Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A YA Halloween Treat

"Shadow Slayer" is Book 2 of Laura A. H. Elliott's Shadow Series and it does not disappoint.  We First met Roxie in "Thirteen on Halloween" when she astral-projected to Planet Popular.  Now she's a high school freshman just trying to fit in to the new environment of high school.

She still wants to go back to Planet Popular to discover the mystery of the map; but, it seems that all is not right on Planet Earth.  Her friends are acting strange and her "perfect ten" boyfriend, Drew, is almost to good to be true.

The shadows from Planet Popular want to be human more than anything and they are trying to take over Roxie's classmates.  It will be up to her to slay the shadow on her 14th birthday - Halloween.

I love Roxie's character.  She's matured since the last book but is still caught up in all the drama of starting high school and trying to fit in.  Elliott has made her a very believable young woman that anyone can relate to.  The mystery of what is happening to her classmates is well developed.

This is a very engaging YA series and I can't wait to find out what happens to Roxie next!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Revenge by the Numbers

"Accountable to None", by Ashley Fontaine, is a tale of corporate greed and power run amok.  Winscott & Associates is a prestigious accounting firm.  Its managing partner, Olin, is a power hungry sexual predator, who works his way through the new associates and tosses them aside.

Audra Tanner is an associate that Olin raped when he made her an equity partner.  Audra has spent the last five years plotting revenge against Olin and the other partners who looked the other way.  She did this to the exclusion of everything else, including her husband. When Olin's sneaky merger deal heads south, Audra finds an opportunity to exact her revenge at long last.

I really liked the plot and concept of this novel.  However, I would have liked more development of Audra's character and maybe less background on the other equity partners.  Once the background of the characters was established the story was well paced with some unexpected twists.  There are a few minor editing errors; but, not enough to be a distraction.

Overall it's a good read about corporate greed, abuse of power and revenge.

This Jet Roars

Russell Blake's "Jet" is the first novel in a fast paced trilogy that will have you on the edge of your seat. Jet is an ex-Mossad operative who faked her own death to get out of the business.  She's made a new life for herself on the island of Trinidad.  Suddenly her life is disrupted by an assassination attempt that could only have been planned by professionals.

Now Jet must figure out how she was betrayed and who wants her dead.  Her search will take her across continents and unearth a plot of destruction and domination.

The character of Jet reminded me of an older Lizbeth Salander from "The Dragon Tattoo".  Blake gives Jet more emotion and depth in this first book of the trilogy than Lisbeth had in "Dragon", in my opinion.  The villains are deliciously evil.

The story is fast-paced and full of unexpected twists and turns.  It's a great thrill ride that will leave you anticipating the rest of the trilogy.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Peak at the Dark Side

"Darkness Within" by Christine Dougherty is a collection of short stories of a horrifying nature.  I've previously read her novel "The Devil Stood Up" and reviewed it here.  The first three chapters of the novel are included in this collection.  Dougherty has a dark style and the stories are suspenseful and disturbing.  I'll highlight a few of my favorites.

In 'The Owners' the original owners of the planet have returned and have set child against parent in the slow methodical murder of the human race.  Edgy and disturbing.

'More to Me' is about a woman visiting her 'inner child' on the advice of her therapist.  It turns out her inner child is a brat and doesn't like her very much.

'Kings Mountain' takes three different points of view on two mysterious deaths that span decades.

One of my favorites was 'Victoria Dean - Serial Clerk' about a woman who surreptitiously destroys the career of anyone who comes into conflict with her at We Mean Business, Inc., a division of Big, Big Business, Co.  I loved the company name and how she made the careers blow up.  Disturbing in it's own way.

There are more stories and all are bound to set you thinking and give you a chill or two.  If you are a fan of dark horror stories this is for you.

Romance is Afoot

Christy Hayes' "Shoe Strings" is about Angelita Barros, a shoe designer with her own up and coming boutique in Atlanta.  Shes about to head off for a tropical vacation when she sees her estranged father lurking about.  Instead of the planned trip she ends up hiding out in a small mountain town in North Carolina.

Angelita's life rapidly becomes entwined the the town's residents.  Cal Bloodworth owns the cabin she rents.  His son Jesse takes her breath away.  Jesse's ex, Kerri Ann, oddly enough, becomes a friend.

While friendships develop her father continues to hound her about a business deal  Things do not seem to be quite on the up and up and demands become threats.  She must discover the truth behind it and also where her relationship is heading.

This is a great chic lit type of story.  I liked Angelita's character very much.  She had a take charge personality but with a softer, vulnerable side.  Jesse's character was also done well.  He initially comes off as a ladies man but then acquires more depth.

I did think the character of Kerri Ann was a little weak.  It's hard to imagine that someone once so popular would be so insecure and blind to her friend's feelings.  That's just my opinion though.

Definitely give it a read.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Coming of Age in the South

"A Death on the Wolf", by G.M. Frazier is a coming of age tale with danger and suspense thrown into the mix.  It is the story of Nelson Gody, who is sixteen in the summer of 1969.  He is living in Bells Ferry, Mississippi with his father and younger sister, Sachet.  His Aunt Charity lives in the house next door on the family land.

What begins as a routine summer for Nelson, working at the gas station and hanging out with his friend Frankie on the Wolf river, quickly changes when Aunt Charity brings 14 year old Mary Alice to stay with her for the summer.  Mary Alice is a blind orphan who normally resides at the orphanage.  Nelson is smitten the moment he lays eyes on her.

As the summer progresses and love blooms, Nelson learns that Frankie has been harboring a secret that impacts both their lives.  When a mysterious stranger arrives in town on a sleek black motorcycle danger arrives with him.

This is a wonderful story set in a time and place that is a story in itself.  Bells Ferry is still working through the civil rights movement and Hurricane Camille is on her way.  Nothing will be the same.

Frazier has created wonderful characters with many layers to them.  They are well developed and I felt I knew each of them intimately. The story is well paced and compelling.  I couldn't stop reading because I needed to know what would happen next.  The suspense builds and holds you in it's grips.  A fantastic read!