Saturday, 30 April 2011

THE AURORA TEAGARDEN MYSTERIES #6: A Fool and His Honey by Charlaine Harris

A mystery series from the No. 1 bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels.
Lawrenceton, Georgia, was once a small town; now many people see it only as a growing suburb of Atlanta - but it's still a small town at heart, where people wander in and out of each other's homes, and everybody knows everybody's business. Librarian Aurora Teagarden - Roe to her friends - grew up there, and she should know. She's always been interested in the darker side of human nature, ever since her True Crime book club led to a real murder...

This omnibus edition contains the last four novels: Dead Over Heals (book 5); A Fool and his Honey (book 6); Last Scene Alive (book 7 ); Poppy Done to Death (book 8).

I really enjoy this series. Every time I pick up the next book, I get totally captivated by what's going on in Roe's life, and can't believe just how much trouble she gets into.

Just when Roe is sure her day can't get any worse--after the handyman dropping off some timber flips out in her backyard--Regina, Martin's niece, drops in unannounced. With a baby. When no one even knew she was expecting. If that's not strange enough, the erratic behaviour of their dinner hosts adds to her list of worries.

However, when they get home from the dinner to find a dead man near their house, Regina and her car gone, and the baby hidden under the bed, Roe's whole life gets turned upside down.

All while Roe's forced to care for baby Hayden as Martin and her travel to Ohio in hopes of unravelling some of the mystery about why Regina popped into their home in the first place, why/who killed her husband, and how the baby fits into everything.

This happens to be one of the most confusing murder-mysteries that Roe has found herself in, and it's especially harder because it deals with Martin's family. It's personal, and Roe--who's never had children around her--is suddenly forced to take care of a baby as if it was hers. This puts an added strain on her life.

A Fool and His Honey is one of the most intense books in this excellent mystery series. One strange and bad thing flows into another, and another... never letting Roe and Martin get a break. Seriously, my heartbeat sped up so much while I was reading this book, especially during the last 50 pages. I couldn't believe what was going on and didn't want to stop until I reached the very shocking, sad, and unpredictable end. :(

This is fast becoming one of my most favourite series, and I've got two more to go until I get to the end...

The Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Omnibus 2, April 2011, ISBN 9780575096509, Gollancz Paperback
M&SRC books read: 12/12

Rain, rain, go away!

As you can probably guess, it's still raining here in Sydney. :(

Seriously, every time I think it's going to stop because the sun makes an appearance, the next time I look out the window it's dark again. And it's not just a little drizzle either, it was pouring down this morning.

I think I ruined my sneaker/boots the other day because I stepped into so many puddles. Boo! I've had enough of it. I just wish it would go away. I miss the sun so much.

Anyway, enough crying about the weather.

This week has been a little strange. My daughter didn't go back to school until Thursday, and although I intended to work on a novella revision, I ended up spending most of the day reading. lol. I was just too exhausted from the school holidays. So I've had a chance to catch up on some reviews I owed. Only have a few left now. Cool!

I did, however, get stuck into the revision yesterday and got it finished this morning. Yay! The total word count ended up being 34,694, which fits perfectly into the guidelines. I just need to write a synopsis (hate writing those things!) and then, submit it. I'm hoping to have it done by the end of next week.

I've now managed to get a bunch of stuff off my to-do list, so I think it's time to schedule a new one for the next few months...

Well, have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

DEAD RECKONING by Charlaine Harris

With her knack for being in trouble's way, Sookie witnesses the firebombing of Merlotte's, the bar where she works. Since Sam Merlotte is now known to be two-natured, suspicion falls immediately on the anti-shifters in the area. But Sookie suspects otherwise and she and Sam work together to uncover the culprit - and the twisted motive for the attack.
But her attention is divided. Though she can't 'read' vampires, Sookie knows her lover Eric Northman and his 'child' Pam well - and she realises that they are plotting to kill the vampire who is now their master. Gradually, she is drawn into the plot - which is much more complicated than she knows.
Caught up in the politics of the vampire world, Sookie will learn that she is as much of a pawn as any ordinary human - and that there is a new Queen on the board.

This is the latest Sookie Stackhouse book, and I had a great time reading it. I love this series so much that every time a new installment is released, it feels like catching up with old friends. :)

Everything starts out pretty calm. Sookie enlists the help of her Cousin Claude and Great-Uncle Dermot to clean the neglected attic, and they begrudgingly agree. But Sookie's life is never without complications, and even this task eventually provides some very interesting revelations about her dead grandmother.

Sookie might also be happily in love with the vampire Eric and mostly enjoys their blood connection, but he's obviously keeping a very big secret from her. And it's not just that he's not happy with their vampire regent, Victor. She also still enjoys her job at Merlotte's and remains close to Sam, but someone/something is always bound to turn her life upside down. One night, when she's busy working at the bar, someone firebombs the place.

Then she gets an unexpected visit from Lily Bard and Jack Leeds--how awesome is that? I loved seeing them make an appearance in a Sookie book--with a warning from Mr. Cataliades, and moments later a pack of armed and rowdy guys storm into the bar. It doesn't take long to figure out that someone is targeting her...

If only the family secrets from her past weren't also suddenly there to haunt her. Or the need to partake in figuring out how to end Victor's selfish reign. Or having to organise a baby shower for her friend, Tara. None of those things compare to what the person trying to take her down is prepared to do to see Sookie dead.

Dead Reckoning is another excellent and very violent addition to this series. It's filled with the usual danger-at-every-turn scenario for Sookie, as well as some unexpected surprises. There's never any emotional or physical rest for her. Her life is one ongoing turbulent mess that leaves a trail of bodies and unresolved problems in its wake, not to mention a disconnected blood bond. 

I also really enjoyed (finally) finding out the truth about her telepathic 'gift'... but now, can't wait to see what's going to happen with the Eric situation. I love this series so much! It rocks.

Dead Reckoning, May 2011, ISBN 9780575096530, Gollancz Paperback
H&UFRC books read: 20/24

I'm so sick of the rain...

Yes, I am.

Seriously, it's been raining on-and-off for the last four days and I'm so over it. I want the clouds to clear. I want to see a blue sky. Hell, I want to see the sun. It feels like I haven't seen it for so long.

So much rain makes the days feel lazy and drowsy. Actually, I spent much of the long weekend reading and napping, lol. We missed out on several walks because the rain didn't let up, and were lucky to find a few openings to go out. It sucks when it's like this. And it's supposed to keep going this way for a while yet.

I really hope they're wrong. :(

Anyway. Today is the day when everything goes back to normal. Well, not everything. My daughter is still home for one more day. She goes back to school tomorrow, but hubby went back to work this morning. As for me, I haven't decided what I'm going to do yet...

I was thinking of trying to squeeze in the third/final draft for that 33k-novella I wrote at the beginning of March. Then again, I'm kinda waiting for a bunch of edits to come in. Maybe I'll keep reading and try to plan ahead for the next month. Or maybe I can make a start on that revision. Not sure yet. With most of the week already gone, I can't help but feel a little meh! about it all. lol.

Well, I hope you're all having a great week!

Monday, 25 April 2011

THE AURORA TEAGARDEN MYSTERIES #5: Dead Over Heels by Charlaine Harris

A mystery series from the No. 1 bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels.

Lawrenceton, Georgia, was once a small town; now many people see it only as a growing suburb of Atlanta - but it's still a small town at heart, where people wander in and out of each other's homes, and everybody knows everybody's business. Librarian Aurora Teagarden - Roe to her friends - grew up there, and she should know. She's always been interested in the darker side of human nature, ever since her True Crime book club led to a real murder...
This omnibus edition contains the last four novels: Dead Over Heals (book 5); A Fool and his Honey (book 6); Last Scene Alive (book 7 ); Poppy Done to Death (book 8).

After really enjoying the first omnibus of The Aurora Teagarden Mysteries series, I was looking forward to getting stuck into the second omnibus. And I definitely wasn't disappointed. :)

Roe is in her yard with her bodyguard/friend, Angel Youngblood, trying to adjust her lounger while Angel mows the lawn, and a body falls out of the sky. The dead body of Detective Sergeant Jack Burns is thrown from a small plane and lands on the grass. He happens to be a cop who didn't like Roe much. He was always suspicious of her involvement with finding so many dead bodies, so the fact someone kills and then dumps him in her yard is suspicious.

As the investigation continues, in trying to figure out who killed Jack Burns, Roe goes about her life. In the absence of her husband, Martin, who has been travelling a lot more lately, she's back to working part-time at the library, and finds herself helping Angel with a very unlikely personal problem. Not to mention that someone keeps calling her home and hanging up, and all of a sudden more people are getting attacked. And Roe believes this is all somehow connected to Angel...

Like always, Roe is thick in the middle of a murder-mystery. One which affects her a lot more personally than she expected, and puts the life of those around her at risk.

Dead Over Heels is another entertaining addition to this very awesome series. I enjoyed it so much that I read it in one sitting. I'm seriously addicted to this series, it's so cool. I still really like Aurora Teagarden and her very complicated life. It seems that she's never going to be able to relax.

The only problem is that while I've still got three more books to read in the omnibus, once I get to the end, there'll be no more. :(

The Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Omnibus 2, April 2011, ISBN 9780575096509, Gollancz Paperback

M&SRC books read: 11/12

Saturday, 23 April 2011

ALLISON HEWITT IS TRAPPED by Madeleine Roux

This brilliant debut novel from Madeleine Roux orginated online as the popular blog ALLISON HEWITT IS TRAPPED on http://helptheyarecoming.wordpress.com

Allison Hewitt is trapped. In the storeroom of Brookes & Peabody's. In a world swarming with the Undead, the Doomed, the Infected.
Locked away with an oddball collection of colleagues and under siege, Allison takes advantage of a surviving internet connection and blogs. She writes, as the food runs out and panic sets in, as relationships develop and friends die, and as zombies claw at the door, all in the hope of connecting with other survivors out there. But as she reads the replies to her posts, Allison begins to comprehend the horrifying scale of the damage. And when no one comes to the group's rescue, they are forced to leave the safety of their room and risk a journey across the city; streets that crawl with zombies, and worse - fellow humans competing for survival.

It's no secret that I absolutely love zombie books (and movies, of course) and when I have the awesome luck of coming across a story that totally captivates me from the very first page, I usually can't tear myself away from it. It's a good thing I got started on this book during this Easter break, because it totally consumed my whole day! Seriously, I started it in the morning and then ended up staying up until 2am because I couldn't put it down.

Allison Hewitt is a bookstore clerk who happened to be at work when the whole world turned upside down and the infected--Groaners and Floaters--destroyed everything. Forcing her, a few workmates, and customers to barricade themselves inside the break room. Where they watch the days tick away without anyone coming to their rescue, eating junkfood, and logging onto the internet so she can update her blog. They figure out pretty early on that no one's going to save them. If they want to survive, they'll need to help themselves.

And so they do. Allison's survival instincts switch on pretty much instantly, and she leads this group of misfits away from the store and to the apartments above it, hoping to be in a better and safer position. But their survival is filled with obstacles and trouble they didn't expect. Before long, they find themselves once again moving, and heading to the University campus, following the kind voice she hears on the radio in hopes of finding a place with other humans and a better chance at survival.

I loved everything about this book. I thought the blog format was unique, and really worked for this story. As Allison makes her way across the new landscape of a world destroyed by zombies, she not only tries to stay alive, but never gives up hope of finding her mother. Her blogging helps inspire others who read what she's got to say and share their own horrible experiences.

I thought this idea was genius, and being a blogger it added another level of awesomeness. :)

Every single character in this book felt real and adapted to this broken world in whichever way they had to, but none showed more growth than Allison. She's an amazing narrator who did whatever she had to in order to make it out alive. I also enjoyed the fact that there was a little taste of romance, relationship complications, betrayal, true friendship, loyalty, humour, and danger at every turn. Oh, and Dapper was awesome!

One of my favourite things about zombie stories is how they deal with the humanity of it, how humans behave badly and selfishly no matter what's going on, and this book showed us a very nasty side of humanity. I loved it!

Allison Hewitt Is Trapped is in one word: fantastic! I got swept up in this sad and very harsh world where survival of the fittest involves facing the most violent version of yourself. It's either you or them, and every single day is filled with a new challenge that Allison was forced to face. No matter the cost, and she never lost sight of her axe. :)

I've got only great things to say about this book. It's a keeper. One I haven't stopped thinking about since I finished. One that will live on my bookshelf forever. I loved it!

Allison Hewitt is Trapped, April 2011, ISBN 9780755379125, Headline Fiction

H&UFRC books read: 19/24

Friday, 22 April 2011

THE GUNSLINGER by Stephen King

In the first book of this brilliant series, Stephen King introduces readers to one of his most enigmatic heroes, Roland of Gilead, The Last Gunslinger.

I can't believe it's taken me so long to get started on The Dark Tower adventure, but I'm glad I'm finally on my way.

After reading this book, I can't wait to see what happens to Roland... because the mystery didn't exactly end with the book. :)

I've now got more questions than I did when I began the story--lol. Still, I was totally captivated by this book. It's a very clever and intriguing post-apocalyptic-western mix, with a good dash of magic. I really enjoyed following Roland as he pursued the Man in Black through the desert, and getting a peek into his past was also very cool.

This is one series I know I'm really going to enjoy! I'm already hooked.

SKC Books Read: 1/6

Wishing you a Happy Easter!

I'm going to celebrate with this...

Oh, yeah!

Monday, 11 April 2011

Changing things a little around here...

Please excuse the mess and constant changes while I recreate my blog/website. Thanks!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

UNGRATEFUL DEAD by Naomi Clark

PI Ethan Banning wouldn't normally touch a haunting case. Mostly because he doesn't believe in ghosts. But when Charlie Mullen asks him to spend the night at a supposedly haunted morgue, Ethan figures, why not? He's broke and Charlie's offering double his normal rate, and that's good enough for Ethan.

But when a troublesome ghost really does show up, Ethan realises he's going to need more than a good supply of alcohol to get through the night.

I have AFTERLIFE and DEMONIZED--which are both books set in Naomi Clark's Shoregrave series--on my Kindle already, but when I found out that this short story is where it all begins for Ethan, I decided to start here. And I was totally sucked into this world.

Ethan is a PI--I love PI stories, btw--who probably drinks and smokes too much. He doesn't seem very PC for today's standard's, but you know, that's why I liked him so much. lol.

While having a few drinks at Sylvester's bar, a man called Charlie approaches Ethan about a paranormal problem that's going on at the local morgue. Ethan's not very excited about spending a night at the morgue, but he does need the money, so he goes along. What he gets himself into is both hilarious and scary.

I had a lot of fun with this story, and now can't wait to read more stories set in this world. I can just tell that Ethan's going to be one of those characters that I'm going to love...
H&UFRC books read: 17/24

Monday, 4 April 2011

Starting the week with a plan...

That's right! This is the last week of school before my daughter goes on two weeks holidays. Okay, I think that with all the Easter/Anzac Day public holidays, it actually ends up being more like two-and-a-half weeks. :/

So, I've decided to give myself the insane goal of getting the third/final draft of Sunny & Silver's story revised. I got started early this morning and actually revised the prologue. That takes me to page 8/209. Not a bad start, I think.

Unless I receive some edits, this is what I'd like to tackle. This is one of the things I've got on my 2011-to-do list. Something I slotted in for the first week of May. So if I can get this finalised this week, awesome! I've got my fingers crossed. 

The final draft of a story is usually when I feel the love once again. When I get swept up in the story, but can look at it objectively and fix anything that sticks out, doesn't make sense, or make any final alterations to the sentence structure, etc. Good times! I'm actually really looking forward to it.

I've also got an awesome upcoming book by Ericka Scott to read on my Kindle. This is one seriously engrossing story. I'm five chapters in and can't wait to get back into it. Great read!  

Other than that, we've also got a few real life things to tackle this week. We turned back our clocks this weekend, so night comes much sooner now. Ugh! That makes me feel a little too close to winter. I don't like winter. I try to keep a positive attitude during the cold months, but it's hard. At least autumn's cool. :)

Well, have a great week!

Saturday, 2 April 2011

I DON'T WANT TO KILL YOU by Dan Wells

Sixteen-year-old John Wayne Cleaver has always known he's different, but not because he only has one friend (and doesn't much like him) and not because he regularly helps out in his mother's mortuary. He's different because he recognizes the classic signs of an incipient serial killer in his own personality, and he's created a rigid set of rules to follow to keep his darker nature, the one he calls Mr Monster in check.

But John discovers it's the personality traits he so fears that put him in the best position to save the people of his town from a series of horrific and disturbing killers...

After absolutely loving the first and second books in the John Cleaver series, I couldn't wait to get stuck into this one... and it didn't disappoint.

John's not like other teenage boys. He doesn't have real friends, he tries to keep his distance from girls, he enjoys helping his mother in the family mortuary, he's an expert on serial killers, he has a set of rules he constantly recites to himself, and he's a sociopath. Oh, plus he's killed two demons. Evil demons that decided to terrorise his town. And now, there's a new demon in town and she's got her eye on John.

The new killer in town seems to be very ritualistic and kills public leaders. While John is trying to figure out how he can stop Nobody--the female demon he's sure is responsible for these deaths--he befriends Marci. However, not all is as it seems and for once, John might actually find himself up against a real serial killer, and another who is directly connected to the unexplained number of teenage suicides...

I particularly liked seeing how John dealt with a girlfriend--something he's never wanted, but unwillingly finds himself with. Marci, the hot girl in school who shouldn't technically even look his way, really affects him. She makes him realise that he's not as alone as he always thought he was, and that other people are also interested in murderers and what makes them tick. Their relationship was sweet, and tragic. And it changes John, in the most devastating way.

I Don't Want to Kill You is an awesome book! It's entertaining and dark, and I enjoyed it very much. It's just as addictive as the two before it and a real page-turner. I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next, but was saddened when I got to the end.

I really enjoyed this trilogy, and just found out that this will be the last book in the John Cleaver series. No! I could totally read more books with John as the narrator. Still, this was a wonderful end to John's trilogy. Not just because it intensified everything, but because we get to see a side of John we haven't seen before... in a very human way.

I Don't Want To Kill You, March 2011, ISBN 9780755348831, Headline Paperback

H&UFRC books read: 16/24

 
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