking that she might talk to her dad in the future just doesn’t jive with the way she’s been characterized in the other books.

Overall, NIGHT SHIFT and the Midnight, Texas trilogy as a whole is okay. Good, not great. I did expect more from Charlaine Harris because of the hype of Sookie Stackhouse. But Midnight is a good trilogy to read when you want something a little slower, not full of feeling like the characters are going to die every other page.

Socialize with the author:

Charlaine Harris:
Website

– leeanna

Book Review: Day Shift by Charlaine Harris

Book Review: Day Shift by Charlaine HarrisDay Shift by Charlaine Harris
Series: Midnight, Texas #2
Published by Ace on May 5, 2015
Genres: Mystery, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 307
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
3 Stars
There is no such thing as bad publicity, except in Midnight, Texas, where the residents like to keep to themselves. Even in a town full of secretive people, Olivia Charity is an enigma. She lives with the vampire Lemuel, but no one knows what she does; they only know that she’s beautiful and dangerous.

Psychic Manfred Bernardo finds out just how dangerous when he goes on a working weekend to Dallas and sees Olivia there with a couple who are both found dead the next day. To make matters worse, one of Manfred’s regular — and very wealthy — clients dies during a reading.

Manfred returns from Dallas embroiled in scandal and hounded by the press. He turns to Olivia for help; somehow he knows that the mysterious Olivia can get things back to normal. As normal as things get in Midnight...

Book Review:

DAY SHIFT is the second book in Charlaine Harris’ trilogy about Midnight, Texas. Midnight is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it town, important only to the locals. So, of course it’s a town where there’s a lot going on underneath the surface: there’s a vampire, witch, and psychic in town, and that’s only the start.

Midnight is a series that grew on me. It’s great for when you’re in the mood for a slightly slower paranormal mystery, with a lot of focus on everyday life in a small town. The characters aren’t in danger every single second, which is sometimes a nice change.

The mystery of DAY SHIFT showed up earlier than the mystery in book one, MIDNIGHT CROSSROAD, which helped the pacing. When Manfred travels to Dallas for a weekend of in-person readings, his first client dies in the middle of the appointment. Accused by the woman’s nasty son of stealing her jewelry, Manfred needs the help of his fellow Midnight citizens to clear his name. And while that’s going on, there’s also a mysterious new hotel built in town, one whose purpose might be sinister…?

DAY SHIFT also expands some of the “minor” characters from the first book, such as Olivia Charity. I was super intrigued by Olivia, so I was happy to see her play a major role in this book. There’s also more about Joe and Chuy, as well as the Rev, who ends up watching a friend’s son. Diederik was a lot of fun.

I read the entire Midnight, Texas trilogy in a weekend, which I recommend doing if possible. Now that I’m finished, I miss spending time in Midnight. It’s the type of town I’d like to live in if I were in an urban fantasy book, because there’s spooky stuff going on and some danger, but there’s also a feeling of community and small town life without destruction raining down every day.

Socialize with the author:

Charlaine Harris:
Website

– leeanna

Book Review: Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris

Book Review: Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine HarrisMidnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris
Series: Midnight, Texas #1
Published by Ace on May 6, 2014
Genres: Mystery, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 305
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
3 Stars
From Charlaine Harris, the bestselling author who created Sookie Stackhouse and her world of Bon Temps, Louisiana, comes a darker locale - populated by more strangers than friends. But then, that’s how the locals prefer it...

Welcome to Midnight, Texas, a town with many boarded-up windows and few full-time inhabitants, located at the crossing of Witch Light Road and Davy Road. It’s a pretty standard dried-up western town.

There’s a pawnshop (someone lives in the basement and is seen only at night). There’s a diner (people who are just passing through tend not to linger). And there’s new resident Manfred Bernardo, who thinks he’s found the perfect place to work in private (and who has secrets of his own).

Stop at the one traffic light in town, and everything looks normal. Stay awhile, and learn the truth...

Book Review:

MIDNIGHT CROSSROAD is the first in a trilogy set in the quirky town of Midnight, Texas. It’s the perfect place to psychic Manfred to settle in and get down to work. Manfred bullshits sometimes, but he also has a real gift. But it doesn’t take psychic ability to see Midnight isn’t what it appears on the surface.

I found the pace of MIDNIGHT CROSSROAD to be somewhat slow. The mystery doesn’t show up for a long time; the book kind of meanders about, much like the town of Midnight. There’s a lot of detail on ordinary life: Manfred settling in, meeting the locals, going to dinner, that sort of thing. At first it bored me, but after I thought about it, I realized I liked the ordinariness. MIDNIGHT CROSSROAD isn’t as in your face as say, Kate Daniels or Mercy Thompson, and that’s a nice change.

The book is told from three perspectives: Manfred, pawnshop owner Bobo, and witch Fiji. At first I thought Manfred was the main character, but he isn’t. I liked all the perspectives, because I got a better view of Midnight that way, and the author handled switching characters in a clear way. I was also super curious about some of the other characters, such as Olivia, Lemuel, Joe, and Chuy.

Once the body of Bobo’s missing girlfriend was found and the mystery kicked off, the book sped up a bit. I had my suspicions for the killer, but I was totally wrong. I always like when I can’t predict the outcome, and the outcome of this mystery… it really cemented what sort of town Midnight is and who lives there.

I’ll be honest — at first I wasn’t sure if I would continue this series. MIDNIGHT CROSSROAD was my first Charlaine Harris book, and I did expect a little more. But I got sucked into the book, intrigued by the town and the characters. It also helps that all the books are available, so I was able to read all three in a weekend, which I recommend doing if you can.

Socialize with the author:

Charlaine Harris:
Website

– leeanna

Book Review: Sight Lines by Michelle DiCeglio

Book Review: Sight Lines by Michelle DiCeglioSight Lines by Michelle DiCeglio
Published by Elloras Cave Publishing Inc on November 6, 2015
Genres: LGBT, Mystery
Pages: 173
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
3 Stars
Police Detective Lacey Mills is on a mission to find a serial killer. Still reeling from the unsolved murder of her girlfriend two years earlier, Lacey has buried herself in work for too long. At least that’s what she’s told on her mandatory appointment with a shrink after being involved in a deadly shootout. It’s time to stop running away from every woman who shows interest in her.

When she meets a beautiful web designer named Ali, Lacey follows the doctor’s advice and lets herself take another chance on love. So much for cutting back on work—it turns out Ali has been hiding a big secret that might change the entire direction of Lacey’s murder investigation.

Book Review:

SIGHT LINES is a short but complete murder mystery with a side of romance. I was interested in reading it because Lacey, the main character and detective on the murder case, is gay. Her sexuality isn’t an issue — this isn’t a coming out book. I’m always on the lookout for more books with diverse characters that are characters outside of their diversity. For example, Lacey’s a detective who just happens to be gay.

Lacey’s latest case is a difficult one to crack. Several women have been killed, all by a gunshot to the head. The killer is very careful to not leave behind any forensic evidence. Lacey doesn’t want the cases to go cold, but with almost no evidence, there’s not much to go on. Her personal life isn’t going much better either; after the death of her girlfriend two years ago, Lacey’s been alone. But when web designer Ali comes along, Lacey takes a chance on starting something new.

I liked SIGHT LINES. It’s always nice to get a complete story in one go, without needing to wait years for the whole series. I also liked how Lacey wasn’t always right, and was able to admit when she made mistakes.

At the same time, SIGHT LINES was just too short, leaving me wanting more character development and development for the relationship between Lacey and Ali. I also had a few unanswered questions from the murder mystery. The author’s writing style was a bit too detailed for me in odd places — I would rather have had meaty info rather than knowing what a bit character wore or how they looked.

Socialize with the author:

Michelle DiCeglio:
Website
Twitter

– leeanna

Book Review: The Shrunken Head by Lauren Oliver & H.C. Chester

Book Review: The Shrunken Head by Lauren Oliver & H.C. ChesterThe Shrunken Head by HC Chester, Lauren Oliver
Series: The Curiosity House #1
Published by HarperCollins on September 29, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Mystery
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine, Edelweiss
Goodreads
3 Stars
What you will find in this book:

– A rather attractive bearded lady
– Several scandalous murders
– A deliciously disgusting Amazonian shrunken head
– Four extraordinary children with equally extraordinary abilities
– A quite loquacious talking bird

Blessed with extraordinary abilities, orphans Philippa, Sam, and Thomas have grown up happily in Dumfrey’s Dime Museum of Freaks, Oddities, and Wonders. But when a fourth child, Max, a knife-
thrower, joins the group, it sets off an unforgettable chain of events. When the museum’s Amazonian shrunken head is stolen, the four are determined to get it back. But their search leads them to a series of murders and an explosive secret about their pasts.

This sensational new series combines the unparalleled storytelling gifts of Lauren Oliver with the rich
knowledge of the notorious relics collector H.C. Chester.

What you will NOT find in this book:

– An accountant named Seymour
– A never-ending line at the post office
– Brussel sprouts (shudder)
– A lecture on finishing all your homework on time
– A sweet, gooey story for nice little girls and boy

Book Review:

Middle grade is a hit or miss age range for me, and THE SHRUNKEN HEAD was mostly a miss. Not to say I didn’t like it — I enjoyed the book while reading — but it’s not a series I’d continue. The book is average, nothing new or special, but one that would satisfy readers who liked similar books.

Pippa, Sam, Thomas, and Max live at Dumfrey’s Dime Museum of Freaks, Oddities, and Wonders. They’re freaks with special abilities; Sam is the strongest boy in the world, Pippa can read pockets, etc. Some are more okay with their special abilities than others, and one of the best things about the book is how positively being different is portrayed inside the museum.

When the museum’s newest exhibit, an Amazonian shrunken head, is stolen, the four band together to try and save Mr. Dumfrey and their home. Death seems to follow the shrunken head, but is it really a curse or just coincidence?

As I said above, I enjoyed THE SHRUNKEN HEAD while I read the book, but it’s one I won’t remember tomorrow. It’s the start to a series, but I probably wouldn’t continue the series because I just wasn’t that interested. The characters are likely enough, and the dime museum was a good setting . There are a few atmospheric illustrations. But I’m not sure who the book is aimed at. It was a tad long, and I wish it would have firmly established the time period, rather than alluding to it. I’m not sure 3-7 grade knows when Spanish flu hit or the stock market crashed. But the writing and mystery seem too simple for an older age range, so I’m not sure.

Socialize with the author:

Lauren Oliver:
Website
Facebook
Twitter

– leeanna

Book Review: The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy

Book Review: The Creeping by Alexandra SirowyThe Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on August 18, 2015
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine
Goodreads
2 Stars
Eleven years ago, Stella and Jeanie disappeared. Stella came back. Jeanie never did.

Now all she wants is a summer full of cove days, friends, and her gorgeous crush—until a fresh corpse leads Stella down a path of ancient evil and secrets.

Stella believes remembering what happened to Jeanie will save her. It won’t.

She used to know better than to believe in what slinks through the shadows. Not anymore.

Book Review:

THE CREEPING has an interesting premise. When they were six, Stella and Jeanie were in the woods. Only Stella came back. Jeanie disappeared, never to be seen again. Stella has no memories of that day or any before it, so she wasn’t able to help the police. Years later, Stella’s put all that behind her, and now she’s a popular girl, concerned with kissing hot boys and having a great senior year. But then she finds a dead little girl, a girl who reminds her of Jeanie.

THE CREEPING is one third creepy and two thirds boring. A huge part of the book is Stella and her monologuing on being popular and boys. For a book titled “THE CREEPING,” I expected more creepy stuff. I mean, there’s some there, but really, a lot of the focus is on Stella and guys and her friends. Stella’s somewhat of a bitch at first, but I didn’t really mind that. I found her attitude and the attitudes and behaviors of her friends to be realistic. It was just a bit much for me, especially all the “There’s no way he’ll help me. I was a jerk to him. Oh he’s cute. Why do I like him? He’s geeky.” etc. over and over.

He refers to Sam, Stella’s childhood friend. I quite liked Sam, as he’s sweeter and more helpful than a lot of the guys you find in YA books. He’s always there for Stella, even when she’s a complete bitch to him. I did wonder why he was so loyal.

Okay. The creepy part of THE CREEPING. I won’t spoil it, but the author did surprise me with the final reveal. I just wish that more of the book had been, well, creepy! By the middle of THE CREEPING, I wanted to skim the teenage angst bits and get to the creepy sections. I do think the book is too long — 400+ pages of teenage angst and only a bit of mystery was about 150 pages too much.

Socialize with the author:

Alexandra Sirowy:
Website
Facebook
Twitter

– leeanna

Book Review: Daughters of Shadow and Blood: Yasamin by J. Matthew Saunders

Book Review: Daughters of Shadow and Blood: Yasamin by J. Matthew SaundersYasamin by J. Matthew Saunders
Series: Daughters of Shadow and Blood #1
Published by Saint George's Press on May 3, 2015
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 335
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
2 Stars
Buda, Ottoman Hungary, 1599: Yasamin, the naïve daughter of an Ottoman bureaucrat, finds herself trapped in an arranged marriage to the son of the powerful governor of Buda. She is unprepared for the gossip and scheming rampant in the palace but realizes she faces more than petty jealousies when someone tries to drown her in the baths on the day before her wedding. An unearthly menace lurks in the palace corridors, and the one person able to protect Yasamin is a soldier named Iskander, who seems to appear whenever she needs him. Charming and confident, he is nothing like her new husband, but trusting either of them could be a deadly mistake.

Berlin, Germany, 1999: Adam Mire, an American professor of history, discovers a worn, marked-up copy of Dracula. The clues within its pages send him on a journey across the stark landscape of Eastern Europe, searching for a medallion that once belonged to Dracula himself. But a killer hounds Adam’s footsteps, and each new clue he uncovers brings him closer to a beguiling, raven-haired woman named Yasamin Ashrafi, who might be the first of Dracula’s legendary Brides.

Adam has an agenda of his own, however, a quest more personal than anyone knows. One misstep, and his haunted past could lead to death from a blade in his back … or from Yasamin’s fatal embrace.

Book Review:

YASAMIN is the first book in a new series, Daughters of Shadow and Blood, about the three women in Dracula’s castle. Are they the brides of Dracula, as many have guessed? Is Yasamin one of them?

I was intrigued by the book’s summary, because: 1) I’m a vampire fan, 2) I enjoy books about Dracula’s brides, and 3) I liked the mix of the past and modern day.

Unfortunately, the book just wasn’t for me. I spent a fair amount of the book confused, as there’s a lot of jumping around in time. Not just between 1999 and 1599, but between weeks and months in 1999. There’s approximately 300 pages and 77 chapters. The chapters are short and choppy; rather than jumping in time and into different characters, I would have liked some more time with Adam and Yasamin.

I don’t read a lot of thrillers, so I’m not sure if this book can be classified as one, but that’s the impression I got. But I never got any sense of urgency or felt that Adam’s life was truly in danger, even when he was captured by this group or that.

The idea behind the book is interesting, but the way it’s written didn’t work for me. I’m also a character driven reader, so I like characters I can really care about or get invested in their stories. The characters in this book felt like chess pieces to me, moved here and there to keep the plot going.

Let’s talk about it:

Dracula’s brides — yay or nay? Would you be interested in reading about them?

Socialize with the author:

J. Matthew Saunders:
Website
Facebook
Twitter

– leeanna

Book Review: The Diabolical Miss Hyde (Electric Empire #1) by Viola Carr

Book Review: The Diabolical Miss Hyde (Electric Empire #1) by Viola CarrThe Diabolical Miss Hyde by Viola Carr
Series: Electric Empire #1
Published by Harper Voyager on February 10, 2015
Genres: Alternate Universe, Fantasy, Mystery, Steampunk
Pages: 464
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads
4 Stars
Magic, mystery, and romance mix in this edgy retelling of the classic The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde–in which Dr. Eliza Jekyll is the daughter of the infamous Henry.

In an electric-powered Victorian London, Dr. Eliza Jekyll is a crime scene investigator, hunting killers with inventive new technological gadgets. Now, a new killer is splattering London with blood, drugging beautiful women and slicing off their limbs. Catching "the Chopper" could make Eliza's career—or get her burned. Because Eliza has a dark secret. A seductive second self, set free by her father's forbidden magical elixir: wild, impulsive Lizzie Hyde.

When the Royal Society sends their enforcer, the mercurial Captain Lafayette, to prove she's a sorceress, Eliza must resist the elixir with all her power. But as the Chopper case draws her into London's luminous, magical underworld, Eliza will need all the help she can get. Even if it means getting close to Lafayette, who harbors an evil curse of his own.

Even if it means risking everything and setting vengeful Lizzie free . . .

Book Review:

THE DIABOLICAL MISS HYDE originally caught my attention because it looked like it had steampunk elements, fantasy, evil curses, magical forensics, and a dark twin. This is one of those books that’s difficult to describe, but in a good way. Happily, the book had all it promised and more — I’m already looking forward to the next book in the Electric Empire series.

THE DIABOLICAL MISS HYDE is narrated in turn by Dr. Eliza Jekyll and Lizzie Hyde. Both are the same person, but with very different personalities and abilities. Those last names should sound familiar — remember the classic Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? The author goes off that a bit, but makes it all her own.

Viola Carr wrote Eliza and Lizzie so differently that I never had any trouble telling them apart. Although they share a body, they felt like two distinct characters, and their dual narration/personalities was probably my favorite part of the book. It can bug the heck out of me when an author switches perspective mid-chapter or even mid-scene, but it really worked here. I loved the way one would take over from another. At first, Eliza tries to keep Lizzie subdued with alchemy, and when Lizzie does get out, Eliza’s relieved she can’t remember anything Lizzie does. But over the course of THE DIABOLICAL MISS HYDE, Eliza begins to trust and rely on Lizzie, and vice versa.

Dr. Eliza Jekyll is something of a forensic scientist, using her knowledge, experience, and gadgets to help the police solve crimes. Given the time period of an alternate London, many on the force aren’t willing to work with her, but Eliza trudges onwards in the search for justice. The case in THE DIABOLICAL MISS HYDE is a gruesome one: a serial killer takes body parts from each victim with surgical precision. Why? The appearance of a Royal Society watchdog hampers the investigation. Does the Society suspect Eliza of using unorthodox science?

The murder mystery was pretty twisty for me. The last quarter of THE DIABOLICAL MISS HYDE really surprised me, which is always something I enjoy.

I would have liked more worldbuilding, because the glimpses I got to see were fascinating. There’s an underworld of fae creatures, but other than a few scenes, we don’t learn much about them. Sadface. I also wanted to know more about Eliza’s London, where the crown decides what is allowed science and what is witchcraft. Sometimes, THE DIABOLICAL MISS HYDE felt like setup for the rest of the series, moving characters here and there, giving out this bit of vital information or that. Also, Eliza has a fascination with a killer she put away before the book started; I felt like I was missing some important background on the Todd/Eliza equation.

Aside from a bit of nitpicking, I really enjoyed THE DIABOLICAL MISS HYDE. It has an alchemical je ne sais quoi to it. Bring on more of the Electric Empire!

Socialize with the author:

Website
Facebook
Twitter

– leeanna

Book Review: The Case of the Missing Moonstone by Jordan Stratford

Book Review: The Case of the Missing Moonstone by Jordan StratfordThe Case of the Missing Moonstone by Jordan Stratford
Series: The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency #1
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on January 6, 2015
Genres: Historical Fiction, Middle Grade, Mystery
Pages: 240
Format: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine
Goodreads
5 Stars
Jordan Stratford imagines an alternate 1826, where Ada Lovelace (the world’s first computer programmer) and Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein) meet as girls and form a secret detective agency!

Lady Ada Byron, age eleven, is a genius. Isolated, awkward and a bit rude—but a genius. Mary Godwin, age fourteen, is a romantic. Adventurous, astute, and kind, Mary is to become Ada’s first true friend. And together, the girls conspire to form the Wollstonecraft Detective Agency—a secret constabulary for the apprehension of clever criminals. Their first case involves a stolen heirloom, a false confession, and an array of fishy suspects. But it’s no match for the deductive powers and bold hearts of Ada and Mary.

Mystery fans will love this tween girl riff on Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. History buffs will be delighted to see all the real figures who play a role in this story and appreciate the extensive backmatter that helps separate truth from fiction. Parents and educators hoping to promote the STEM fields for girls will be thrilled to have a series where two girls use math, science, and creative analytical thinking to solve crimes. But most especially--emerging readers will love this series filled with humor, action, intrigue and wonderful artwork from Kelly Murphy.

Book Review:

I adore the premise and characters in THE CASE OF THE MISSING MOONSTONE. Featuring Ada Lovelace and Mary Shelley, this book is the first in a new series aimed at middle-grade girls. The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency wants to show girls that math, science, history, and literature can be used for everyday problems and maybe even to change the world.

Yes, this series does experiment with history. For example, Ada and Mary were eighteen years apart in real life, but are three years apart in this book so they can be friends. Sometimes it annoys the heck out of me when authors mess with history, but I’m all for it here. The author makes it work. Even though I’m not the target age, I was still interested by his characterizations of Ada and Mary, and when I finished the book, I went searching for information on Ada. At the end of THE CASE OF THE MISSING MOONSTONE, the author does include biographies of most of the characters, filling readers in on their real lives and any changes he made for the book.

I flew through THE CASE OF THE MISSING MOONSTONE. The mystery isn’t too difficult to solve, but I had a hoot watching Ada and Mary work through it. I loved Ada from page one. I mean, she has a balloon on the roof of her house, and thinks “Oomph times zoom equals kaboom!” on page one. Ada and Mary approach things differently, and I think any reader will find something to identify with and like in one or both of them. Ada’s not so good at dealing with emotions and people; she prefers math. Mary’s better with people, likes poetry and romance, and has the Very Good Idea of the detective agency. It was great to see the girls become friends and understand each other’s strengths while they subvert 1820’s society’s view of girls.

Lastly, there are some great illustrations in THE CASE OF THE MISSING MOONSTONE. I would have loved them as a kid, and I still loved them as an adult. I thought they added a lot to the story, and I really appreciated that one of Ada’s equations was drawn out. All too often math equations (if they’re mentioned at all) aren’t shown, so it’s tricky to know what the character is talking about.

Socialize with the author:

Jordan Stratford:
Website
Twitter

– leeanna

Book Review: Iron & Velvet (Kate Kane #1) by Alexis Hall

Book Review: Iron & Velvet (Kate Kane #1) by Alexis HallIron & Velvet by Alexis Hall
Series: Kate Kane #1
Published by Riptide Publishing on December 16, 2013
Genres: Adult, LGBT, Mystery, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 277
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
5 Stars
First rule in this line of business: don’t sleep with the client.

My name’s Kate Kane, and when an eight-hundred-year-old vampire prince came to me with a case, I should have told her no. But I’ve always been a sucker for a femme fatale.

It always goes the same way. You move too fast, you get in too deep, and before you know it, someone winds up dead. Last time it was my partner. This time it could be me. Yesterday a werewolf was murdered outside the Velvet, the night-time playground of one of the most powerful vampires in England. Now half the monsters in London are at each other’s throats, and the other half are trying to get in my pants. The Witch Queen will protect her own, the wolves are out for vengeance, and the vampires are out for, y’know, blood.

I’ve got a killer on the loose, a war on the horizon, and a scotch on the rocks. It’s going to be an interesting day.

Book Review:

I’m not really sure what took me so long to get into IRON & VELVET, but boy, do I regret waiting to read it. IRON & VELVET is one of those books I couldn’t stop reading — I felt as if it was written just for me. I adored everything about it, and there is one upside to not reading it when it was released — I don’t have to wait for book two, SHADOWS & DREAMS.

Kate Kane, paranormal investigator extraordinaire, doesn’t work for vampires. But with business being non-existent, and the Prince of Cups, one of the most powerful vampires in England, asking for her, she doesn’t have much choice but to take the case. Before long, she’s up to her eyeballs in vampires, werewolves, witches, tentacle monsters, and more. The whole gamut and then some. Kate herself has some supernatural blood; her mother is the Queen of the Wild Hunt, but that’s mostly an inconvenience.

I really liked the world the author created, as well as his twists on the different supernatural creatures, from vampires to demons to werewolves. Most of the creatures are true to legend, but upgraded for modern times. I also liked that three of the most powerful characters: Julian, vampire Prince of Cups, Tara, the alpha werewolf, and Nimue, queen of mages, are female.

Oh, yeah. IRON & VELVET is full of gay women, including Kate, Julian, and Nimue. This is an f/f paranormal book, possibly the f/f paranormal book I’ve been craving. There’s some pretty damn hot sex, and I couldn’t help but laugh every time Kate had to remind herself not to sleep with the client, or to keep her eyes on someone’s face when she was talking to them.

The author’s writing style pulled me into the book. If you like any combination of sarcasm, dry humor, and dark humor, you’ll probably enjoy Kate’s narration. “Here lies Kate Kane. Eaten by big bad werewolves. Beloved daughter. Sorely missed (Chapter 3).” Kate’s an alcoholic, has trust issues, is attracted to almost anything female that moves, but she does sincerely care about the victims. Kate usually tries to do the right thing, fucks up here and there, but keeps trying until things are right (or as right as they’re going to be). Yeah, in case you can’t tell, I kind of loved Kate.

Everything about IRON & VELVET kept me flicking the pages, from the murder mystery to Kate’s voice to Julian’s sexiness to well, everything!

Socialize with the author:

Alexis Hall:
Website
Facebook
Twitter

– leeanna