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Archive for October, 2012

Paranormal Romance Review – Demon Hunting In The Deep South

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Demon Hunting in the Deep South by Lexi George


Review by Kelsey O.


Shy, self-conscious Evie Douglass tries to stay under the radar, especially when petite socialite Meredith Starr Peterson, aka The Death Starr, is anywhere around. Meredith and her bitch posse of skinny girlfriends have tormented Evie about her size since seventh grade. Unfortunately, it’s hard for a plus-sized gal to stay invisible in a small town like Hannah, Alabama. And then Evie finds Meredith brutally murdered. Suddenly, she’s the number one suspect in a sensational murder case. Worse, Hannah is infested with demons, and the only thing standing between them and Evie is a hunky blond demon slayer named Ansgar. Evie could swear, though, that Ansgar is interested in more than demons. She could swear that he’s interested in her…


Having not read the first book in this series, Demon Hunting in the Deep South was a little complex to understand. There is a lot of back-story that George attempts to integrate but fails. With that being said, it wasn’t a bad read and I will be reading the first book, Demon Hunting in Dixie in the future in hopes of grasping everything.


There are many interesting characters. One of them, Ansgar, has been in love with Evie for a long time but in the first book he had to erase Evie’s memories of him. Ansgar and his brother are Dalvahni and are immortal warriors protecting humans from demons called djegrali. Ansgar finds Evie the most beautiful woman in the world and does his best to fight his attraction for her. He knows she will be devastated when she finds out that he had to turn her into a Dalvahni and then had to erase her memory. Ansgar is definitely the alpha male and at times I just had to roll my eyes.


Evie has been accused of killing her rival, Meredith. Now she must clear her name and needs the help of Ansgar to do it. She also, unfortunately, has the ghost of Meredith tagging along. Meredith is of no help because she doesn’t remember what happened. Her part in the story is to constantly remind Evie how fat she is. Evie herself is always putting herself down to the point that it gets a little old by the end. Even when Ansgar is telling her how beautiful she is, she is thinking he is just saying this to be nice. I just wished her character would have grown by the end. The pity party needed to be stopped somewhere along the way.


As I said before, I think this could have been a better book if I had read the first one. There was a lot of backstory on Evie and Ansgar that I just didn’t understand and I was unable to connect to them. The world that George has created is very complex also. There are many characters that come in and out, such as, demons, ghosts and even fairy cats. I couldn’t figure out what relevancy some of them had. Were they explained in the first book? Or are they just added humor?


What I did love about Demon Hunting in the Deep South is the witty personalities of many of the characters. They were humorous and sarcastic, which I love in my characters. I even loved Meredith. I think having you main character tormented by the woman that bullied her in life is actually creative, considering Evie has to “help” Meredith now even though Evie wants nothing to do with her.


Demon Hunting in the Deep South had its issues but all in all, it is a good read. I just urge anyone who wants to try this series, to read them in order.











Mystery Monday – An Appetite for Murder

Monday, October 15th, 2012

An Appetite for Murder by Lucy Burdette


Review by reacherfan1909


Florida has been a popular setting for mysteries for a long time.  The Travis Magee series from the venerable John D McDonald remains a landmark against which so many other noir style writers are judged. Jonathon King’s Max Freeman series, Bob Morris‘ Zack Chasteen series follow in McDonald’s footsteps.

Elmore Leonard was the first of what is now a well established field of off-beat story tellers who loved the blatant corruption and flamboyant characters that seem to be so much a part of Florida.  This is a tradition carried on and enhanced by the likes of Carl Hiaasen and Tim Dorsey.  Then there are the legal thrillers by James Grippando and Paul Levine.  Or how about Cuban-American PI Lupe Solano by Carolina Garcia-Aguilera? And tiny Sanibel Island off Florida’s west coast (and a favorite vacation spot of mine) plays host to thriller reader’s Doc Ford books by Randy Wayne White. ( I personally think the earlier books are far better than any of his last 8 or so.)  Christine Kling bases her Seychelle Sullivan series in Ft Lauderdale.  So many writers – Les Standiford, James O Born, John Lutz, Charles Willeford, Laurence Shames, and James Swain to name a few – and I admit to being rather heavy on the noir style writers as they are are my favorites.

But the Keys, that beautiful string of islands that stretches out 127 miles along the Overseas Highway, has landed it’s share of fictional detectives.  The Torn series by James W Hall is best known, but my personal favorite is Tom Corcoran’s Alex Rutledge series set in Key West.  He’s only written 6 mysteries in nearly 14 years, but they’re more than worth reading.  Given memorable titles like Air Dance Iguana, The Mango Opera, Octopus Alibi, and Bone Island Mambo, the books are terrific mysteries and entertaining reads – and available on PBS.  In fact, most of the authors named above have all, or at least some of their books available here.

Yes, there are cozies in Florida too, just not as many as you might think. Elaine Viets mines this field with her Dead-End Jobs series, Rita Lakin with the Gladdy Gold books, Mary Kennedy‘s Maggie Walsh books (I like this series), Deborah Sharp‘s Mace Bauer series, and Nancy J Cohen‘s Marla Shore books.  Now, Lucy Burdette has chosen Key West as the setting for her Key West Food Critic mysteries featuring 25 year old Hayley Snow, a young woman searching for a life.

Hayley was swept off her feet by Chad Lutz, a divorce lawyer in Key West visiting his mother in New Jersey.  He returns to Key West and in one of those heat of the moment things asks her to come live with him.  Hayley jumps at the chance – much to her mother’s dismay, and picks and moves down.  In the ‘repent in leisure’ category, this was a perfect bad choice, for both of them.  She catches Chad in bed with another woman he throws her out.  Hayley ends up living on a small houseboat with her old friend Connie and looking for work on an island with too many people and not enough jobs.  Also in Key West is her gay friend Alex, a psychologist and her dinner ‘date’ at Seven Fishes, a restaurant she’s planning to review for a food critic job with Key Zest, a new publication.  The big problem is, Kristen Faulkner, the woman Hayley caught Chad with, is the owner.  The way Kristen acts, you’d think it was Hayley who was caught doing something, not the other way around.

Next morning, as she’s struggling with the restaurant review, the cops arrive.  Kirsten Faulkner has been murdered and she’s suspect number one.  Detective Bransford might be a hunk, but having him accuse her of murder is a real turn off.  Then things get really strange.  The elderly lady next door is attacked, the houseboat where she’s living is ransacked and the only thing missing is her 5 year old Apple laptop, then she’s run off the road and shot at as she’s returning from Miami – but no one believes her, not even her best friend Alex.  Of course, it was his beloved classic Mustang that got flipped, so he might have good reason to be annoyed.

Hayley does what all amateurs do in these books and starts investigating the people involved with Kirsten herself.  Turns out, lots of people had good reason to hate her, even her partner in the new Key Zest publication.  And Chad is such a self-adsorbed lump, you have to wonder why she ever came to Key West to be with him.  The whole ‘he was different in New Jersey’ thing did not jibe for me.  Who did it and why was very good, but the ‘how was it done’ discovery was way too pat.  And that’s the tale of the two sides of An Appetite for Murder, really good mixed with a healthy dose of ‘can she really be so stupid?’

As for capturing the atmosphere of Key West, the book was adequate, but certainly not at the level of Tom Corcoran’s work.  I saw several things that reminded me of Corcoran’s books – including the Mustang, though his Alex Rutledge character has a Shelby Mustang Cobra.  (Notice that both guys are named Alex!)  Houseboats are a favorite way for ordinary people to live there and have been for a long time.  I real life, the food is good, the place laid back, and once away from the tourist areas, it’s really a beautiful spot.  And I am sorry the drive from Key West to Miami was done in the pouring rain in the book because it is easily one of the most scenic drives anywhere in the country, one that any island fancier should make at least once.

OK, I admit I have issues with characters like Hayley Snow.  My patience for the self indulgent practice of ‘finding’ one’s self is pretty much non-existent.  Anyone who had to shoulder responsibility early in life knows just how annoying this really is, especially at 25 years of age.  Hayley too often acts like she’s still 18 and the world revolves around her and her inability to be independent and make smart, tough decisions.  This is not to say the personality isn’t dead on for many 25 year olds, just that it really annoys me.  Getting past that is a bit of a struggle.

It’s hard for me to fairly judge a book with a lead character that irritates me much of the time.  The writing is decent for a cozy, though it lacks the rich, descriptive style that makes places like Ket West jump to life.  As usual, the story is told in the first person.  Hayley’s dependence on tarot readings was a shade off-putting for me, though obviously meant to be quirky.  Chad had no redeeming character at all.  He was just mean, petty, spiteful, and a total jerk.  He reminded me of the infamous ‘Dickie’ in the Stephanie Plum books.  Kirsten was another petty, spiteful person – and was rich to boot, but at least she’s dead.  They pretty much deserved each other.  Detective Bransford is never fleshed out as a personality.  Since he’ll obviously play a part in future books, that was disappointing.  Gay friend Alex and buddy Connie are also barely-there characters, and the way Hayley abuses their friendship says a lot about her immaturity.  As I said, that’s a sore point with me.  I did like her concern and caring for her elderly neighbor and for the homeless men in town.  I will try book 2 in the series and hope Hayley gets over her initial bad impression on me and the other characters begin to take on life. Overall, I’d give An Appetite for Murder a C+.


Free Book Friday on Saturday Winner!

Sunday, October 14th, 2012



The Winner of Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner is:


 Audrey D. (sunshine82)


Congratulations, Audrey . Your book is on the way to you!

Thank you everyone who commented on the Blog!

Note: All the books given away on Free Book Friday are available in the PBS Market. We have thousands of new and new overstock titles available right now, with more added hourly. Some of the prices are amazing – and you can use a PBS credit to make the deal even better!

Remember, every new book purchase supports the club and helps keep membership free!

Free Book Friday on Saturday!

Saturday, October 13th, 2012


Today the free book is Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner

ISBN 9780743294300

“Best Friends Forever” is in part an answer to this question: “What if Thelma and Louise didn’t have to die?”


We will choose one winner at random from comments we receive here on the Blog from PBS members.

You have until Sunday, October 14, 2012 at 12 noon EDT,  to leave a comment.

Good Luck to everyone!



Note: All the books given away on Free Book Friday are available in the PBS Market. We have thousands of new and new overstock titles available right now, with more added hourly. Some of the prices are amazing – and you can use a PBS credit to make the deal even better!

Remember, every new book purchase supports the club and helps keep membership free!

Literary Fantasy Review – The Red Garden

Friday, October 12th, 2012

The Red Garden by Alice Hoffman


Review by Susan R. (Sue-in-AZ)


Story Synopsis

The star of the story is a small town in Western Massachusetts. In particular, one garden behind the first house built in town – the red garden. So named because no matter what is planted there, it will turn red. The garden is also full of magic, which results in both good and bad outcomes for the people affected.


Through the book we follow the inhabitants of the town over the course of 300 years. And each generation has its share of challenges and tragedies. And in response, there is always some magical connection to the garden. Some people find love, others see ghosts, but always there is something unusual that happens.


Each chapter is written as a short story, and follows the town’s families loosely through the generations. Overall the book holds together as a great story – if you remember that the garden itself is the main character.


My Review

It took me a little while to get into the format of the book; the author intended a number of inter-related short stories. Spanning 300 years from the earliest founding of the town during  Colonial times, all the way to present day, the author does a great job of keeping the story lines and characters straight.


This is the first Alice Hoffman book I’ve read, and I plan to read many more.  I was reminded of Sarah Addison-Allen – lots of magic and emotion. Some of the chapters made me cry and others made me laugh – overall I really enjoyed reading this book.







Thriller Thursday Review – Kill Decision

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Kill Decision by Daniel Suarez


Review by Bowden P. (Trey)



I’m the first to admit it – I enjoy near future ‘cyber’ thrillers where SF ideas play out among techno-thriller tropes. Books like Arctic Rising, Halting State, Rule 34, Rainbows End, Daemon, Freedom ™, This Is Not a Game and Deep State. This is also a book that snuck up on me. After Daemon and Freedom™ I watched for anything new from Daniel Suarez. When I saw this at the local Books-A-Million, I had to get it.

The book opens with a drone terror attack on thousands of Shiite pilgrims in Iraq with thermobaric weapons. After the drone self destructs leaving the US to blame for the attack. Then it moves to a forward operating base where a prisoner is brought in for something very unusual. Then to a team working on visual recognition algorithms in Berkely whose success is undermined by accusations of espionage. Finally, it arrives at Africa and Linda McKinney, the entomologist from the publisher’s blurb and our viewpoint character.

So, after all of that, the high tech espionage, move and counter move, conspiracies, high tech gear and drones, was it worth it? Sort of.

Characters carry the idiot ball (particularly Linda McKinney who’s mom never taught her to never sass folks with guns and badges, or just guns). Most of the characters lack depth and exist only to facilitate the plot. The only ones that get beyond this are one of the opposition and a unreliable ally sadly. In fact in a few spots, this shaded into “Why do I care about these characters?” (WDICATC) But as Suarez revs up the action, the question fades into the background. Mostly.

I particularly liked Suarez playing with the drones using swarming tactics and cheap enough to take advantage of them. The trick behind that – artificial pheromones – was clever even if it did suggest a major plot point later on.

All in all, it suffers more greatly from the flaws of Suarez’s previous works (lack of characterization) but has the same strengths (nifty ideas and technology).

Three and a half stars.

Likes: The idea of swarming drones; Paying attention to drone economics; Technology and software behind the drones; The concerns he raises, particularly, what happens when the decision to kill is taken out of human hands?

Dislikes: Two dimensional characters that carry the idiot ball to advance the plot; heavy didactic tone

Suggested for: Fans of Daemon and  Freedom ™. Folks who enjoy the cyber thriller genre. Anyone who enjoyed P.W. Singer’s Wired for War.






Historical Fiction Review – A Dangerous Inheritance

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

A Dangerous Inheritance by Alison Weir


Review by Kelsey O.


Weir has taken the two lives of eerily similar usurpers and entwined them in this engrossing novel of passion, rivalry, betrayal, love and loss. Weir takes the reader from past to present by telling the story of Katherine Gray, sister to Lady Jane Grey (the nine-day queen), and Kate Planteganet, the illegitimate daughter of Richard III. Throwing in the secret of the Princes in the Tower, Weir flawlessly weaves the complicated lives of England’s royalty.

After Queen Mary Tudor overthrows Jane Grey, Katherine’s life is thrown upside down and now she must walk the tightrope between Mary and Elizabeth’s rivalry. Katherine has been told that she will be next in line to inherit the throne but as court politics go, she is passed up and Elizabeth ascends to the throne. Having already known what Mary was up to, Elizabeth sees Katherine as a rival for the throne and will do everything to stop her council from naming Katherine as the next in line. After stumbling upon the mystery of the Princes in the Tower, Katherine finds that her life is similar to Kate Plantagenet, whose father was believed to have done away with the Princes. This mystery whiles away the hours that Katherine must spend in the Tower because of Elizabeth’s wanting to keep her enemy close.

Kate has always thought that her father could walk on water but soon she finds that there are many rumors and her own life is in danger being who she is. After being forced into a marriage she didn’t want, Kate finds her quest to discover what happened to the Princes and clear her deceased father’s name, the only thing that keeps her mind off her unhappiness

Though switching from one time period to another was confusing at times, I thought Weir did an amazing job. I highly recommend this for all Tudor obsessed fans just for the fact that it is a unique and refreshing take on the mystery of the Princes in the Tower.