Monday, January 11, 2016

2015, Part 10

Sweet Revenge by Lynsay Sands- Kyla is being taken to the MacGregors, to marry their Laird. But when her party is attacked by men led by Galen MacDonald, he is there to abduct her to marry her, because the Laird of MacGregor killed his wife and unborn child, and he means to take Laird MacGregor's promised bride away in revenge. But when he finds her, she is injured, raving and in a fever. When she rises from the cart to attack one of the MacDonalds, they are impressed, but when she passes out after being put on her back, Galen is worried. And when he realizes she is running a fever, he takes her to the shore and bathes her in the water, and also gets turned on by her body and they share a kiss. When they get to the island that is the MacDonald land, he marries her. But when she recovers, she doesn't know what happened. Can she discover what she has agreed to while she was dead. And when she and one of the MacDonald women are kidnapped by the MacGregor and his men, and can she save her brother  from the horrible woman he married, who tried to kill him. This was a good book and I really enjoyed the story. Lynsay Sands is ususally one of my go-to writers for vampire books, but this one had nothing to do with vampires. Instead it's historical and based in medieval Scotland. I liked the book. I liked the feistiness of the heroine and how the hero genuinely liked and appreciated her. I also loved the story, and all the threads that wove together to make it up. Recommended.

Vampire Sunrise by Carole Nelson Douglas- Delilah Street is a private eye in Las Vegas, a Vegas which is filled with CineSims, a kind of zombie based on Characters and Actors from Black and White movies and television, Vampires and Werewolves. But right now, Delilah is more worried about her FBI lover, Ricardo Montoyo, aka Ric, Aka The Cadaver Kid. When she rescues him from the Karnak and the vampires who reign there, he is dead, but a kiss from her, along with her Silver Familiar, brings him back to life. To bring him back to consciousness, she even goes to Washington D.C. to bring back his mother, a psychologist, to help get him over the trauma of being drained unto death. But when she finally gets him back, she gets drawn into the case of the woman she sees in the mirror. The woman is the daughter of the Werewolf Mob Boss, Cesar Cicereau. She was killed, along with her vampire lover and fiancé, were killed by both sides, but now Loretta has had her fiancé brought back, and is seeking to come back herself. Delilah finds out that Loretta and her vampire Prince were killed because both the vampires and the Werewolves were afraid that they would have children, which was a threat to both families. And when Ric wants to go back to the Karnak and free the slaves of the vampires blood hunger, Delilah and her hound, Quicksilver, go along, only to free an Egyptian God named Shazmou, brother of the God named Bez. But when Delilah tries to find out who is behind the Karnak, and also to find Lilith, the woman who looks just like her. Plus, she must also deal with Snow, the sexy vampire who gave her the Brimstone Kiss in the first place. But can she and Ric overcome the vampires of the Karnak and find Quicksilver when he goes missing. And can she do it all without losing someone that she dearly loves? I found this an interesting novel. Delilah looks like a screen siren from the 1950's, except more curvy, and I liked not only her, and her obvious psychological problems, but that she deals with them and is freaked out about them appropriately. I found this an interesting novel. This isn't the first book in the series, it's the third. Recommended.

Blood Memories by Barb Hendee- Eleisha Clevon may look young and innocent, which makes people want to take care of her, but she's neither young nor innocent. Eleisha is a vampire. And her innocence is just one of the ways she hunts. When her fellow vampire and friend Edward kills himself, she is with him, trying to persuade him to stay alive. But Edward has become unhinged- storing the bodies of animals and humans in his house, not to mention trying to cook and eat real food. He dashes out into the morning light and burns into ashes. Eleisha stays in his house through the day, tucked into a hidden space in the cellar. She is upset about Edward's suicide, but when he died, she made a mental connection with one of the men in the front yard. When he later tracks her down in a bar, she is freaked out, and she takes her charge, William, and goes in search of another vampire she knows, Maggie. Maggie takes her in and takes care of her and William. But when the same man shows up with another man and kills Maggie, she ends up making a mental connection with the man, a human psychic working with the police named Wade. Wade wants to know about Eleisha, but his companion, Dom, wants to kill not only Maggie, but William and Eleisha as well. Dom, who is another psychic, a psychometrist.who believes all vampires are heartless killers. But when Dom kills William, Eleisha and Wade flee together, and Eleisha discovers some things that she thought about Vampires are not only wrong, but deliberately misleading. But can Eleisha survive the vengeance of the vampire who made her when she discovers the truth? This was a new series from Barb Hendee, and while it took me a little bit to get into, Eleisha's story sucked me right in, and while Wade didn't interest me, I thought the truth behind the vampires was interesting, and how it took going into the minds of both the heroes, and one vampire who was not exactly a hero, but not exactly a villain, either, to discover the truth. Since this is going to be (at least) a trilogy, I am looking forward to more of Eleisha's story and seeing what other vampires might be left. Recommended.

All the Ways to Ruin a Rogue by Sophie Jordan-  When Aurelia was a child, her brother William brought home his friend, Maxim Alexander Chandler, Viscount Camden, and Aurelia fell instantly in love with him. But when she finally became a young woman, she wanted nothing more than to confess her feelings for him. But when she stumbled on Max and a servant girl having an assignation in the greenhouse, her heart is broken. When she makes a satirical picture of him as a devil with a small penis, his companions find the picture and call him "Cockless Chandler", he knows who drew the picture and begins to loathe her, thinking her a cold and calculating young woman. Now, years later, Aurelia's father is dead, having dissipated most of the family fortune. William has married a woman named Violet, and is trying to repair the family fortunes. This involved selling off most of the family properties, including the dower house, which has left Aurelia and her mother living with William and his wife. But Aurelia and Max are still enemies, tearing strips off each other every time they see each other. But when Aurelia becomes aware that her mother will be leaving at the end of the season, she decides that she must marry to have a life of her own, rather than going off and living with her aunt near Scotland. But much to his surprise, Max is told by William that he needs to stop living like a boy and live life as a man. And that means settling down and stopping chasing women and sleeping around. But Max can't because he's still hurting about the death of his parents and his sister. Yet, he finds he can't stand the idea of Aurelia marrying anyone- unless its him. But can Aurelia thaw his heart once she discovers that she never really got over her love for him?  I loved this book. I didn't like when Aurelia and Max hated each other, but I liked the sparks they struck off each other every time they crossed wits. I really didn't like when Max piled on when other people were hurting Aurelia- that made me really start to dislike Max. and I ended up not quite liking him at the end, because it isn't until the very end that he repents- and only after Aurelia leaves him. I didn't think he deserved her at that point. Yes, I get that he was hurting, but I despised him for how he treated her. So, recommended, but not highly.

A History of the Guillotine by Allister Kershaw- The Guillotine came to life just before the Revolution in France, and was used to kill both criminals and people whom the crown and the Revolution felt were enemies of the state. But while Dr. Guillotin proposed the machine, it was based on earlier machines. There was also a man called Louis who advocated the execution device, from which it was occasionally called the "Louisette", in his honor. This book traces the rise of the Guillotine, its construction, and then, the job it did and the men who did their duty by killing other men, along with their problems as the era went on, from how they were paid to their problems and the problems of even their relatives had in marrying and the way that children of the executioners experienced in trying to leave the profession or even marry outside of the other executioner families. This was a very interesting book, which went beyond the examination of the killing machine itself to look at the society and people who brought it to life and made it possible. It's not a long book, but I did find it interesting and fascinating. Recommended.

Veiled Truth by Vivi Anna- Lyra Magice is a sorceress, and quite a good one, working for Nocturne PD. Five years ago, she nearly fell victim to Dhampir Theron Lenoir's wiles. But now, she is in Europe, where Theron is giving a lecture about Ancient Texts. After, he invites her to view his collection in his home, and when Lyra sees a grimoire that could be used to help solve a series of murders back in Nocturne, she asks to borrow it, but Theron refuses. Feeling she has no choice, she knocks him out and steals the tome, bringing it back to Nocturne with her. Theron follows her, and instead of getting Lyra in trouble, he agrees to help with the investigation. But while Theron must make his nods to the other vampires in town, he comes to attention because of his father, a very old, very domineering vampire. Theron has magic of his own, but even he seems unequal to the task of keeping Lyra safe, especially when it seems that the killer, whomever he or she is, has designs on Lyra herself. But can they discover who is behind the killings, and bring them to justice, And can they find love with each other after their tense past? I didn't expect much out of this book, since it was a category romance and yet, this book went way beyond the usual category romance to really appeal to me. I loved the world and all the different characters and parts of this world. Recommended.

The Legend of Lyon R3edmond by Julie Anne Long- The Redmonds and the Everseas have been enemies for a long time. But when Lyon Redmond sees Olivia Eversea at a ball, he immediately falls for her. Since their families are so opposed to each other, they must sneak around to see each other. Plus, Lyon's father wants him to marry another woman, which causes friction between them, But when Lyon finally confesses his love for Olivia to his father and wants to marry her, his father threatens to disown him, and Lyon leaves and goes to Olivia and asks her to leave with him and marry him. But she doesn't want to leave her family, and he calls her a coward and leaves. Five years later, Olivia is getting set to marry a man named Landsdowne, but her heart really isn't in it. When she starts seeing reminders of Lyon Redmond everywhere, Olivia is torn between laughter at some of the ridiculous things they are claiming about Lyon. But when Lyon shows up to carry her off to his own personal estate, can he convince her to throw over her engagement to get back together with him, and what will the result be among their own families? I probably should have liked this book more, but it was only okay. The book is a mix of modern-day and "back five years ago" parts. Which just made the story seem choppy and I wondered who was going to betray Olivia in the present day. And I was right. The ending was nice, but went on too long, even if they referenced characters in the novel. This was only okay.

Five Ghosts by Frank J. Barbiere, Chris Mooneyham and Lauren Affe- Fabian Gray is a treasure hunter, and quite a successful one. But when he encounters an item called a "Dreamstone", there is a terrible accident and his sister is put into a coma, and the dreamstone fuses with Fabian's body, allowing him to call on the ghosts of five literary characters to help him out in his travels. These are "The Hunter", analogous to Robin Hood, "The Samurai"- Miyamoto Musashi, "The Monster"- Dracula, "The Detective"- Sherlock Holmes and "The Magician"- Merlin. With the aid of these ghosts, Fabian can overcome almost any obstacle- except returning his sister from her coma. But he is in search of more Dreamstone, and even "The Isle of Dreams", where it is said that any dream can come true. But can Fabian find the Island with the help of his friends, Sebastian, Jezebel and another woman with Dreamstone embedded in her cheeks, who can call on the aid of her own Ghost, Sinbad? Or will Sebastian be foiled by his old friend turned foe, Iago? I had never seen this series, or even heard about it, until it turned up at my Library, and then I picked it up when I saw that a co-worker and fellow comics enthusiast had it on hold, I picked it up for myself. It's an excellent book, with great art and an engaging story. I liked the introduction of dreamstone and found myself wondering about it. It allows people to call upon the assistance of literary characters, and the ghosts aren't really identified- these are just "best guesses" on the part of myself. and other readers of the series, though it's clear that "The Detective" is clearly meant to be Sherlock Holmes, based on the fact that when Fabian is attempting to get the ghosts to agree to help him, he must struggle to "221B". And the character even looks like Holmes.. Highly recommended.

Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir by Stan Lee, Pter David and Colleen Doran- This comic is a biography of Stan Lee, from the time when he was just a child, to early 2015, told in his own words and framed as Stan Lee giving a talk about himself. He also interacts with himself as a kid, at least three times. In it, he reveals his early life, his triumphs in the publishing field, and his defeats as well. At a time, he was ready to quit the comics industry because he was convinced that the kind of stories comics were telling was killing the industry, but his wife told him that he should make comics the way he thought was right- if he was successful, he'd have revived the industry- if he was wrong, and comics died, well, he'd planned on quitting anyway, so what did he have to lose? Of course, he did revive the industry by making comics characters more realistic and relatable. Teenagers who actually had real teenage concerns, and so on, Characters who were other than brawny jock he-men, like Reed Richards  the brainy, thin scientist, and Bruce Banner, the alter-ego of the Hulk. Also, a lot of alliteration of names. This is a fun and interesting graphic novel, and I enjoyed it from start to finish. The writing is excellent, and the art by Colleen Doran is clean and clear- easy to understand. Highly recommended.

Led Astray: The Best of Kelley Armstrong by Kelley Armstrong- This book contains 23 different short stories by Kelley Armstrong. All of the stories have been published before, in short story collections. Some of the stories are in the "Caineville collection, about a town run and full of faeries.  "Rakshasi" involves a Rakshasa who wants to be free of her master, but to do that, she will have to find a way to kill a man who she may not attack, "Kat" has a woman raised by a vampire have to cope when her foster mother is attacked by vampire hunters, "A Haunted House of Her Own" has a woman who wants to own a "Haunted House" inn. But when it seems that something in the house wants her dead, will she get her wish? "Learning Curve" has a vampire being stalked by hunters. What will she do with them? "The Screams of Dragons" has a boy who dreams of golden fields in his dreams. But burdened with a grandmother who thinks he is a dangerous Changeling, will he become the savior Cainesville needs? "The Kitsune's Nine Tales" has a bunch of guards sent to exile a traitor, but will they listen to the Emperor's advice about him? "Last Stand"- During the Zombie Apocalypse, one woman desperately tries to keep her race alive.  "Bamboozled" has a vampire and her hunter who move from town to town- why? "Branded" is a post-apocalyptic story about a girl in a fortress in the west. When the boy she loves stands to be revealed as a werewolf, what actions she will take to be with him? "The List" is about a vampire who is left off a list of "official vampires" made by an academic. What will she do to get on the list? "Young Bloods" has a young man who encounters a bunch of young vampires in a subway cat. But what will they do to him? "The Door" is another Post-Apocalyptic tale of a young girl whose parents must leave the house to scavenge for food and material to survive. When they pass on, who is left to take up their job? "Dead Flowers by a Roadside" has a man wrecked by the deaths of his wife and child in search of their spirits. But how will he find them? "Suffer the Children" tells the story of Addie, a survivor of her parents death and the village in which many children have died of a sickness. But when the mayor will do *anything* to bring the children back, especially his dead son, what will be the effect on the village? And what actions will be condone to get what he wishes? "The Collector" has a collector of Puzzles who is intrigued by a puzzle website and when they win a prize, goes to collect. But what is the prize, and does the collector want it? "Gabriel's Gargoyles" takes us back to Cainesville, and the town contest of finding all the Gargoyles. Can Gabe find them all and get the prize he wants for his aunt? "Harbringer" has a girl at college being haunted by the drowned dead. But can she interpret their message in time?  "V Plates" has a were who wants to lose his virginity. But when the whorehouse he goes to is one of the dead, will he survive the experience? "Life Sentence" has an executive who wants the perks of being undead without any of the drawbacks. Can he find the happy medium before he runs out of test subjects? "Plan B" has a man who wants to kill his wife and marry his mistress. But will events go as he planned? "The Hunt" has a pair of hunters who book "a Real English Hunt" and get far more than they bargained for... "Dead to Me" has a woman haunted by her dead husband's ghost. How can she be rid of him? And "Devil May Care" has a Welsh Trickery Fairy taken for quite a rise by a girl who seduced him. Can he keep his son safe from and with her? This is quite a collection of stories. I loved this entire book, but my favorite stories were the Cainville stories. If you haven't read much of Kelley Armstrong, or even if you have, this book has lots to enjoy and much to enjoy and much to discover, all to the good. Highly recommended.

Too Dangerous for a Lady by Jo Beverly- Lady Hermione Merryhew is on her way to see a relative who might give her and her married sister some money when he dies. In the Inn, a man intrudes into her room in the middle of the night. It's worse, because she actually knows him. At a long ago party in London, she met a dashing young Lieutenant named Mark Thayne. Now Mark, calling himself Ned Granger, is employed as a soy, ferreting out a group, known as the Crimson Band, who want to do the kind of overthrow in England, that the people in Paris did against the King. Mark has just stolen the plans for a series of letter bombs from the leader of the group's wife, Solange, a former revolutionary in France. She is the one who is most pushing the group towards violent, armed rebellion. And now, since he stole the plans, the group will be on his tail. But he doesn't tell Hermione what he is doing. He allows her to believe he is down on his luck and  stealing to survive. He stays most of the night and moves on in the morning. In the morning her sister and family move on, but another chance encounter with Mark puts her on Solange's radar, and she sends one of her bullyboys, the Boothroyds., after Hermione. But when Mark goes after Hermione and her family with the help of his old friend, Braydon, he ends up killing one of the Boothroyd brothers and decides to stick around and keep her safe from the Crimson Brand while Braydom continues on to London to notify Mark's boss. But as Mark and Hermione grow closer, she wants to go to London with her relative, Edgar, to find a possible cure for the disease he has. But can Mark keep her safe from the remaining Boothroyd Brother and Solange and her murderous ways, and even if he can keep her safe, will he want to marry her when he has such an important job for the government, and could she live with the uncertainty of such a job? I really enjoyed this book. I liked the main character except that the main heroine's name crossed with the nom de espionage of the male character made me keep thinking "Hermione Granger", which is a problem for those who read and loved Harry Potter. Also, this is the second female character named Hermione which I read recently. I wonder why, and if the name is becoming popular *because* of Harry Potter. But the character is very much not Harry Potter's Hermione, and is a wonderful character in her own right. I also loved how she is willing to argue with Mark and she even wins, and he's able to acknowledge when she is right. I loved this book, and I would definitely recommend this to others. Highly recommended.

Instinct: The Chronicles of Nick by Sherrilyn Kenyon- Nick Gautier is a perhaps a typical young Cajun boy of New Orleans. But Nick isn't so typical. He's the son of a Demon called the Malichai, and as such, he has the power to bring on the apocalypse. Now that Nick's father is dead, Nick has inherited his powers, but he can't use them without losing part of his soul. But now, Nick's friend and bodyguard, Caleb, is sick, and something has taken away his demon powers. He's no more than a regular human. Also, it seems that something or someone set off the Apocalypse early, and when his mother is caught in the crossfire, Nick must go in search of the fruit which could save her life and restore Caleb. But as he finds out that he's even been more lied to when his aunt Menyara is actually a goddess named Cam who took away his mother's memory and was responsible for her meeting his father and becoming pregnant. But on his sojourn in the otherworld, Nick comes to know and trust Aeon, a Celtic God of Warfare. And when Livia betrays him, can Nick come back and keep from unleashing the wrath of the Malichai on the world? I loved this book, but it seems that the series is coming to an end. Nick is getting better with every moment, and his future self, Ambrose, has lost the power to contact him from the future. But I still want to read more. I enjoy young Nick before he becomes Ambrose, and I wonder what, if any, effect this series will have on Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark-Hunter series, and Nick/Ambrose's future in that world. Highly recommended.

Jeweled Fire by Sharon Shinn- Princess Corene of Welce has gone to Malinqua with her with the Empress, Filomara, to possibly marry one of her nephews and ascend to the throne. But she isn't the only princess there. Along with her is Melissande, Princess of Cozique, and Alette, Princess of Dhonsho. There is also Liramelli, daughter to the Prime Minister of Malinqua. With Corene is her bodyguard, Foley, the only person she brought with her from Welce. From Melissande, she learns that in addition to Steff, Filomara's grandson by her daughter Aravani, she has three possible heirs: Garameno, her oldest nephew and best suited to lead, but crippled in a horse-riding accident years ago; Jiramondi, her second nephew, and as Melissande calls him, "Sublime", in other words, interested sexually only in men, and Greggorio, her third nephew, strong in body, but pretty much an idiot when it comes to ruling a nation. But it seems that Greggorio was romancing a woman named Sarona, but when her body is found in the secret well beneath the palace, Corene begins wondering who might have wanted her dead, and why.she was killed while supposedly running away from the Palace. When it seems that someone wants Alette dead as well, as she is getting close to Greggorio, Corene and Melissande must keep the Dhonshon princess safe and return her to the man she loves. But when the festival welcoming Steff to the country turns murderous, Corene will have to save herself from a murderer who wants his own chosen heir on the throne. But can Corene, who has decided not to marry for the throne after all, discover what she really wants to do with her life, and who she wants to be with for the rest of her life? I loved this book, which is part of the Welce Royal Family stories. But it seems that the next story will revolve around Lucy, one of Darien Serlast's secret agents/spies. I hope I'm wrong, but maybe not. I enjoyed this book, which was an excellent mystery as well as a romance and adventure. I enjoyed every bit of the story and the characters, which really made the story shine. Highly recommended.

Superman: Sunday Classics- This book collects four years of Sunday Comics from the Superman Comic strip, which apparently was a whole different set of stories. Because these were published during the War years, many of the stories have to deal with Superman working on keeping up America's morale during the war, and with a short story of Superman rounding up Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini and bringing them before the world court in Geneva. They were good stories, albeit some of them went on for far too long, like the one with the Carnival of Stars from Hollywood touring the country to raise money for war bonds. Still it's not a bad collection and feels really hefty and weighty, with lots of story to get through. Recommended.

The Tower of Ravens by Kate Forsyth- No Horn is a half-Satyricorn who is unlike the rest of her tribe. She is about to become a woman, which means that she will be killed by the rest of the tribe if she hasn't grown horns. So she decides she must leave. And when she sees a group of winged, horned horses, she decides to make her escape on one. When her tribe catches the prisoner she freed, she kills him and takes his stuff and adds his teeth and a fingerbone to her necklace. When she makes her escape, she lands near the farm of Lewen and his parents, a former guard to the Righ and his mother, a healer and former priestess, along with her sister. They rename her Rhiannon and live with her until the group comes to pick up Lewen when they come to escort him to the capital city to join the guard. But as they and the other students head for the capital and choose the wrong area of the country, where a lord is trying to keep them in his castle and not let them travel on. But why? And why is his healer trying to kill Rhiannon? And can they get out of the castle before they find out why? I liked this book a lot. It had a great story, great characters and wonderful world building. I liked Rhiannon, and when her secret came out, it was amazing. I liked how she interacted with the other students and with Lewen himself. I liked how they fell in love and their time together, and  how the other characters came to know Rhiannon and her character. Highly recommended.

The Devious Dr. Jeckyll by Viola Carr- Eliza Jeckyll, daughter of Henry, also has a second side, Lizzy Hyde. She has fallen for a Royal Society Soldier, Remy, who is infected with a disease that turns him into a werewolf. But when a painter is killed, Remy brings Eliza in to find the killer. But the truth is mixed up with Dangerous French spies, Her father, and her many friends and acquaintances. But who are the incorruptibles and what is their secret, and what may it do with a plot against the Queen? This book is the sequel to "The Dangerous Lizzie Hyde". Here, Eliza Jeckyll hasn't been having a good year. She hasn't become the doctor or police scientist she wanted to be, despite catching the villain of the last book-= and letting Razor Jack go. And her relationship with Remy has stalled, since he proposed to her, and she turned him down, flat. Now, we get to see more of Remy's family, and meet his boss, based on the real-life Ada Lovelace. I really enjoyed this book, but Eliza never wears the lovely blue dress she is depicted in on the cover. Seriously. Recommended.

First Time with a Highlander by Gwyn Cready- Gerard Innes is an ad executive who has just had a really successful presentation. But when he drinks some *really* old Kerr whiskey, he winds up back in the 1700's, where Serafina Seonag Fallon has made a wish for a man, using her friend's magical herbs and whiskey- also Kerr whiskey. She needs a man who looks like her fiancé, Edward, to get back her cargo from the ship which is said to be bringing it in. Not only that, but when Gerard wakes up in the bed of Sera's friend, Abby, she has a gold wedding ring on one hand. It's hard for Gerard to believe that he has somehow been swept into the past, but he can't help but use his marketing expertise to help people in the past. But as he draws closer to the beautiful woman, he can't help but want to stay with her. But when Serafina's friend Undine tries to undo the summoning and send Gerard back to his old life, can he stop the magic and remain where his heart is? I picked up this book because it seems it's always the woman who ends up in the past, but this book has the MAN being the one drawn into the past- but this isn't the first book by Gwyn Cready with a male character coming to the past from the future. I liked the reversal of the usual trope and I liked how Gerard and Sera fell in love. This book is recommended, but the silliness level of some of the stuff that happens may not exactly be your jam.

After the Storm by Maya Banks- The Kelly family is right up there when it comes to helping people in trouble. So when adopted daughter Rusty finds a teenage boy looking for a job, she hires him to help out in the family hardware store. The young man, Travis, is trying to earn money for hiss sister, Eve, who ran away from her mother's second husband, and brought her two half-siblings with her when he started looking to turn her four year old half-sister into his "perfect wife". But when she took her relatives and ran from him, he had records falsified that make it seem like she is a deranged mental patient who could be dangerous to the two children she abducted. And Walt, her mother's second husband, is still on the search for her, so Evie can't go to the cops for help, or come to the attention of anyone who would try and "help" her, like doctors or social services. So when Travis comes to the attention of Rusty Kelly, Eve thinks that they must run, especially when Donovan Kelly promises to bring by a Doctor to see Evie's sick sister Cammie. But when a storm moves in and causes a tornado that takes the shitty trailer in which she and her siblings are living, Donovan and his team rescue Travis, Cammie and Evie and bring them to the Kelly family compound, Donovan falls in love with Evie. But when he decides to help her by taking out Walt, she overhears his plans and thinks he plans to betray her to save her half-siblings. But by the time Donovan finds out, she has already fled. Can Donovan find and rescue Evie before her Father-in-Law has her turned into a vegetable? This was a good romance that I really enjoyed. It was not hard to feel for Evie, who is trying to do her best by her half-sister and brother. She's been watching over her sister, who is sick, while her teenaged brother Travis finds a job to buy them food and medicine for Cammie. But all her work is for naught. Her sister is still sick and the horrible trailer she paid so much money to rent is destroyed. Later in the book, she thinks she is about to lose everything that means anything to her. This made me really feel for the heroine and made me feel that Donovan was that much more of a hero, and when he seems to betray her, it sent a pang right through me. Highly recommended.

Return of Scandal's Son by Janice Preston- Lady Eleanor Ashby is going to London after an unfortunare fire in her home, only for one of her horses to be shot while she and her aunt are on the road, resulting in an accident. She stops the carriage on the road behind them to prevent a second accident and meets Matthew Thomas, a merchant who is travelling to meet a cargo ship carrying his partner. But when Matthew realizes that someone is trying to kill Eleanor and makes sure to stick around so that she will be safe. But Matthew has secrets of his own, and as he grows close to Eleanor, he finds himself wanting to make peace with his own family. And Eleanor has old, unhealed  traumas of her own. Can the two of them overcome their adversarial relationship and find love together? I liked this book, which gave both hero and heroine equally screwed up pasts and emotional traumas. I liked this rather even-handed treatment of hero and heroine, and I liked the romance story. Recommended,

The Pirate Hunter by Laura Martin- William Greenacre is a Pirate Hunter, brought to the Caribbean by the Navy to catch the Pirate, Del Torres. But on his way there, he is shipwrecked, and barely makes it to the island, where he is rescued by Mia Del Torres, the infamous pirate's sister. But when she is taken prisoner by the governor of the island, she is told that she will be hanged unless she helps Will capture her brother. While everyone else on the ship seems to despise her, Will realizes that she has had nothing to do with her brother for years. He is also attracted to Mia, and loves her for helping to rescue him. But while she has helped him to find  her brother, when he is killed by William, someone needs to pay- and that someone seems to be Mia. Can William rescue Mia from the forces of law and those who see her as nothing more than a pirate whore? Another good story, which comes very quickly, but I liked the characters and the storyline, and the problems and tensions they encountered piqued my interest. Recommended.

Christian Seaton: Duke of Danger by  Carole Mortimer- Christian Seaton is in France to find out about the death of a French Spy who died. While in Paris, he goes into a tavern and meets Lisette, one of the tavern servers. Christian is entranced with the young woman, but the owner of the tavern warns  him off- the girl is her niece. But when Lisette agrees to meet Christian, it is to warn her that her aunt has decided to kill him for the "crime" of wanting her. Christian pooh-poohs her concerns, but when he is shot, along with the groom on his carriage, she comes back to help him. To keep her safe from her aunt's friends, Christian takes Lisette back to England when he recovers. But Lisette has many secrets, not all of which she knows, and when her secrets come out, it could mean that Lisette's secrets will change the ideas between the two nations. But will Lisette be able to find a future with Christian, or will her hurt feelings towards him in prevent them from getting together? I found this book only mildly interesting. Christian Seaton wasn't that interesting to me, but Lisette made up for it. I found her far more interesting, and a better character. Recommended, but not by much.

Born of Betrayal by Sherrilyn Kenyon.- Fain Hauk was once the most renowned men on his home planet of Adarian. But when his fiancée, Galene Batur, believes he is cheating on her with a human, she pushes him out of his military school locker room into the auditorium fully naked. He wasn't but he refused to tell her she was wrong. But when they meet twenty years later, Galene has become the leader of the Adarians military, she is put in charge of the liaising with the allies of the sentella. But the person she has to work with is... Fain Hauk, who she still holds a significant grudge against. And Fain is disgusted by the younger man she lives with, who he assumes is her lover as well as adjutant. But her live-in is actually their son, Talyn Batur. When he finds out the truth, he begins to try and make it up to her, and she, who never actually stopped loving him, begins to see how bad his life has been since they broke up. But when someone tries to kill Talyn and hurt Galene, can Fain keep her safe and get back in her heart, or will their past dispute sour their chances of love forever? I liked this book, mainly because Fain Hauk has appeared in past books by Sherrilyn Kenyon, and he had an okay history as opposed to a relentlessly horrible one. I also liked how strong Galene was, and her relationship with her son, Talyn. I liked how Talyn acted as their chaperone while they were "courting", and the end of both relationships. Recommended.

Angel of Storm by Trudi Canavan- Rielle and Tyen are two different people from very different worlds. Rielle has been surviving as a weaver in a small town, whereas Tyen has become a teacher at a mage school. But when a the Angel, Valhan, returns, and says that he is going to take Rielle back to his world, as she has "paid back" all the magic she stole, by making things. But when he leaves her in the world of Inekera, Inekere tests Rielle's magic and abandons her in a different world, where she gets rescued and taken along with the Travelers, who travel between worlds. She also meets Baluka, the son of the travelers in charge of the band who rescued her. He is interested in her, and becomes even more interested as he teaches her some magic and wants her to learn more. Meanwhile, Tyen's school closes when it is learned that Raen, an extremely powerful magician, has returned after 20 years away, nobody knows where, exactly. No oner wants Raen around, but there are many plans to get rid of him, such as stranding him on a dead world, which has no magic, and would leave him there until he dies. But now that he is back, numerous academies of magic on many worlds will have to close, as Raen doesn't want there to be travel between worlds, or for people to be taught magic. With nowhere else to go, Tyen warns several friends of his about Raen's return, but when Raen catches up to him, Tyen feels compelled to agree to spy for him on the rebels who are determined to fight against him, in order to save his book, who is a woman turned into a book by Raen's predecessor. Meanwhile, Baluka has fallen in love with Rielle and asks her to marry him, and she agrees. But before she can marry him, Raen, who she knew as Valhan, and has been arguing that Her Angel is not Raen, discovers that he is, but leaves her relationship with Baluka to learn magic under the tutelage of Raen's friend, Dahli. But when she finds that learning magic made her ability to make magic go away. But when disappears, can he count on Rielle's help in bringing him back to life? I found this book interesting, but I was interested in seeing if Tyen and Rielle would meet, and as I suspect, end up together. I knew Rielle would probably not end up with Baluka or Valhan/Raen. I found Rielle's story a bit more interesting than Tyen's, but on the whole, the book is incredibly interesting and amazing read. Recommended.

Shadowrealm by Paul S. Kemp- Erevis Cale and Riven return to the Lathanderites with Abelar in order to see his son, Elden. When the Lathanderites flee ahead of the Shadowstorm into Shadevar lands, the Shadevar refuse to let them in until they destroy Kesson Rel. Also, Brennus wants to kill off his brother, Rivalen, so when their father tells Brennus to send Rivalen to Erevis Cale so that they can steal Kesson Rel's divinity from him. But when they go to Kesson Rel's homeworld, it is inhabited by countless wraiths who were made and left behind by Kesson Rel, and who blame him, quite rightly, since he left them there to die. But when Erevis drinks from the chalice where Kesson Rel obtained his divinity, he doesn't immediately become a god, it confers merely the possibility to become a god, and he must discover how to turn that ability into actually being a god, and then save the Lathanderites when they decide to stand against the shadows of the shadowstorm. But when the Lathanderites are about to be overwhelmed. can Erevis Cale and his friends bring the encounter to a successful conclusion? And what will happen when Erevis, Riven and Rivalen take on Kesson Rel? I liked this book, though I didn't read either of the first two books. This book leads into the one where Erevis Cale comes back to life, revived by Magadon, and Rivalen. So. I sort of knew where this was heading, but it was still good and interesting to read as well. This set up a very creditable threat in the Shadowstorm and made me fear it. I loved reading the book, and seeing how Kesson Rel failed, and how he was brought down. Recommended.

Murder on St. Nicholas Avenue by Victoria Thompson- Frank Malloy and Sarah Brandt have gotten married and are in Europe for their honeymoon. While they are away, a friend of Mrs. Malloy, Frank's mother, visits her, wanting help for her daughter, Una, who has been arrested for supposedly killing her husband. Maeve tells her that Frank Malloy isn't home, but maybe they can help her anyway. They call on Gino Donatelli, who has been re-hired as a beat cop on the force, and Maeve and Gino go to the house where Una and her husband lived. There, they discover that Una's husband beat her, and there was a giant argument between her husband  Well, they assumed it was her. But it turns out that her husband had a few visitors on the day he died, including the brother of his first wife, his partner, and possibly others. But while Maeve and the Deckers look into her husband's finances, Maeve has removed almost $38,000 from the safe in the game. But as they look into Mr. Pollock's affairs, they have to discover not only who killed him, but who searched the house, and the apartment of Pollock's partner. But can they uncover the right information and who was behind the crimes?  I loved this book, which involved the more peripheral characters from the series, such as Gino, Maeve and the Deckers. The story was interesting and kept me interested and reading all the way through. I started out feeling sorry for Una, but by the end, I didn't like her very much at all. This was fine, and the fact that I cared about the character was excellent news. Highly recommended.

A Christmas Escape by Anne Perry- When Charles Latterly, Hester's brother, travels to a small meditteranean island over the Christmas Holiday looking for a place to escape to after the death of his wife, he doesn't find it as peaceful as he wishes it would be. For one thing, one of the guests, Mr, Walker-Bailey is a very unpleasant man who spends his time baiting another guest, a Mr. Quinn. who is a writer, trying to annoy the other man, which makes his wife frantic, especially when he accuses one of the guests of trying to kill him. Luckily, Charles meets a fourteen year old girl, the granddaughter of one of the guests, a Candace Finbar, whose bright personality and inquisitive mind, keep him interested and entertained. But when the volcanic mountain at the center of the island begins to erupt, it will be up to Charles to get everyone to safety, and discover the identity of a murderer. But will he survive the confrontation? I liked this book. I don't remember Charles Latterly as a character in any of the books, but I liked the other characters and especially Candace, as she and Charles end up in a family together at the end. I liked how she and Charles got along together and how they interacted. Highly recommended.

How to Fake a Moon Landing: Exposing the Myths of Science Denial by Darryl Cunningham- This hardcover graphic novel shows readers why these denials are wrong when it comes to the science involved and why you shouldn't believe them, either. The books cover seven different subjects: The Moon Hoax, Homeopathy, Chiropractic, The MMR vaccine Scandal, Evolution, Fracking and Climate Denial, along with a small section at the end on Science Denial in general, why it happens and why it is comforting to those who engage in it. I loved this book, because it presents the reasons why you shouldn't reject the science, and  how things actually went down. The art is very minimal, except where it reproduces pictures of people and I liked that Darryl Cunningham went out of his way to show the real science and why you should reject the devialists' version. Recommended.

The Rebel Daughter by Lauri Robinson. Twyla Nightingale is a true daughter of the roaring twenties, right down to her flapper dress and bootlegging father. Her family runs a resort in Minnapolis which serves liquor, and when Forrest Reynolds shows up, she's upset, because she thinks he is here to romance her sister Norma Rose, who was once Forrest's girl, until he left them all nehind after he left to go to college. She once loved Forrest herself, but she's more worried that Forrest will interfere in Norma Rose's upcoming marriage to Ty Barrington, a lawyer who also tracks down crooks for the government. But Forrest has a reason for coming back to tow, and it has to do with his father, who is in prison in California for money laundering and counterfeiting and may be getting out of prison soon. Her father hates Twyla's and may be planning a terrible vengeance on the family. Forrest is trying to save his family estate, the Plantation, and keep Twyla, her father and her sisters safe. But can he do that when his father is in deep with real scum?I liked this book. I didn't necessarily get the feel of the roaring twenties from the book, but I did like Twyla and Forrest and I liked all the threads of the story which interwove all four of the Nightingale sisters. I found this an entertaining book. Recommended.

The Shining City by Kate Forsyth- Rhiannon and her fellow students have arrived at Lucescere and been imprisoned. Meanwhile, Lewen and the other students have settled into their studies, but Lewen goes to visit Rhiannon every day and the two who escorted her to the city and trying to work to get Rhiannon spared the death penalty and released to live her life. But the Rig is upset at Rhiannon because she killed a young man who was his friend and supported him into the Rig-ship, so doesn't want to free Rhiannon. Meanwhile, Lewen is re-connecting with his friends Owein and Olwynne, the son and daughter of the Rig. Olwynne had hoped to have a romance with Lewen, but with him so stuck on Rhiannon, and focused on freeing her, she is getting upset with him and she burns for Lewen. While she decides to go too far in securing Lewen's affections, the Lord of Ravenscrag gets his ghilie into the healer's hall, not matter that she was involved in the plot. Meanwhile, another thing happens when Cait Anna does, destroying everything she made- including the choker she wore to take away Maya's powers. Bronwyn, Maya's daughter, protects her mother, but someone is planning on assassinating the Rig, and because of everything else that is happening, including Rhiannon's trial, there is nothing that allows anyone to forsee the death of the Rig. But once he is dead, who is responsible for his death, and can Rhiannion get Lewen back from Olwynne and rescue both Olwynne and Owein when they are kidnapped from Lucescere? I Really enjoyed this book, and it was interesting to see what happened to Lewen and Olwynne and everything that went on. I enjoyed this book, and can't wait to find and read the third book in this series.  Highly recommended.

The Cipher by Diana Pharoah Francis- Lucy Trenton is a member of the Royal Family. In her land, using magic is considered at least bad, if not evil. She also collects Ciphers, magical devices with various properties. But when Lucy, who has been able to detect magic since she was just a child, is called on to work a catastrophe that brings down five ships, she discovers a cipher in the cargo that breaks out of its container and attaches itself to her, she isn't sure what it is going to do, but it quickly manifests with the ability to start fires or ice the surroundings around her. As most of the Ciphers made by Errol Cipher were meant to punish people, she wonders when it will kill or hurt her rather than the people around her. But when  Marten Thorpe gets close  to Lucy, he comes afoul of his brother, who has a plan to take down the Royal Family and conquer the country. But when Marten decides to take a stand against his brother and stand with Lucy, he also incites his brother to try and get rid of him. But when they are enslaved and put on a ship to be sold into another country, he must decide his own fate- be a slave or die with her in the sylveth tides that warp the body and turn humans and animals into monsters. Will Lucy and Marten die or fall together? I loved the world-building in this book and the character of Lucy. I was less happy with Marten, who comes off as weak, even when he is supporting Lucy. He sort of always takes the "Lesser of two evils" when helping her and has to be left no other choice to seem to do anything. The villains are Evil, but more like EVIL. They are so evil ,they come off as more than a bit cartoonish, and thus, less effective as villains, but in the end, the story does some really amazing things, and I did enjoy it. I also want to see where the story goes from here. Recommended.

Daughter of the Desert by Noel-Anne Brennan- Forentel is the daughter of a general of the city of Tireera, and her mother is the chief Judge of the City.  Erba is the Prince of the same city. But when Forentel is urged to marry by her father, her mother suggests becoming her apprentice instead. Forentel has no choice but to agree, but as she goes through the city, she sees a woman, a Tirdar woman, one of the lower class conquered by Forentel's people, the Versat. Later, at home, she finds out that she may be her father's daughter, but not her mother's. She was adopted, but even so, she is half- Tirdar and half-Versat. This leads her to head to the Tirdar quarter, where she sees the woman who looks like her again- only to watch her be killed. She flees the city. Meanwhile, Erba, the younger of two brothers, is son of the King of Tireeera. Erba wants to trace the origin of the Tirdar, but his tutor, who has been leading him in this direction, doesn't want him to go. Erba makes plans to leave anyway and goes on a hunt with his two best friends. But when his party is ambushed by Tireerian soldiers, he mustflee the city, where his brother has poisoned his father. But when both of them head to the Shrine to the Tirdar Lady of the Cats, they are thrown together, along with Erba's tutor, Filfa, they are forced to seek the city of the Tirdar, the Lost City. But can they survive the bandits, slavers and other obstacles on their way... together? Or will they be parted by events beyond their control? This was an interesting book, because I liked Forentel, and I started out liking Erba, but by the end of the book, he looked weak and silly, more like a little boy than a strong man, so while I was hoping she would be Queen to his King eventually, by the end, I didn't want them to end up together. Okay, and slightly recommended for Forentel's journey.

A Devil in the Details by K.A. Stewart- Jesse James Dawson is a warrior who follows the code of Bushido and spends his life fighting Devils who have stolen other people's souls to get them back. To do so, he must put up his own soul as collateral. In the meantime, he works at a Hot Topic-like store called "It", and tries to support his wife and young daughter, who is only five. He also requires a lot of money- to pay his own medical bills and leave some behind for his family if and when he dies. When he's approached by an old hero of his, a ball player Jesse has idolized since he was young, he agrees to take the job, but he's warned off by the player's lawyer, who thinks Jesse is running a scam. Then, he hears from other fighters like himself, who are disappearing, perhaps dead. Meanwhile, a devil who has been plaguing Jesse warns him that his life is in danger, but Jesse is unwilling to pay the Demon's price. But as the time for the fight against his Hero's demon comes closer, Jesse finds himself in more than a fight for his life- but one that might mean the end of every warrior he knows, and an increased Demon threat for the world. I found this a quick and enjoyable read. Liked the idea of people who fight devils to retrieve other people's souls, and IO liked the damage Jesse takes with each fight he takes on. I also liked the whole bunch of other warriors we met, yet I found myself only feeling "Meh" about the book as a whole. It just didn't pull on me strongly enough to really feel it was compelling. So, neither recommended nor not.

Prodigy by Jan Clark- Rieka Degahv is a human starship captain in a universe dominated by aliens. Humans are looked down upon because their planet is nearly destroyed- it was hit by an asteroid. Most humans don't seem to realize that the aliens look down on them, but Rieka's father felt differently and raised her to feel the same. But Rieka has two friends among the aliens: Triscoe Marteen, a Centauri and Robet DeVark. When Rieka is accused of killing a Procyon ship, which were recently enemies of the Commonwealth, which all three of them work for, they come to her rescue and attempt to show that Rieka was manipulated into doing what she did. But as Triscoe and DeVark and their friends and family try to keep Rieka free, Procyons have infiltrated the Imperium and are trying to steal the newest ship actually built to attack and defend, the Prodigy. But was Rieka's attack on the Procyon ship started by the Procyons, or humans who trust the aliens more than their fellow humans? And can they stop the plot before it goes through? I found this an interesting book. I'm not sure if this book is part of a series, because some of the aliens, like Robet, are described as having "Bibbets", but we never learn what they actually are, or what the aliens look like to humans. I mean, the Boos seem to have claws like a lobster, maybe. It was hard to understand what these aliens look like, and/or how they differed from standard humans. Also, most of the aliens seemed to be pretty humanoid. It seemed that there were no non-humanoid aliens, which seemed iffy. It seemed like more of a screenplay for a world in which aliens had to played by humans. Even the Procyons are humanoid enough to pass as a Centauri with a little cosmetic surgery. In a way, this felt a little lazy as far as world-building, much less than that two aliens who have nothing genetically in common getting married and being able to... well... "fit" together. I found this somewhat ridiculous. So, the story was good and so were the characters, but the conceits behind them weren't. Recommended anyway. :)

Dark of the Moon by Susan Krinard- In the 1920's Gwen Murphy's father found evidence of a cult of people who dumped bodies, sans blood in the city. When she goes down to the docks to meet with an informant, she is attacked and dumped into the river. she is rescued by a strange man, who she finds out is Dorian Black, a man living in a Warehouse with a number of other homeless people. But Dorian isn't just any man- he is a vampire and he used to be the enforcer for the ruler of the city. When he realized the man he worked for was evil, he killed him and set off a war between his two successors. When Gwen takes an interest in Dorian, she becomes a target to other vampires, and they try to kill her. When they seem to succeed, Dorian joins a vampire organizations named "Pax", who want to bringpeace to vampire society- to punish the other vampires for killing Gwen. When he discovers Gwen is still alive, he gors out of his way to rescue her when she stumbles into a battle between the two vampires. But when his master tells Dorian to kill her to remove the threat that she is to the vampires, he turns her instead, and tries to keep her safe from the infighting. But the vampires are not safe from a third faction which seems benevolent, but isn't. When things go to hell in a handbasket, can the two of them take on the real villain and bring him or her down and restore 0order to the city? I expected to like this book. I mean, a vampire romance set in the 1920's? I was *so* there. But Forian turned me off. He constantly made decisions for Gwen that made me feel like she was in an abusive relationship, and I didn't like reading that kind of thing at all. I enjoyed Gwen, but when she finally fell in love with Dorian I still felt a bit like she'd fallen victim to Stockholm Syndrome. Not recommended.

The Peshawar Lancers by S.M. Stirling- In 1870, a group of meteorites hit the earth, causing widespread devastation. England, facing starvation from the changed weather, moved its capital and many of its people to India, where they resumed control of their Empire under Queen Victoria. Now, 200 years later, the world has reshaped itself, with the major powers being France, Russia, China and a few others. Captain Athelstane King , recently injured in combat against the Afghans, heads for home, only to be attacked on his way home by an Afghani Pathan, who tells Athelstane that a Russian posing as a fakir has put a price on his head. But why? When Athelstane tells the Pathan that the man wasn't really a holy man, the Pathan joins him for vengeance against the man. However, it is not only Athelstane who is in danger, but also his sister, Cassandra, an academic. It seems the Russians want both Kings dead, and don't care who they take out in the meantime. The Russian Tsar worships Tchernobog, the dark God better known as Satan in the west. But the Russian in charge, Ignatieff has brought one of the Sisters with him, who have the ability to see the future. And to ensure the success of his scheme, both of the King Siblings must die. But when his seer, who has been having visions of Disraeli, leaves Ignatieff to help Athelstane, he discovers a plot against the throne itself and to bring Tchernobog to earth, but can he keep his monarch safe while staying alive to prevent Tchernobog's return? I loved this book. I'm not usually one for alternate history books, but I have loved plenty of S.M. Stirling's in the past, and this one was one of his best, if not his best. I loved all the characters, heroic and villainous both, and I'd love to read more set in this particular version of altered history. Highly recommended,

Secret Sisters by Jayne Ann Krentz- When Madeline and Daphne were just girls, Madeline suffered an attack by a man who was defeated, killed and buried on the grounds of the hotel owned by her grandmother. Soon after, they left and never returned, with her grandmother starring a successful chains of hotels based in Arizona. Jack Rayner was once a criminal profiler with the FBI, but gave it up to start his own securith business. Still, when Madeline  is attacked on Aurora Point by someone who killed Caretaker Tom Lomax, it is Jack who comes to her rescue, flying up to Aurora Point to keep her safe. It seems that the secrets of the past, including the identity of the man who attacked and tried to rape Madeline Chase when she was just a girl- and only by reuniting with her old friend Daphne, who she hasn't seen since that night, and Jack's brother Abe, a detective whose skills lie in the area of Cyber- Sleuthing, can the questions of that night be answered and the ghosts put to rest. But what does a popular securities guy and his political family have to do with the old mystery? And can they find out before one of them pays the price? I loved this book, which had a woman in jeaopardy (two of them, actually, and contained two romances, one between Madeline and Jack, the other between Abe and Daphne, running concurrently, with Madeline and Jack being given the lion's share of the attention. I loved this book and I loved the characters. I also really enjoyed the mystery and the eventual end of the book. This book really was superior and I enjoyed it the whole way through. Highly recommended,

Ultraman, Volume 1 by Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimaguchi- Many years ago, the Giant of Light paired itself with Shin Hayata to fight creatures from other planets who came to conquer the Earth. When it left, Shin lost all his memories of the time when he and the giant fought their foes, but it seems that it did have an impact. Shin has greater than normal human strength, and his son, Shinjiro, has inherited that. In a meeting with Mitsuhiro Ide, he remembers that he was once Ultraman, and the "Ultraman Effect" has reached out to not only encompass him, but his son. Then, when a new alien, Bemular, comes to Earth looking to take on Ultraman, it is up to Shinjiro to decide whether to take up the same job his father once had- to defend the earth from aliens bent on conquering or destruction. But is Shinjiro up to the job? I never saw or read the original Ultraman, but I did like this new series. I liked the themes of duty and making your parents/father proud of you and living up to their example. I also liked the idea of duty versus emotions. It was a good reboot, and I liked the new design of the Ultraman armor. Recommended.

Ultraman, Volume 2 by Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimaguchi- Shinjiro meets the alien Edo, who used to be known as "Zetton", and who had attacked earth at one time. He and the men involved in the Science force send out to fight an alien named Adacic. But the bad aliens aren't the only ones on earth, and other forced, like those of the administration, like the police, are becoming wise to the fact. But the main policeman on the job, Detective Endo, has a daughter who is an idol who is very interested in the new Ultraman, gets caught in the fight between Ultraman and Adacic, can Shinjiro make his father proud of him and keep the adulation of Rena Endo? And why does Moroboshi so look down upon Shinjiro? What is the Science Squad really up to, and what are they lying about? And will Shinjiro catch on? How soon? Another really good volume, although this one has lots of combat between Shinjiro and Adacic and the mystery with why Moroboshi seems to hate Shinjiro so much, there is a lot of other stuff going around. And I really still do want to see more. Recommended.

Wrath of the Furies by Steven Saylor- Young Gordianus is in Egypt when he receives a letter from his old mentor, Antipater. Actually, it's not a letter so much as an edited part of a secret diary kept by Antipater, who it seems, has fallen in with King Mitridates, who he was spying for while on journey to see the Seven Wonders of the World. But while he faked his own death to take the name of Zoticus of Zeugma, Mithridates wants Antipater to keep his new name, but why does he want him to go unnoticed? He certainly has attracted the attention of Mithridates' queen, Monime, and not in a good way. Because it seems that Mithridates wants to murder all of the Romans in Asia Minor. And he wants to turn aside the wrath of the Furies before he does so. When Gordianus and his slave and lover, Bethesda show up with Girdianus pretending to be struck dumb, he is tapped to become part of the ceremony, along with a blind man and a deaf man. But can Gordianis and Mithridates and the others involved in the ritual make Mitridates rethink his plans to kill all the Romans in his empire? And what will happen if they fail? This was based around a real incident from history, and I liked how Gordianus was drawn into the mystery and the reason, why, at the end, he was revealed to have been brought in. This was an interesting an intriguing book of history wrapped around an engaging mystery. Highly recommended.

If He's Noble by Hannah Howell- When Bened Vaughn, a newly made gentleman, runs into Lady Patricia Wooten in a Wood when she's lost her horse, he decides to help her. But her problems run deeper than she realizes at first- for her aunt is seeking Patricia's brother, possibly to do away with him, as a means to getting her hands on Patricia and her brother's fortune and keep her husband as Duke, as he has taken over the title since Patricia's father passed. But neither Patricia nor Bened is aware of how far her aunt will go to do as she pleases. Can Bened and his family keep himself and Patricia alive and safe until she can find her brother and then save them both when her aunt comes after them? I found this book good. I thought that it was going to be far more lighthearted than the book actually was. But I did enjoy it, and how Patricia and Bened came together, and the teasing of a romance for her brother and a female seer. Recommended.

How to Seduce a Vampire by Kerrelyn Sparks- Zoltan Czakvar is a vampire who lost both his father and his mother. His mother to a mob, and his father to a group of warriors who came to avenge her. All he has to guide him in his vengeance is a single arrow, but when he meets a vampire who might have discovered who made the arrow, he does his best to track down those responsible. But it turns out the ones responsible were a group of warrior women who seem to be ageless and immortal. And now, the ones they are trying to protect are in danger as a warrior vampire warlord wants to conquer their land. But can Zoltan help them and Neona, the warrior he begins falling in love with, help keep the warrior women and their charge safe? Ad what are they guarding, anyway? I found this an interesting book, with two very interesting characters, but the women seemed not to realize that the men they had kids with weren't as long-lived as they were outside of their lands, but they seem to be ignorant of it in one case (why the father of two of the women didn't come back, but they also know that Zoltan shouldn't be still alive after all this time. So it ended up making them kind of look kind of stupid. Other than that, I enjoyed the story, so I'd recommend this book.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

2010, Part 1

The Wedding Cake War by Lynna Banning- Lolly Mayfield finally had the nerve to apply for the position of being a Bride in the town of Maple Falls. But finally, desperation pushed her to it. Lolly was about to marry Kellen Macready sight unseen- but when she finally got to town in Maple Falls, she found that she was not the first, but the Third bride to show up. And then the women of the Maple Falls explain to her that the town needs a new schoolhouse, and to raise money, they are holding a competition between the Brides with Macready as the Prize, with the entire town betting on the outcome. Lolly feels humiliated, until she meets the other two Brides to be. Fleurette McClair is a snooty woman from New Orleans, and Careen Gunderson is a perfectly nice girl from Maple Falls. Determining not to lose to Fleurette, Lolly throws herself wholeheartedly into the competition. Kellen Macready only agreed to this farce because the prize money was to go for rebuilding the school. His bachelor heart wanted no part of marriage- not even to Careen Gunderson. But when he finally met Lolly, he no longer felt he minded as much. But who will win the war for Kellen's heart, and will the woman agree to marry him after all. And can a man find something like true love with an entire town looking in on the contest? This was a cute book, and if I had been in the heroine's shoes, I have no doubt that I'd have been a bit annoyed with the situation as well. But the best part of this book is that there were no true villains and the story ended well for each woman in the contest- something that made me smile at the end of the book. Also, the contest reminded me a lot of reality shows, complete with a cooking competition. Recommended.

Hawken's Wife by Rae Muir- Hawken is a man without a past, his memory stricken from him by an accident in his past. No longer remembering anything from his former life, he's become a trapper and trail guide in the West. When he's hired to help a wagon trin make its way even further west, Hawken meets up with Meggie McIntyre, a girl who can ride as well as any man, and who has a fearless heart. She joined the journey on the Oregon trail to save her friend, Tildy, from an arranged marriage, but her father, Jim Mac, and brother have conspired to try and rein her in. But Meggie is seemingly irrepressible... and soon she finds herself longing for Hawken, who is traveling with two slaves on the run and a business partner with whom he intends to set up a trading post. But when the people of the town don't exactly welcome him and his business, can he find a second goal in life as a trail guide? And will Meggie still want him if he does? But more to the point, can a man who has no memories of his former life settle down with someone he loves without even knowing if he left anyone who loved him, like a wife, behind? How can he create a stable future based on an unknown past? Well, this was a cute story. Meggie definitely caught and held my interest with her unusual ways, like naming her horse John Charles. She's wild and a tad reckless, but at the same time, she knows what she wants, and what she wants is Hawken. It was nice seeing her thawing him and making him want to reach for a future with her, and the book is full of humorous stuff, like the character who thinks Meggie is a witch because when she asks for the Hail Storm to stop... it does. This was a good book, and I'd definitely recommend it.

Avatar: The Last Airbender Cine-manga, Volume 1- On the world of four nations, the north and south are ruled by the water nation. Two young people of the water nation, Katara and her brother, Sokka, go out fishing, lose their boat and find an iceberg with a young man inside. The young man is Aang, a member of the vanished Air nation, who disappeared 100 years ago. Along with AAng is Appa, his flying Bison. But when Katara finds out that Aang is a Bender, she wants his help in learning how to Bend. It seems that she is the only Bender in her village, and her tribe has lost contact with its sister tribe in the North. While Aang is an Airbender, she tells him she believes in him, and he agrees to help her. But Katara  isn't the only one interested in Aang. It seems that Prince Zuko of the Fire Nation has staked his Honor on catching the Avatar. And when Aang and Katara investigate an old Fire Nation ship, wrecked in the first years of the war, they fall into an old Booby trap and a signal is sent to the Fire Nation. But can they escape before the ship of Prince Zuko finds them? This was cute, but short and is clearly meant for younger readers than most manga. The art style is cute and so are the characters. I think I'd definitely recommend this Cine-Manga to younger kids. Recommended.

Alan Moore; Wild Worlds- This book holds five stories written by Alan Moore. The first is a crossover between Spawn and the WildC.A.T.s. When Zealot and Grifter of the future come back to try and kill Spawn, he attacks the modern day WildC.A.T.s instead, but their battle is interrupted by the future versions of Zealot and Grifter, who explain their actions by saying that in the future, Spawn has become the ruler of the nation, under the name of the Ipissimus. Of course, the modern-day heroes decide to go into the Future and take on Future Spawn/Ipissimus. Spawn underwent his transformation when he found a strange amulet. But when they finally break through to the Ipissimus, he knows exactly what they are going to do... because modern-day Spawn is fighting him as well. He grabs the amulet and is sent back to the modern day, along with future Zealot. But the effect of the amulet makes the modern-day Spawn start to go bad as well... until he realizes that the future Zealot is his daughter. But will his actions change the future? The second story shows the end of the Universe, as experienced by the Superhero Majestic, and what happens at the end. Voodoo is a member of the WildC.A.T.s, but when she moves to The Big Easy to clear her head, she supports herself by returning to her job of stripping, but gets involved with a club where the dancers are dying off. But who and/or what is killing them, and why? Deathblow: By Blows follows the story of Genevieve Cray, a female clone who must survive a murderous world to discover why she is there and why she was made. But can she escape the grasp of those who made her in the first place? The last story has their own base attacking the WildC.A.T.s. But why, and what is making it do so? I liked all of these stories, and I especially enjoyed the first story, but my favorite was the one about Genevieve Cray, probably because I didn't need to know anything about the characters-mainly because the original Deathblow was a character from the WildStorm universe who was killed off. This story is classic Alan Moore, which is far better than the paint-by-numbers first story. My next favorite was the Majestic story. His whole story is that he's immortal. But I liked it a lot, as the character's nature is apparent throughout the story. Definitely recommended.

Cause of My Teacher by Temari Matsumoto- This book is a series of Shonen-Ai short stories about teachers and their students and romances between them. The first, and the book's name is about a boy in love with his young teacher who has already confessed his feelings and started a relationship with the man. But the boy loved his teacher's glasses. When the boy needs glasses as well, will their feelings change. My favorite story in the book is "Boy  from the Palace of the Sea" has a boy Prince from a medieval seaside Kingdom who fall in love with his teacher/mentor and becomes his sex slave. But why would the Kingdom allow its Prince to become a sex slave to his teacher? I liked all the stories, but after a while they kind of ran together, so I would have to say that this book is okay if you are desperate for some Shonen-Ai, but otherwise, this book is easily missable and forgettable. Not recommended.

The Official XXXHolic Guide Created by Clamp- This is your guide to all things XXXHolic, but really only for the first nine volumes, with guides to the stories, characters, fashions and even a insight of what "hitsuzen" means in the course of the story. It's a good book, but for an official guide, it's kind of sparse, considering how long the series went on for and this really only covers the first nine volumes, and the series went on for a full nineteen volumes. It doesn't really talk about many of the issues that came up later, and spends more time talking about Yuko's fashion choices than just about anything else. It's okay, but I would have loved to see something a little deeper and less stuff that reminds me of some of the same things that you see in Japanese fan magazines, like fan ratings of their favorites characters, pairings, scenes and lines. It's okay, and it reprints lots of interesting stuff from the first nine volumes. Recommended.

Sherlock Holmes: Return of the Devil by Martin Powell and Seppo Makinen- Sherlock Holmes, with a dearth of cases to keep his attention, he has retreated into his addiction to cocaine. But as he retreats from the world, his hallucination becomes yet more hellish. But he is not alone in his hallucination. All across London, other users of cocaine are having the same sort of hallucinations. Clearly, something has poisoned the cocaine supply of London, and to combat it, Sherlock Holmes must throw off his addiction with the help of his friend, Watson and take on Moriarty. But can even he overcome his need for a drug to keep him mentally entertained? I have long followed the career and art of Seppo Makinen, especially his Sherlock Holmes stories, starting with "Shadows in Gaslight", where Sherlock Holmes takes on Dracula. Well, this is a stand-alone story, mostly without any sort of supernatural characters. Here, they are here, but they are all Hallucinations. I liked this story, and I felt that this was an excellent story about the last case of Holmes' career. Originally published in two separate comics, this is still not a very long book, and the style is rather strange, but it was a good story and interesting. Recommended.

Akiko Pocket-size #5: Bornstone's Elixir by Mark Crilley- Akiko is pulled out of School by, not her friends Beeba and Spuckler Boach, it is Prince Froptoppit who comes for on Mr. Beeba's orders. It seems that Mr. Beeba's old friend and mentor, Professor Lunderdorf, is dying and Mr. Beeba is determined to save him by searching for a legendary cure-all known as "Bornstone's Elixir". To do so, they split up, Akiko and The Prince must buy a large amount of Bornstone's favorite ale. Along the way, they meet a tall, handsome man named Kell, who interferes with Prince Froptoppit's pursuit of Akiko as a girlfriend.  Later, he joins them to help them get the ale, while Beeba and Spuckler and Gax go off in search of a Yoodoo bird. But when they descend upon Bornstone, the giant man refuses to give up the Elixir that was developed by his father. Can the group persuade Bornstone to save Professor Lunderdorf., and can Kell be trusted with the Elixir? Then, in a short story, Akiko is invited to a tiny world by its queen, but will her friends ruin it for her? I love the Akiko books, and this series of short stories are really excellent and fun. Even the ending to this one is great, with Beeba having to manage Professor Lunderdorf's expectations. I really enjoy this series, and both kids and adults will find it enjoyable. Recommended.

DemonWars: The Demon Spirit by R.A. Salvatore- Even after being banished from Corona, the Demon Dactyl's influence continues to grow and spread. Having charmed the cleric Markwart, Markwart begins to carry out the Demon's desires, making it seem that the stone mage Avelyn was corrupted, and searching for him to kill him and confiscate the stones that allow him to wield magic. Meanwhile, Jillesponie, Avelyn's apprentice in magic, is growing in power, and accompanied by her husband the Ranger, Elbryan. They recruit the elf Belli'mar to help them in the absence of the elf Tumtum. But when Markwart finds that Avelyn is dead, he suppresses the trutj and when he discovers a centaur buried at the sight of the battle, he digs him up and has him carried off to be questioned. He then switches his focus to Pony, taking in her family to question them. But when Pony discovers from the priest, Father Jojonah, about Markwart's focus on her, she goes after him with her allies, only too late to protect her adoptive family. But can she, Elbryan, Belli'mar and their new friend, the thief, Roger, can she avenge her family and free the world from Dactyl's influence? I thought this book and characters reminded me a lot of R.A. Salvatore's other hero, Drizzt Do'Urden. If you consider Elbryan as an analogue to Drizzt, and Poni as an analogue to Catti-Brie, I found myself thinking that they were very much alike- Not completely similar, of course, but enough alike in how they described their skills that I was thinking "Hey, hold on a minute..." Not that this is a bad thing, but in my case, it made me the story easier to get into. This comic was good, with lots of interesting world-building and excellent art. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone who likes R.A. Salvatore or fantasy. Recommended.

Wolfsbane and Mistletoe edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner- This book is a series of short stories by different authors about Christmas and Werewolves. "Gift Wrap by Charlaine Harris has Sookie  discover a Were named Preston Pardeaux in the woods on her property just before Christmas. Can Sookie keep him safe from his own clan? "The Haire of the Beast" by Donna Andrews has a witch who accidentally turns her boyfriend into a dog, instead of the man she was actually wanting to turn. But can she fix things in time for Christmas? "Lucy, at Christmastime" by Simon R. Green, Has Leo Morn drinking at Strangeways in the Nightside. He's remembering the first time he turned into a werewolf, and his girlfriend, Lucy. "The Night Things Changed" by Dana Cameron has two sisters, a werewolf and a vampire. But when her sister is attacked, can defend her, but the people in town are suspicious of them. But when a school bus of kids go missing can the Werewolf sister rescue the kids and change the mood of the town? Or even just one person? "The Werewolf Before Christmas" by Kat Richardson has a werewolf killing Rudolph before Christmas. But when Santa needs Rudolf, can a werewolf lead the reindeer on a trip around the world and find himself and his attitude changed?  "Fresh Meat" by Alan Gordon has a man who raises dogs needing the help of his dogs when werewolf hunters come to kill him. But can he hide the truth of what he is from a neighbor who wants to get closer to him? "Il est Ne" by Carrie Vaughn has Kitty meeting a newly turned werewolf in a lonely café. Can she impart some Christmas cheer, not to mention hope, to someone who has hit bottom after their life has changed. And what sort of change can she make for him? "The Perfect Gift" by Diana Stabenow has a Werewolf and a Police Officer in Canada discover what each other is and perhaps make a close connection. "Christmas Past" by Keri Arthur has two people on the Supernatural Investigations Squad having to deal with a crime on Christmas Eve when the man is a Werewolf, but their past romance came to an end at his hands. The question is, can they get past that and make a new future? "SA" by J.A. Konrath has a man who is upset at what is appearing in his feces, and finds that he is eating people. But when he goes to "Shapeshifters Anonymous", will he find the help he needs? "The Star of David" by Patricia Briggs has a child welfare officer who needs help with a young boy who may be being abused by the family, can her father, a Werewolf, help her find the truth? "You'd Better Not Pyout" by Nancy Pickard has two Russian Vampires trying to prove that Santa is a Vampire. But are they right? And will they survive if he isn't? "Rogue Elements" by Karen Chance has a combat mage with a Werewolf mother tasked for a job dealing with weres. But is she really the person who is perfect to deal with this issue? And when she finds out the truth about the three missing Werewolf girls, can she contain her anger, and deal with the issues she has stirred up. "Milk and Cookies" by Rob Thurman has a were boy who is trying to persuade his Sister that Santa is real and exists. But how far will he go to keep the magic alive? "Keeping Watch Over His Flock" by Toni L.P. Kelner has a Werewolf boy who transgressed one of the biggest laws of his people. But will his explanation of why he broke the law get out of trouble? I liked this book- all the stories were great, and my favorites were probably the last two, the first one had quite a sting in its tail and the second one was just a great story. Don't get me wrong- they were all excellent. but those were the two I liked the best and found the most memorable. If I had to pick a third for my "Top 3", I'd go with "Rogue Elements" as the third. Nonetheless, Highly recommended.

Highlander's Touch by Karen Marie Moning tells the story of Lisa Stone  whose mother is dying of cancer, has taken a job as a nighttime janitor to help ends meet and let her stay with her mother until she dies. But when Lisa touches a flask that was found near a river in Scotland in an office where she shouldn't have been she finds herself in 14th Century Scotland, in the Castle of Circenn Brodie, who has vowed to kill anyone who touched the flask. But intrigued by Lisa, he seeks reasons and excuses to keep her alive. But a fey named Adam wants Circenn to go back on his word, and is intrigued when Circenn keeps finding ways to keep her alive. But when he falls in love with her, can he send her back to the future to be with her mother, knowing he might never see her again? And who will Lisa choose, her mother or Circenn? I liked this book, but I preferred  Karen Marie Moning's Fever series with Kayla MacLane. But it was a good romance, I was just irritated with the ending. in which Adam and Circenn manipulated time to save Lisa and give her a different past. Recommended.

The Horseman by Jillian Hart- When Katelyn Green loses her baby, her father-in-;aw decides that she won't bring anything else into the family. But when Dillon Hennessey approaches her to marry her, she feels she has little choice. But can the two of them find real love out of necessity, and can he persuade her that his feelings are true and restore her faith in life? This was only okay. Jillian Hart made me believe in the characters and wanted them to be together. I just don't particularly care for Westerns. so recommended only slightly.

One Lucky Vampire by Lynsay Sands- Nicole Phillips is a famous artist, known for her portraits. But when she and her ex-husband, a user, are getting ready for their divorce to be final.  But when there are three possible attempts on her life in a very short time, her friend, Marguerite Argenau, hires a vampire named Jake Colson (also known as Stephano Notte) to guard Nicole, in the guise of a housekeeper. Jake Can't cook, but he can learn and he agrees to do it for Marguerite. Nicole insists that she doesn't think her husband, soon to be ex, is really trying to kill her, just that he is forgetful and perhaps a little vindictive. But when Jake nearly dies from taking a dip in Nicole's hot tub, which has been poisoned with Nicotine, it's obvious that there is something up... and Jake also realizes that he can't read Nicole's mind, which means she is his lifemate, or could be. But can he save her from whoever wants her dead, or seems to want her dead. And the question is, who is trying to kill Nicole, and why? And will Jake and Nicole end up together, or can she deal with the reality that Jake is a vampire? I loved this book. I have to say that the image of Jake on the cover really appealed to me, with the short beard and mustache and the leather jacket. With this in my head, I was prepared to be attracted to Jake, but the character as written was really attractive to me. He takes care of Nicole and he does a lot of stuff to keep her safe, even before he realizes that she is his lifemate. I just loved the character, and I loved the story, and if you like guys who appreciate the woman they are attracted to, this character and book will appeal to you as well. Highly recommended.

Literature: The New York Public Library Book of Answers- More Unusual and Entertaining Questions From America's Leading Reference Resource by Melinda Corey and George Ochoa- The New York Public Library is the largest Public Library in American, Possibly save the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. But can you answer the questions in this book without looking at the answers? The categories cover American Literature, The Ancient World, Authors in Love, Deaths, Drama, Table Talk, Writer's Lives, Trick Questions and Popular Delusions and every area in between. This book gives you a lot to think about and covers just about everything, being taken from real life reference questions submitted to Librarians at the Library. My favorite section was the "Trick Questions and Popular Delusions, of course. I would definitely Recommend this book for those looking for answers.

Must Love Hellhounds by Charlaine Harris, Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews and Meljean Brook- This book is a collection of four stories, all dealing with Hellhounds. "The Brittlingens Go to Hell" by Charlaine Harris is about two female mercenaries, and have to fight their way out of Hell, and manage to get Hellhounds out of the deal. But can they escape the baleful influence of Lucifer? In "Angel's Judgment" by Nalini Singh, the leader of the Vampire Hunter's Guild believes that there is a traitor in the Guild, and the only hope she has is a Vampire Hunter who breeds his own Hellhounds. But when the two of them begin to have feelings for each other, will it endanger their mission? "Magic Mourns" by Ilona Andrews has Andrea Nash, subbing for Kate Daniels discovering that Cerberus, the legendary Three-headed Hound of Hell out of Greek Myth, has appeared in Atlanta. But where is it and what. or should that be, who is it looking for... and why? And Can Andrea deal with it before it tears a bloody path through Atlanta? "Blind Spot" by Meljean Brooks has Maggie Wren, who is looking for her employer's niece. But first, she and her Hellhound must recover a blind man who she finds sexy as all get our. But will there be time for romance, or even sex, when she is on the job, and what secrets does her new companion hold? I loved this book. I had never read about the Britlingens before, so that story was only okay for me, but I really enjoyed Angel's Judgment and "Magic Mourns". I haven't read that much Meljean Brooks, but the story is supposed to be part of her "Guardian" series. Even so, it was intriguing. I like the use of literal Hellhounds in three of the stories, and I can't even pick one favorite here. All the stories are good. Highly recommended.

Doctor Who: The Tides of Time by Dave Gibbons and Steve Parkhouse is a reprint of the stories that appeared in Doctor Who Monthly during the time that Peter Davison was playing the 5th Doctor. "The Tides of Time" has The Doctor in a small English village when things from the past and the future. He meets a Knight from the Medieval Era named Sir Justin. The Doctor discovers the a hostile alien has taken over the Event Synthesizer, and the Doctor must put it back in the hands of its normal controller, but do so will require the help of Rassilon, the High Council of Gallifrey and Merlin the Magician. "Stars Fell on Stockbridge" When a local crazy comes across the Tardis in the woods, he realizes that the Doctor is an alien. But he also sees a star falling from the sky. The Doctor investigates with the man, they find an alien spaceship. But who or what is on board? "The Stockbridge Horror" has quarrymen finding the outline of the Tardis in a chalk Quarry. But when the Doctor discovers a strange character in black setting fires in the fields around Stockbridge, the Doctor must team up with Gallifreyan Agent Shayde to bring the being out of the Tardis's memories banks. "Lunar Lagoon" has the Doctor discover a Japanese Warrior on a small, unnamed Pacific Island. But when the Japanese takes him prisoner, can he escape? in "4-Dimensional Vistas", The Doctor finds himself on another small island, where he is accosted by a soldier, also from World War II, but the time is the 80's and The Doctor concludes that he is lost in time. But when Ice Warriors attack humans at the North Pole, can the Doctor and his new companion take them on? "The Moderator" has the Doctor facing off against a ruthless businessman who wants The Doctor's Tardis for his own. But when he sends an underling to "negotiate" with The Doctor, will the Doctor be able to survive the efforts of the Gaunts, Wrekkas and the Negotiator himself? I found this volume interesting. Some of the stories I really liked and some that I just found tedious. My favorite story was the book namer "The Tides of Time". I found Justin, The Doctor's new companion, to be refreshing and interesting, with his attitude of awe at the universe and his travels with the Doctor. I found the ending sad, but still interesting. Some of the later stories could be tedious, and I didn't necessarily enjoy the companions. Some of the stories seemed to drag on a bit, but overall these stories were very English and that may be the reason why I didn't get into them very well. Recommended, but this may not be what you expect.

Sherlock Holmes: The Cases of the Twisted Mines by Steven Phillip Jones, Aldin Baroza and Seppo Makinen- When Sherlock Holmes is visited by the police in the Case of a Mr. Hyde, he interviews the man and discovers Hyde in possession of a check made out to Jeckyll. He insists he obtained it legally, but he cannot say why Jeckyll gave him the check. Holmes digs into the matter further, but when he is visited by Dr. Henry Jeckyll himself, he discovers that the good Doctor is hiding something. The question is... what? and when one of Holmes' Bow Street Runners sees Hyde jump out of Jeckyll's skin after he has a fit, can he uncover the truth and bring the miscreant to justice? In "The Adventure of the Opera Ghost", Holmes is intrigued by a private message in a Paris Newspaper. When he travels to Paris to look into the matter, he discovers that the Paris Opera House is haunted, by a Ghost, known as the Opera Ghost. But can Holmes Ferret out the secret of the Opera Ghost and the woman who seems to be the recipient of his regard, Soubrette Christine Daae? These bring Holmes to bear on two other Victorian Stories, Stevenson's "The Curious Case of the Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde", and Gaston Leroux's "Phantom of the Opera". One of them deals with what might be possible real magic (Jeckyll and Hyde) and one in which most of the "Magic" is merely smoke, mirrors and hidden passages. In the case of the first story, the comic hews closely to the original story, and in the second case, less closely, but still fairly close. I liked this book, and even the rather inconclusive ending of the first story was interesting, because Holmes' Deductive logic breaks down in a case where magic makes things possible. If you know either story, or have seen a movie (or play) will probably be able to tell much of what is going to happen, but's and interesting read anyhow. Recommended.

Ben Franklin Takes the Case by Robert Lee Hall- This book is couched in the sort of "Hidden Manuscripts I found in some old pace" sort of story, supposedly a Case that Ben Franklin had to take on when he was in London before the American Revolution. Benjamin Franklin was there to try and get England to agree to some of the Colonist's demands. While in England, Franklin goes to meet an old friend of his, Ebenezer Inch, only to find that he has been killed. Working in the ship is Inch's apprentice, Nick Handy. Nick is not happy with Inch's family, as they mistreat him and merely tolerate him. So when Ben Franklin takes Nick under his wing to teach Nick about printing and much else besides, Nick becomes Ben's amanuensis, apprentice and legs, to run about where Franklin cannot go because of his gout. Nick isn't only seeking the death on Inch, who treated him like a son. The question is, who is his father? Will Nick be happy with the answer, or come up disappointed with no answer at all? And can he and Ben Franklin discover who killed his beloved Master and bring them to justice? I loved this book, which is written in the language of the 1700s and includes the written neologisms of the time, like "Oh" written as "O" and so one. This makes the writing feel authentically old and the story feel more realistic. I liked Ben Franklin's characterization, and that of Nick Handy. I also found the story interesting and fun. Recommended.

Vampire Hunter D, Volume 4 by Hideyuki Kikuchi and Saiko Takaki- In a Floating City Paradise, D rescues a woman named Lori and brings her to the city. Supposedly, the city is free of Vampires, but when Vampire Marks appear on the neck of the Mayor's daughter, D teams up with the Mayor to find any vampires that may have infiltrated the city. But the city is built on lies, and those in charge may not have the best interests in mind. The question is, what is going on, what is happening, and what does the strange, unsavory man known as Pluto VIII have to do with any of what is going on? Can D save the city, or is it already doomed by the choices its people and leaders have made? I liked this manga, which made D just as Ethereal and otherworldly as he appears on the covers of Hideyuki Kikuchi's novels. D is cold and reserved, withdrawn from people and most women, because he is a Dunpeal, aka a Dhampire, a half-human and half-vampire. D's world is both futuristic  and medieval at once, and also highly magical, with D having some sort of demon face grafted onto his hand, and much of his items are future science masquerading as semi-magical devices, as most people have forgotten science. I liked the whole idea of a floating city, and the idea of the noble vampires, though we never see why the nobles arose or where or how. Recommended. nonetheless.

Blow Me Down by Katie MacAllister- Amy is a financial analyst who spends her downtime on the MMO game "Buckling Swashes", where her alter ego is the fierce "Earless Erica". And one of her fiercest opponents is Black Corbin, who, in reality is Corbin, the programmer of the game. But when the game is attacked by Corbin's ex-partner, Paul Samuels, everyone already in the game or those who log in afterwards is stuck in the Virtual World. To get out, they have to track down Paul Samuels in the game, under whatever identity he is using and defeat him in battle to destroy him and get back home. But to do so, they are going to have to work together and navigate the world of the game, and Amy is a complete neophyte where this pirate game is concerned. can she learn enough to take on the big boys and win along with Corbin? And can she and Corbin translate their lust for each other from the game to the real world? I loved this book, but it has a sort of retro feel about the whole MMO sort of thing. I liked the details of the game world, and how Amy and Corbin as "Earless Erica" and "Black Corbin" come together and discover their lust for each other. I also love how they come together as people., and their interactions with each other. This book rocked my socks off. Highly recommended.

The Bellmaker by Brian Jacques- Joseph was the Bellmaker for The Abbey, and his daughter, Mariel, left the Abbey to travel withg her friend, Dandin, who bears the sword of Martin the Warrior. But when they were in the hot southern deserts, they run into two female Ermines known as the Dirgecallers. They kill the Dir4ecallers, but are captured by the rat minions of a fox who is called the "Foxwolf", because he wears a wolf pelt.  The Foxwolf, Urgan Nagru, and his wife, Silvamord, are trying to take over the north. They have conquered the lands of the Good Squirrelking, Gael SquirrelKing, and his wife Serena and their family. Dandin, Mariel, and their new friend, Bowly Pintips, are rescued from the rats by Meldrum Fallowthorn. Meanwhile, allies of Gael seek to rescue the King, but Gael and the leader of the Rescuers, Rab, must cover the escape of Gael's son Truffen, and are thought dead. Meanwhile, Martin the Warrior sends Jospeh a dream about Mariel and tells him be must sail to her rescue. Martin and his fellow Redwallers, Hon. Rosie the Hare Warrior, durry Quill, a Hedgehog, Rufe Brush, the Squirrel, and Foremole, must steal the pirate ship from two Rat pirates, The Pearl Queen and Slipp and Strapp. They must sail the ship south to rescue Dandin and Mariel from Urgan, But when they meet up with the Redwallers and Truffen and restore Gael to his throne and defeat the evil Foxwolf, his mate and their army of rats. But can the small group of Redwallers, Mariel and Dandin and a bunch of good animals defeat an evil army in the north? I love these books. Yes, they are for kids, and the stories are all good vs evil in its most simplistic form. But while certain races seem evil, Jacques has characters who can change. For example, the rat, Blaggut, who really, sincerely wants to change his ways, and ends up killing his evil Captain and making things up with the people (animals) of Redwall. It's a good adventure story, and will appeal to both kids and even teens. Heck, I enjoyed it and I'm an adult. Highly Recommended.

Mattimeo by Brian Jacques- Mattimeo is the son of Matthias, but a bit spoiled, as he has been lionized by the Redwallers since he was born. But when he fights the mean, obnoxious rat, Vitch, who, as it turns out, is helping Slagar, Masked Fox, who wants to infilatrate the Summer Feast and carry off the Redwallers to sell for slaves. He and his group pretends to be a circus troupe and drug the redwallers, then steal the Dibbuns, or the young children of the abbey, Matthias, Tess and Tim churchmouse, a Vale named Cynthia Bankvole and Sam Squirrel. They wake in St.Ninians Priory and are marched off to the distant kingdom of Malakiss, but the slaves aren't being told where they are being taken. Also with them is Auma, a badgermaid who had already been captured. The slavers also pick up Jube, a hedgehog who is sure his father is going to rescue him soon. Matthias and several redwallers are on the trail of Mattimeo and his companions, but when they reach the underground realm of Malakiss, all bets are off. Can Matthias and the Dibbuns fight to stay alive until help reaches them and will Mattimeo show the stuff to become a warrior like his father? Another excellent novel. Yes, it's very black and white regarding good and evil, but it's a thrilling tale well suited for kids and teens. The Dibbuns occasionally get on my nerves, but are otherwise okay as protagonists. Recommended.

Martin the Warrior by Brian Jacques- Martin the Warrior has often appeared in the Redwall tales as a benevolent ghost who helps the Redwallers and represents the best of warriors and the Warrior spirit. But he's never appeared as an actual character, until now. Martin starts out already a seasoned warrior. son of another Warrior, Luke. But Martin has been captured by the Tyrant, Badrang, and enslaved. Martin has sworn to escape, and he does, but without his father's sword that he swore to reclaim. Martin joins up with several other good animals, including a mousemaid named Laterose, or "Rose". The companions are separated, and while Martin, Rose and a Mole named Grumm are captured by shrews, but are freed after they save the life of the Shrew Queen's son, along with a Hedgehog named Pallum. When they finally reach Noonvale, Rose's home, Martin and Rose's father, Urran Voh, raise an army, but it is not large enough. It's only with the help of Boldred, a scholarly owl, that they finally raise enough animals to take on Badrang. They also meet up with their other companions, Felidoh, a squirrel, and Brome, Rose's brother, who have freed Badrang's slaves, with the help of The Rambling Rosehip players. But will the fight against Badrag cost Martin everything he has worked for? I loved this series, which uses animals as their "alien races, and which, Brian Jacques based on the people he saw working in England in World War II. I loved the story, and it was good to hear the original story of Martin, and it had both victory and tragedy. Recommended.

Charmed by Jayne Castle, Lori Foster, Eileen Wilks and Julie Beard- Is four short stories built on Paranormal themes. "Bridal Jitters" by Jayne Castle has Virginia Burch, who is about to marry a Ghost Hunter named Sam Gage. They are only going to be having a two year marriage of convenience, rather than a full-on covenant marriage, which means it can be dissolved after two years if they don't have any children, But when the two of them start developing real feelings for each other, will it impact their jobs? And can the find the man behind the difficulties they have been experiencing? "Man in the Mirror" by Julie Beard- When an overworked modern woman sees a Medieval Knight in a mirror, she gets pulled into it in an attempt to defend him. But what will happen to her in this ancient time, and can she somehow find love back in the modern day? "Tangled Dreams" by Lori Foster involves a Bartender who is attracted to a female customer named Allison, and she for him. But can two ghosts, Rose and Burke, bring them together by mixing up their dreams so that each knows what the other is dreaming and fantasizing about? "Pandora's Bottle" by Eileen Wilks has a girl named Dora who is fiancee to a stockbroker, but she is also torn between a man who happens to be a Djinn. But will she have to choose between them? I liked this book a lot, as the stories are all excellent, and I loved all of them, even the ones by authors I knew less well. Of course, "Bridal Jitters" was probably my favorite, because I really love  Jane Ann Krentz/Jayne Castle/ Amanda Quick is one of my favorite authors, but my second favorite was "Man in the Mirror" by Julie Beard. Highly Recommended.

Galactic Gourmet by James White- Gurronsevas is a an alien chef who has decided to leave his job to take up a post at Sector General Hospital. His idea is to make the "hospital Food" there better, But his experiments only succeed in causing chaos. But when he goes on a mission to a planet running short of food which has been reduced to cannibalism, he bends his massive culinary knowledge to saving people from having to eat each other, can he find a solution that weans them away from meat so that their entire race can survive? I loved this book. I love the whole "Sector General" Universe to begin with, and seeing the arrogant Gurronsevas both succeed and fail as he moves through the hospital and working on both the food for the doctors and the patients. And when he really shines, of course, is when he must wean an entire race away from eating meat. I loved the story and seeing the Hospital in a frenzy over Gurronsevas's experiments. Highly Recommended.

Mind Changer by James White- This is another Sector General Novel This one focuses on the chief Psychiatrist, O'Mara, who has had a history of Sector General going back to when the Hospital was first being constructed, deep in Interstellar space. But now, the time is coming for O'Mara to retire, and train his successor. But what will Sector General be without its Chief Psychologist and the person who has always been there? And while O'Mara is used to ferreting out everyone's secrets, what secrets are hidden behind O'Mara's tetchy façade? And will he be able to move on from his old job, and what else does O'Mara do when he isn't in his office? I liked reading this book a lot. O'Mara has always been a character who had the same position in all of the stories, so seeing what lay behind that façade was endlessly fascinating. Highly recommended'

Final Diagnosis by James White- Patient Hewitt has a real fear of aliens, but he's sent to Sector General. He is suffering from many different symptoms, but the doctors on his homeworld can find absolutely nothing wrong with him, and so they have labeled him a hypochondriac. As a last resort, they have sent him to Sector General, in hopes that the alien doctors can find something that they can't. As O'Mara probes Hewitt's mind, he tells his fellow patients, all aliens, his life story. But as the other alien patients fall ill with the same symptoms that Hewitt has, the Doctors begin to worry about the possibility of a cross-species of disease, which has never happened before. And to get to the bottom of this conundrum, the Sector General ambulance team will have to take Hewitt home to discover what is really going on, and what the "cure" may be. I loved this book, as it posed a truly unique medical conundrum, and all of the usual suspects are involved, Prillicla, Conway, Murchison, O'Mara, Charge Nurse Naydrad, and all are there to find the solution to the problem. I also loved what was reason behind the "disease". If you liked "House" or other medical procedural shows, this is the Sci-Fi equivalent. Highly recommended.

Heart Change by Robin D. Owens- Signet D'Marigold is the last of her family, and she lives alone on her flaired estate, but while her minor flair is for cabbling, and making shoes, no one can tell her what her main flair is, not even T'Ash, whose collection of gemstones, can detect any kind of flair. But then she gets a visit from Vinnie T'Vine, a young prophet, who tells her that he can tell her what her main flair is- she is a Catalyst, and he needs het to look after his fiancée, Avellana Hazel, who suffered brain damage after attempting to fly out the window when she was only three. Vinnie wants Signet to look after Avellana, and guide her through her Passage. Avellana's family want her to survive her passage, so they hire Cratag Maytree to look afterwards. Soon, Signet's life is full, with two other people living in her estate and a fam. Not only does she love Avellana on sight, but Avellana and Cratag come with fams of their own. But when Avellana's flair comes, it nearly destroys the Marigold residence. But can Avellana survive this destructive Flair? Meanwhile,.Cratag and Signet are finding love, but must deal with Signet's abandonment issues and Cratag's not inconsiderable issues as well. What sort of the life can Cratag and Signet have considering her flair and his, which is barely existent? And can they find a lasting love? I loved this book. I've loved all the Celta stories, which have a strong Pagan/Wiccan vibe to them, both in their approach to a religion and life in general. I also loved Signet and Cratag and their romance, and how they dealt with their problems. Neither is young, and their pasts add to their romance. Highly recommended.

The Queen's Bastard by C. E. Murphy- Belinda Primrose is a Bastard, the unacknowledged daughter of Queen Lorraine, trained since she was young by Lorraine's spymaster and lover. Belinda, completely unknown and can mingle in the courts of Echon, where she can seek out the enemies of Aulun. But when Belinda realizes she is the holder of magical power, will she betray her Mother and Aulun to dabble with Javier, the seductive prince whose mother's papers she is trying to get into. But Javier is much the same as Belinda- he, too, has witch power, and he wants her to stay with him, only it's dangerous to for her to stay too long in one place. But how can she have a life of her own while remaining her mother and father's creature? And can she just leave her duties and responsibilities behind? This book I bought because I love C.E. Murphy's Urban Shaman series. But Belinda is a much more difficult heroine to like, much less love. She spends half her time being heroic and epic, and even more time being a stone-cold bitch. As such, it's difficult to cheer her on when you are so busy disliking her. Even when she gets attacked, it was difficult for me to feel sorry for, something I wouldn't probably say about any other heroine. But it's a competent book and while there are very difficult passages, I can only lightly recommend it.

Hunting Julian by Jacqueline Frank- Julian is a hunter, sent from another world to find "Chosen", women whose energy can revive his kingdom, which is constantly on the edge of starvation and breaking down. Asia Callahan is looking to see who has made her sister an many other women disappear. But when Julian sees Asia, he realizes she is more than just Chosen, she is his Kindra, or his Chosen mate. When he lures Asia into his arms and into his world, will she be able to accept what has happened to her and to her sister, and more importantly, will she stay with Julian and help him and his Kingdom, or is she too focused on finding and freeing her sister to listen to what Julian and his people have to say? And can she listen to her body and heart to find out what she really wants to do? I found this book interesting, but annoying when it came to Julian himself. Asia started out as a strong character, but Julian and his people seemed to never have hit upon the idea of *asking* women to come save his world, and that annoyed me. It was all like "Let's go to another world and just steal all the wimminz we needs!" Later, Asia got more annoying, but I had a hard time thinking of Julian and his people as in any way heroic. It was okay, but Julian and his people just completely ruined the story for me. Not recommended.