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My random nattering about all things geek, including family, friends and what I find to be fantastic and fun!

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It Happened One Doomsday

Posted on June 23, 2016 at 11:00 AM Comments comments (1)

This is my last book review for a while. Life and family have taken my time recently and will be for the next few months. But at least I got a really great story to read - It Happened One Doomsday



In author Laurence MacNaughton's interpretation of modern day, magic is real. There are a small number of naturally born sorcerers that can wield the power to defeat the forces of darkness. Dru is not one of them. Magic users are like rock stars to her. Sure, she can use crystals to see enchantments and can brew up the occasional potion, but she doesn't have the wow factor that they do. 


That's until a new client walks into her shop looking for help with some bad dreams. Greyson seems to bring out the power in her, and she'll need it when he starts changing into a nasty demon set on bringing about the end of days. 


The characters are fantastic in what I'm hoping is only the first of a series. Dru doesn't feel she has the great power of her heroes, but she uses all she has to help out those who do. She becomes the best backup she can possibily be. Her friend Rane, a very powerful sorceress, is outrageous, and hilarious. Same is true of Dru's shop assistant Opal. She is all attitude, but she has Dru's back. Greyson too is mighty fine, as Opal mentions many times. Even as he fights for his immortal soul, he is helpful, thoughtful and would love to be Dru's other half.


Throughout the story, Dru is constantly at battle with herself. She feels stuck in between worlds. She would love to have a "normal" life with dentist boyfriend Nate, but when Greyson brings out her natural magical powers, and some other feelings for him, she must decide if she will ignore the magic world or fight the darkness and save the whole world. Pretty normal for your 30 something single career woman, but with magic. Magic makes everything more interesting.


I really like this book and I highly recommend it. It Happened One Doomsday would make a great summer read, and you can get your own copy when it's released on July 1st.


You can get a copy at your local bookstore or amazon.ca


All the best, your GG

Heart of Stone

Posted on June 2, 2016 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Heart of Stone from Seventh Street Books is the fourth book in a series of mysteries that revolve around young reporter Ellie Stone. 



In the waning days of a lazy August holiday in 1961, Ellie Stone is enjoying a bright Adirondack cottage country morning.

 

Nearby, two men plummet to their deaths just a few feet short of the water at a dangerous diving pool. A tragic accident, it seems, but the police quickly conclude that the two victims, one a stranger to the lake and the other a teenaged boy from a nearby music camp, surely didn’t know each other. So how did they come to die together?

 

Wading into a labyrinth of free-love intellectuals, charismatic evangelicals, and small town prejudices, Ellie’s investigation forces her to navigate old grudges, lost ideals, and betrayed loves. As usual, she sticks her nose where it’s not wanted, rattling nerves and putting herself in danger. But this time her heart may also be at risk.


This is the first Ellie Stone mystery I've read. I like Ellie, and I really enjoyed the huge cast of characters that are part of this book. I do wish I had read the other books in this series beforehand, as I believe I would have had a better grounding in how Ellie looks at the world and deals with her investigations. There were many times where the death of her father and brother was mentioned in the course of her investigation, and knowing details of their deaths would likely have explained why she approached things the way she did, which I found myself questioning many times.


I did enjoy, however, "listening" to characters talk about their lives in 1961 - their mindsets less than 20 years after WWII and their changing viewpoints around a woman's place in the world, home, and family. I also enjoyed the author's wonderful descriptions of the lake and small town close by to Ellie's aunt's cottage. It made me nostalgic for childhood summers. 


The mystery itself twisted and weaved like a slippery fish in the lake. Every time Ellie questioned someone new, or questioned a suspect a second or even third time, the parameters of the plot changed. I got a little sea sick. I also had a hard time accepting that the dalliance she was having throughout the book, a fling of less than one week, could wreck such havoc on her investigative skills. I'm not too old to remember summer flings, and they were never taken quite so seriously.


What I did enjoy about the mystery though was the new information about the characters that arose with each questioning. It was creative and entertaining. It gave the characters a very realistic background for that period of time when the world really was changing at a rapid pace.


If you want a cottage read that will take you back to vacations in the 60s and summer flings, with an interesting cast of characters, and a mystery thrown in, you'll enjoy Heart of Stone.


You can get your own copy from the publisher and at amazon.ca when it's released next Tuesday, June 7th.


All the best, your GG 

See Also Deception

Posted on May 3, 2016 at 1:30 PM Comments comments (0)

About this same time last year, I reviewed the first Marjorie Trumaine mystery by author Larry D. Sweazy. It was one of the most interesting novels I had read in a very long time. 


Since the last book, Marjorie's life hasn't gotten any better, and now there is another murder in her home town. It's horrible for her, but fantastic for fans of this series. 



Just months after Marjorie helped solved a series of grusome murders in her small town of Dickinson, North Dakota, she is faced with another death that pulls her into the investigation. Her long time friend, and town librarian, Calla Eltmore is found dead at work, and everyone seems to think it's suicide. Marjorie doesn't agree. What she finds is a maze of secrets, and someone willing to kill again to keep those secrets hidden.


The author once more pulls the reader into 1964 small town life. Marjorie shares detailed descriptions with the reader of everything she sees and does day to day. I particularly like the comparisons of her farm wife utilitarian wardrobe with that of her new acquaintance, the well put together professor's wife. I also enjoy the commentary she provides on the various buildings she goes to including the library, the hospital, the police station, and a local watering hole. 


At the same time, the story also gives the reader a continuation of Marjorie's home life, and the sad decline of her chronically disabled husband. How she handles the tragic issues in her life is both brave and heart wrenching. This second book also gives us a closer look at the son of her friends and neighbours who were murdered in the previous story. He made a small appearance in See Also Murder, but this time he becomes a main character, and a welcome addition. 


To solve this latest mystery, Marjorie's indexing skills and love of books are once more used. She also uses the anger about her friend's death to give her courage and push her on toward solving this case. We get to see much more of Marjorie's personal feelings and a few memories too in this second book. It gives the reader a wonderful closeness with this character. If I smoked, I'd love to hang out on the back stairs to share a cigarette and a chat with her. 


I recommend See Also Deception. It's a slice of small town pie, with a side of mystery and murder. 


You can get your own copy when it's released on May 10th from Seventh Street Books and amazon.ca


All the best, your GG

Masks and Shadows

Posted on March 29, 2016 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Author Stephanie Burgis has written a fantasy mystery in one of my favourite time periods. It's lush and rich and full of intrigue. The year is 1779 and the story's main characters are a castrato, a baroness, a servant with a secret talent, and a couple of shady alchemists. 



Masks and Shadows is set at Eszterháza Palace during the height of the Habsburg Empire. Intrigue is part of every day life, but when magic proves to be real, and demons are called upon to be assasins, the usual rules of the court are thrown out the window. 


The author has created a wonderful mix of historical fiction and dark fantasy that has a little something for every reader. There's romance, mystery, magic, blackmail, murder, fashion, royalty, music, historical figures, and lots of action.  There's also a nice twist I was not expecting. Just when you think you've figured out the main characters and the heroes of this story, everything changes and it's not who you think. I quite enjoyed the change of focus.


At 314 pages, it's not a lengthy tome, and is certainly a quick read, but it's definitely entertaining. It easily transported me to a different time and place. A great escape worthy of a rainy day and a steaming cup of tea.


You can get your own copy when it's released on April 12th from any local bookstore or amazon.ca


All the best, your GG

Black City Saint

Posted on February 10, 2016 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Pyr Books has a new urban fantasy full of saints, fae creatures, and mobsters, and they all inhabit the violent Chicago of the 1930s.



The Black City Saint is Nick Medea. He has been guarding the gate that separates our world and the land of faerie for over sixteen hundred years. He doesn't do his job alone. The dragon he slew as Saint George now resides within him, and the two are in a constant battle for control.


That becomes a problem when a great evil they thought had been destroyed during Chicago's great fire is suddenly found to be alive and plotting. Things get even worse when Nick finds out that his lost love Cleolinda has been reincarnated as Claryce. Each time their paths have crossed over the centuries she dies. Can he change her destiny this time? And keep the whole mortal realm from an even worse fate?


If you like urban fantasy, this book is a delight. I really enjoyed iconic Saint George as a 1930s gumshoe.The other dime novel cast of characters are all here too: his mutt is a werewolf, the dame is his reincarnated love, his informant is a raven changeling, and the bad guy is a big shot businessman working with the local mobsters (aka fairy royalty out for revenge and domination). The author has blended an old genre with a new one seamlessly.


The gate Nick guards is only part of his job, the other is to to hunt down fae folk that have somehow gotten through the gate. This is the detective service he provides to the humans in Chicago. Some of the fae are refugees and not so bad. Those ones he lets live and they help him throughout the story, but there are others. This land of faerie is based on old folklore. It is dark, twisted and dangerous. Those creatures made of shadows are seriously nasty (they gave me the creeps). They work really well with the violence of the mob war happening in the time period the story is based on. The worst escapee is the one trying to turn our world into a dark and twisted version of his to rule over. If Nick didn't get help from his friends, he'd be in way over his head, even for a saint.


This is a wonderful fantasy full of action, magic, monsters, and one very old soldier turned detective who hates being called a saint.


I highly recommend this book. You can get your own copy from amazon.ca or your local bookstore when it's released on March 1st.


All the best, your GG

Pride And Prejudice and Zombies

Posted on February 4, 2016 at 11:00 AM Comments comments (0)

 have long been a fan of Jane Austen's work. I am a huge fan of her story Pride and Prejudice, especially as portrayed in the 1995 incarnation that included, to my eye, the best Mr. Darcy ever.


I'm also a fan of zombies. I've even been one in a commercial. So when Pride and Prejudice and Zombies - the book version came out, I was intrigued, and of course I got it. What I read was a delightful retelling of Miss Austen's work with parts cleverly switched to include zombies and characters fighting pride and prejudice, and also zombies. But the whole of Austen's original story was still there. It was wonderful.




When I found out that a movie version of the book was being made, I quite liked the idea of seeing this version, with zombies, on a big screen. I couldn't wait. Last night we finally got to see it.




The movie version starts off on the wrong foot with an introductory scene that has nothing to do with either book. After that there is a clever, and quite well done, paper puppet show explaining the zombie history, again not really part of the story except in occasional conversation, but it was obviously Mr. Bennet telling his girls and I liked it.


Then we get into the story. And it is gorgeous. The historical costuming is well done. When they deviate from the historical for fighting appropriate outfits, they are a nice mix of the historical with some practical, and a whole lot of sexy. Which brings me to all of Elizabeth Bennet's outfits. While all the girls have appropriate necklines, her neckline is considerably lower on every outfit and her bosom heaves far more and far more often than is needed (and the camera closeups are ridiculous). I see bosom bingo happening at a rewatching in the future. Of course, I also have to note that the gentlemen's costuming was also well done. In particular, Mr. Darcy's long leather coat fit nicely with this iconic character.




The story follows the book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies quite well, even with a few cuts or quick scenes to shorten it (understandable or it would have to be a miniseries). But then they start to mess with it when Wickham takes Elizabeth to see the zombies that haven't quite turned yet. Here the story veers off onto a whole different path and it becomes a mash up of the original, mixed with zombies, and a whole other story of the potential for an intelligent zombie take over. There are hordes of zombies instead of the occasional one or two in the countryside, much more fighting, and explosions that are never in the story at all. They've also messed with geography and suddenly London is only a short horse ride away.


Those who are fans of the historical period, and/or Jane Austen's original work will cringe when they see this. Those who are fans of her writing, but also enjoyed Seth Grahame-Smith's zombie version will appreciate much of the film, but not the adulteration done to it. However, if you've never read either book, or your my husband, you'll love the addition of the new storyline, the extra military might and fighting, and of course, the explosions.


It was partly what I expected, but I admit to some disappointment where they changed my beloved story. I do plan to see it again though - when it's out on bluray. By then I will have hopefully come to appreciate the zombie action film that it truly is.


Oh, and my favourite part was most definitely the brilliant fight scene between Darcy and Elizabeth after his first horrendous attempt at a proposal. And of course, expect more heaving bosom.


Let me know what you think after you see it.


All the best, your GG

A Thousand Falling Crows

Posted on January 22, 2016 at 11:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Last year I was introduced to author Larry D. Sweazy when I read and reviewed his novel See Also Murder. I really enjoy his every man style of murder mystery.


Publisher Seventh Street Books recently sent me his latest, A Thousand Falling Crows.



The main character, Sonny Burton is forced to retire from the Texas Rangers after a run-in with Bonnie and Clyde so damages his right arm that it has to be amputated. While Sonny struggles with getting used to the idea of living a life with only one arm, Aldo Hernandez, the hospital’s janitor, asks Sonny to help find his daughter and bring her back home. She has gotten herself mixed up with a couple of no good brothers. Sonny agrees to help, but is more concerned about a wholly different criminal in town who has taken to killing young women and leaving them in the local fields for crows to feast on.


Right off I'll let you know that I wasn't too excited about getting this book. I so loved the author's female protagonist in See Also Murder, that I wasn't sure I could feel anything for a male character, and an older lawman at that. He starts out as a disgruntled man in his early 60s. He feels like he has no purpose and no future after losing his arm and being put out to pasture (so to speak).


It took me a while to appreciate it, but the author does a very fine job of telling Sonny's story through his day to day struggles, and also through his perspective of the depression and drought happening around him in 1934. Sonny is as hopeless and dry as the land around him.


As the story progresses Sonny finds purpose again, and he makes one very important decision which is the catalyst to an incredible shift in the pace of the story. Add in a mutt he hits with his truck and a teenage girl trying to survive her bad choices, and the story becomes as lively as the storms that hit the lonely countryside near Wellington, Texas.


The murders in this mystery start out as almost an aside. They seem to be more of a mechanism for the crows to share their vantage point of the drought and what it means to their survival. While at first I didn't appreciate the connection, I really enjoyed the crows. Over the course of the novel though Sweazy cleverly draws in the murders, like the threads of fate, to become the final link to the other events taking place. The story's climax is unexpected and incredibly tense, but the threads are neatly tied up in the finale.


What I really like about Larry Sweazy's mysteries is that his stories are about people as well as murder. There's not only a crime to solve, but also lives to save, not just physically, but also emotionally. His stories appeal to me because they're so darn down to earth. And I did come to like Sonny in the end.


Like your mysteries with a little more hometown and heart to them, then you'll love A Thousand Falling Crows.


All the best, your GG


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