Gisseppii’s Book Blog (May – July 2017)

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May

The Kill Society (Sandman Slim, Bk.9) by Richard Kadrey *GR*

The Kill Society is about, Sandman Slim (aka James Stark), who finds himself on a mountain top in Tenebrae with no idea of how he got there or why.  He comes across a mysterious figure known as the Magistrate and his band of Mad Max wannabes (along with some familiar faces) and reluctantly joins their crusade to find a very special bullet for a very special gun.

I loved this book, couldn’t put it down, and I actually yelled when I got to the end (damn cliffhangers), which is rare for me. Stark’s snarky attitude and no bullshit behavior is on point, especially when dealing with (arch)angels. The reveal of the Magistrate was a surprise and the behavior of some of the angels, you would think they’d have learned by now.

I am a little confused as to how Stark can still move in and out of the shadows, I thought the Room of Thirteen Doors was locked, I may have missed a book along the way. Just a heads up, be sure to read ‘Devil in the Dollhouse: A Sandman Slim Story’ before you read this one, you’ll thank me later.

The Devil’s Triangle (A Brit in the FBI, Bk.4) by Catherine Coulter and J.T. Ellison *GR*

The Devil’s Triangle is about, Special Agents Drummond and Caine, who are asked by a notorious thief, the Fox, to look into unnatural weather phenomena that have plagued the Gobi desert and help her rescue her husband, Grant, after a transaction regarding the Ark of the Covenant has gone wrong.

This story had a lot going for it, a weather device utilizing Tesla’s coil and DaVinci’s drawing, the Bermuda Triangle, and a whip smart team to help stop a group of people from destroying the world and finding the Ark of the Covenant. I liked the end sequence with the twin’s mother and found the idea of corporations profiting off of a natural disaster (that isn’t so natural) interesting.

That is until the action, plot, and character details fall apart. The special FBI team reads more as the parents taking the kids on a vacation to Venice, Italy and stumbling across a mystery, Ajax and Cassandra are two dimensional and come across as cartoonish in their behavior (think Scooby Doo, rather than James Bond), and the constant reminder of how tough/skilled someone is (even when they are the complete opposite) and the overuse of their names is distracting.

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June

Montstrous (Savage, Bk.2) by Thomas Sniegoski *AB*

Monstrous is about, Sidney and friends, surviving the first wave of an alien invasion and realizing its not over, in fact, it’s spreading, this time to Boston. Sidney and company travel to Boston in an attempt to help and to find the source of power fueling the storm.

This was a well written sequel filled with strong characters (Sidney – determined, Clara – feisty and cantankerous, and Snowy – German Shepard, because everyone should have one like her), new horrors (“jellyfish”), and an ending that I wasn’t suspecting, a second wave of invasion if you will. Remind me to never answer my phone during an alien invasion, just saying.

I highly recommend this series, it is classified as teen fiction, but I think adults will like it as well. This is book two. The first book is called ‘Savage’ and I do recommend reading that one first, because ‘Monstrous’ picks up immediately after ‘Savage’.

Murder on Astor Place (Gaslight Mystery, Bk.1) by Victoria Thompson *GR*

Murder on Astor Place is about, Sarah Brandt, a midwife in New York City who reluctantly teams up with Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy to solve the murder of a young girl. Frank is on the fast track to becoming Captain and isn’t interested in wasting his time. Sarah isn’t interested in excuses. Both have their reasons and soon realize they have more in common than they originally thought.

I really liked this book, it was a fresh perspective on a cozy mystery. Set at the turn of the century when the roles of men and women were set, this book kicks that to the curb with a strong minded woman who is willing to get to the bottom of a crime and a man who is strong in his convictions.

I was surprised by the ending, I really didn’t see it coming and the reveal was well written. My heart broke for Frank and what he was going through at home, but frustrated and made me angry as well. I hope in the books after this one his relationship with his son is better, that little boy broke my heart.

The Calamity Café (A Down South Café Mystery, Bk.1) By Gayle Leeson

The Calamity Café is about, Amy Flowers, a woman who dreams of owning her own café filled with good people, a down home atmosphere style comfort food, and ends up having to clear her name when her boss is found murdered.

I love cozy mysteries and this is no exception. I great beginning to a new series with eclectic characters, a warm small town mentality, southern cooking, and amazing recipes to try. My favorite character is Homer. I love how he has a “hero” for everyday.

I accidentally read this out of order, started with book 2 (Silence of the Jams). I don’t think you need to read them in order, but it’s a good idea. Gayle Leeson is also a pseudonym for Gayle Trent (Daphne Martin Cake Mystery series and the Myrtle Crumb Mystery) and Amanda Lee (Embroidery Mysteries).

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July

The Second Sister: A Novel by Claire Kendal *GR*

The Second Sister is about, Ella Brooks, and her need to solve the mystery regarding her sister’s disappearance. Ella can still feel her sister’s presence and she has never stopped wondering about what had happened. At the request of her nephew, Ella, dives deeper into solving this mystery and finds more than she bargained for after meeting the man accused of taking Miranda.

I had a hard time with this one. There is a lot of one-sided conversation between Ella and her “dead sister” that was tough to get through and seemed unnecessary. I found myself at times wanting to skip ahead to the actual story rather than slogging through her constant internal dialogue. Also, she’s supposed to be a self defense instructor, which I thought was refreshing. You wouldn’t know it by reading the story.

The interactions between characters: Ella/Ted, Ella/Jason, Ella/Adam were two dimensional and little to no chemistry. Ella’s interaction with Jason Thorne was incredibly naive and over the top, for someone trained in self defense she should have been better prepared. The one good thing about this story was the dynamic between parents and child and how they process grief. One holding on so tightly and the others wanting to move on.

A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan *AB*

A Secret History of Witches is about, four generations of women, spanning the decades (19th century Brittany to World War II) filled with heartbreak, perseverance of spirit, determination, love and powerful (dangerous) magic.

I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but I really liked this story. I liked how it focused on four women over a large portion of time and how each one is as a different as the last. Each one finds her strengths, weaknesses, and while history repeats itself (in some cases), they do learn their lessons.

What I liked most was how different each of the women were, one being content with living in Brittany and not venturing forth out in the world, one learning from her mother’s trials and doing what must be done to protect her legacy, one who uses her magic for self gain and reaping what she has sown, and the last torn between love and doing her duty for god and country.

The Spy Across the Table (Jim Brodie, Bk.4) by Barry Lancet *AB*

The Spy Across the Table is about, Jim Brodie, an expert in Japanese antiquities and a private investigator who’s friends have been murdered and is asked by the First Lady to investigate, off the books. This request creates problems with Homeland Security and the NSA. Soon Jim discovers there is more to the story than originally thought.

I really enjoyed this novel. Fast paced, lots of action and intrigue, as well as multiple twists and turns with an ending I didn’t see coming. The history lessons regarding the Kabuki performances and Japanese art was fascinating. I really liked the characters, Zhou for example. He is intriguingly sinister and so well written.

There are a few light moments in the story, balances out the intensity and intrigue. For example, a scene where Jim is trying to get The First Lady on the phone while engaging in a standoff with Homeland Security. Combined with Jim’s street smarts and attitude, he tries and matched wits with Zhou, which is no easy feat. Highly Recommend.

The Last Hack (Jack Parlabane, Bk.8) by Christopher Brookmyre *AB*

The Last Hack is about, Sam Morpeth, a young female hacker who is left to fend for herself and her sister after their mother has been sent to prison. Sam is being blackmailed by someone called Zodiac and with the help of Jack Parlabane, they bargained for and realize they have more in common than they originally thought.

I liked this story, it’s filled with a lot of techno speak and intrigue. Both Sam and Jack have a specialized set of skills that compliment each other and a healthy level of distrust towards one another. Then again, Sam, is blackmailing Jack into helping her. I liked how Sam and Jack’s connection was revealed and how everyone involved ties together.

While you don’t have to read the books that came before this, I would recommend it. There are a number of moments that refer to Jack’s past and why he has to rebuild his journalistic career, but doesn’t really include a lot of backstory. The story is slow in a little places, but it does have a good message about cyber bullying (Keisha).

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