Tag Archives: assassination

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

I came across the best book advertisement ever.

It makes me want to read the book, so look for that in the next few weeks.

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Filed under Not a Book Review

Hot

Harper, Julia*. Hot (2008). 380 Pages. Grand Central. $6.99

Have you ever made the mistake of starting a brand new book right before bed, only to realize as you close the book that you’ve been reading all night, and the sun is rising? Harper’s book grabs you from the first line. “In Turner Hastings’ opinion, the bank robbery didn’t go truly bad until Yoda shot out the skylight.” From the dramatic first line until you close the book, you’ll be hooked.

When Special Agent John MacKinnon gets called in to investigate a bank robbery in small-town Winosha, Wisconsin, he expects an open-and-shut case. It isn’t until he stumbles across footage of  bank-teller and local librarian Turner Hastings ripping off her boss’s safety deposit box and smirking at the camera that he realizes there is more going on than meets the eye. He finds himself intrigued by the woman, and growing more enthralled by her with each passing day.

Having secured the contents of the bank president’s safety deposit box and fled, Turner begins the cat-and-mouse game which is the backbone of the story. She is not an experienced criminal though, so when her phone rings, she answers it and finds herself talking to MacKinnon. At first, he is professional, trying to capture his quarry by convincing her to come in, but slowly their conversations become more personal. He teases Turner’s story out of her; she’s seeking revenge for the framing of her late Uncle Rusty, and needs evidence to prove her case.

When a hit-man is hired to get rid of Turner, MacKinnon finds himself wanting to protect her more than he wants to arrest her, which makes the whole situation more difficult for him. The two grow closer and closer to each other, until the story climaxes with a few climaxes.

The writing is top-notch. I didn’t roll my eyes over stupidity (very often), or plot holes, or badly used adjectives. The mystery is more of a cat-and-mouse or keystone cops thing, maybe a bit of both combined. There are of course a few sex scenes, this is a romance, and this isn’t a prudish publisher. They’re very detailed, perhaps a little too detailed. The biggest issue is with the scenes with the escaping robbers- they’re a bit too stupid, and while they’re meant to be funny, they’re really not necessary to the story. You can skip the chapters without missing anything at all.

The characters are human; John and Turner both have their pasts, and they’ve got their futures. They develop through the book, and really learn to step outside their respective boxes. Other characters grow less, but that’s not always a bad thing. If every character is growing, the book can be overwhelming. (Anyone who’s ever read the Kushiel series knows how overwhelming too much character development can be.)

The Quick Version:

The funny parts are genuinely funny, the chase scenes enthralling, the characters actually develop and are slowly revealed. The dialog is brilliant, and as a whole, this book is one of the best books I’ve read in a while. It gets a 5 out of 5.

Want to read it? Get it on Amazon or through Swaptree.

______________________________________________

*Julia Harper is a nom de plume** for Elizabeth Hoyt.

** I think it’s silly to have multiple pen-names*** just because you’re genre-crossing. I realize that authors can feel constrained by a genre, but they should be able to branch out without using a whole new name

*** And what is the point in having multiple pseudonyms for different genres if you link to them on your authorial website? I mean, really.

If you haven’t noticed, I do enjoy footnotes. I just wish I could anchor them properly.

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Filed under Adult Fiction, Book Review, Chick-Lit, Contemporary Romance, Humor, Mystery & Suspense, Realistic Fiction, Romance

Holy Smokes

MacAlister, Katie. Holy Smokes (2007). 341 Pages. Signet. $7.99

Aisling Grey, Guardian: Book Four || Dragons Universe Book Four

Please be aware that there may be are spoilers present, as this is the fourth (and final?) book in a series!

Seemingly, Holy Smokes is the last book which we will read about Aisling Grey, but it is certainly not the last we’ll hear of the Dragons. The rest of this review has been placed behind a tag because it is very full of spoilers (for the first three books, rather than the fourth). Click at your own risk.

Continue reading

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Filed under Adult Fiction, Book Review, Chick-Lit, Contemporary Romance, Humor, Paranormal Romance, Romance, Urban Fantasy

Aurelia

Osterlund, Anne. Aurelia (2008). 246 Pages. Penguin. $8.99

The book opens with the stealthy removal of a body from a palace. It is revealed that the body is that of the princess’s meal taster and that this is not the first attempt on her life. A fascinating start.

Enter Aurelia, the crown princess of Tyralt, the stereotypical free-spirited-princess-stuck-in-the-confining-palace. She is oblivious to the plot against her life, and has few concerns beyond being free spirited and refusing the suitors her father has selected. Cue Robert, Aurelia’s childhood friend, returned to the palace to investigate the assassination attempts. Aurelia is interested in Robert, Robert is interested in Aurelia, but of course, there are other issues at hand, like the several attempts on Aurelia’s life.

Aurelia’s father is distant and uncaring, her sister incredibly “perfect,” her stepmother “wicked.” We have all of the archetypes of a classic fairy tale accounted for. The plot does not follow any particular fairy tale plot, and does not have a typical fairy tale ending.

The setting is strange, and never explained to satisfaction. There is a hint that there is a school system of sorts set up, and that Aurelia went to school with the other palace children (I had trouble believing this). It is hinted that this kingdom is coastal, and that Aurelia’s cousin controls a kingdom down the coast. It is stated that there are “Outer Realms,” but though they exist, nothing es explained except that immigration from them is forbidden. There is a desert controlled by tribes, but nothing besides their horses are considered important enough to talk about. There is a frontier which is hard to get to or from, but little is said about that.

The characters remain flat and fail to develop. Aurelia is beautiful but doesn’t think so- she calls herself plain, upsetting Robert- and “feisty” if you can call whining and sneaking out of the palace feisty. Aurelia’s younger sister Melony is the blond haired blue eyed beauty who strings along many young men, and does not have any appearances beyond her coming out party at the beginning, and her role in the climax at the end. Elise, the queen, is presumably beautiful, but she is greedy, selfish, and does not care for her stepdaughter. Aurelia’s father is distant, and cares only about pleasing his wife and marrying Aurelia off.

The murder mystery feels like it’s going one way abruptly takes a turn in an unexpected, unforeshadowed direction. Perhaps I am not good at unraveling murder mysteries, but mostly I feel like it wasn’t there.

As a whole, the book shows promise which is not fulfilled.

The Quick Version:

It is not well written, the characters are undeveloped. The surface of this story is interesting, but it is not executed well and remains shallow. There is no good why for any character except Robert, who is driven by his love for Aurelia. It scores a 2 of 5, because the murder mystery aspect resolves itself in a surprising way.

Not scared away? Buy it on Amazon, or trade for it on Swaptree.

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Filed under Book Review, High Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense, Romance, Young Adult Fiction