Saturday, May 31, 2014

Death, Doom, and Detention

Death, Doom and Detention (Darklight, #2)Death, Doom and Detention by Darynda Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lorelei McAlister, high school student and the last female descendent of the prophet Arabeth, is soon going to have to save the world from an invasion of demons. How? She has no idea. She's still struggling with the recently resurfaced memory of her parents' death when she was six--the day demons first broke through into this world, and Satan's second-in-command, Malak-Tuke, took up residence in her body.

Luckily for Lorelei, she's got some help in the form of a half-human/half-angel protector, Cameron; her best friends Brooklyn & Glitch; Jared, the super-sexy Angel of Death her grandparents won't let her date; and a network of church members who believe in the prophesies of Arabeth. Plus, she's just discovered she has the power to go inside a photograph to see what was happening in the moments just before it was taken, which is way cool, if not obviously helpful.

Even though Lorelei knows the war is coming soon, her more immediate concern is with the weird way everyone at school is starting to act. What is up with the stares? Even Jared is acting strangely. Her visions become increasingly specific and frightening, making class an ever more dangerous place to go.

I enjoyed book #2 far better than Death and the Girl Next Door. There is still a lot of whining and angst, but the story also gets fleshed out more--missing pieces filled in. The cliffhanger ending had me rushing to my computer to put book #3, Death and the Girl He Loves on hold at the library.

For readers' advisory: story doorway is primary, character secondary. Humorous, snappy dialogue. Heavy petting & teen hormones but no sex. I don't remember any swearing, but I'm writing this review a couple of months after finishing the book, so I can't be certain.

View all my reviews

Thursday, May 29, 2014


Shimmer (Charley Davidson, #5.5)Shimmer by Darynda Jones
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Super short. Pretty humorous. Includes a fairly explicit sex scene. Well, the whole thing is just one scene, part of which is a quickie on the couch (that ends up on the floor). I'm not even sure what doorway(s) to tag it with because the whole thing is so short. Anyone who likes the Charley Davidson Grim Reaper series should enjoy this little vignette. Definitely don't read it unless you've read the first 5 books in the series, though, as it contains spoilers.

You can read it online here:

View all my reviews

Friday, May 23, 2014

A Witch Before Dying

A Witch Before Dying (A Wishcraft Mystery, #2)A Witch Before Dying by Heather Blake
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Darcy Merriweather, Wishcrafter and sole remaining healthy employee of her aunt's private concierge service, As You Wish, has just been hired to clean out Patrice Keaton's house so her daughter Elodie can sell it. Patrice has been missing for a year and a half, and Elodie can no longer afford to maintain both her mother's house & business. She warns Darcy that it'll be a big job--Patrice was a hoarder--but neither one expect that one of the first things Darcy uncovers will be Patrice's dessicated body.

The more Darcy digs through the debris, the more she uncovers a complicated web of wishes and secrets. At the heart of it all is the Anicula, a charm that both mortals and Crafters (as the witches prefer to be called) alike can use to make unlimited wishes. It's a power coveted by many, and Darcy has her hands full determining who might want it enough to kill for it.

To top it all off, Darcy must complete her investigation while simultaneously dealing with her aunt's imminent wedding, which seems to have been cursed, so many things are going wrong, and the Peeper Creeper who's been watching Darcy from the woods and breaking into homes all over town.

The second installment of the Wishcraft Mystery series does not disappoint. It's light, fun, and a fast read full of quirky characters you'd love to know in real life. Well, perhaps not the creepy Andreus Woodshall, who looks normal in the daylight and scary in the shadows. But definitely handsome police chief Nick Sawyer and his spunky daughter Mimi, Darcy herself, feisty Mrs. Pennywhistle, and the "familiars," Archie the macaw and Pepe the mouse.

For readers' advisors: story doorway, with character a distant second. No sex or on-screen violence, no bad language.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

For All Time

For All Time (Nantucket Brides Trilogy, #2)For All Time by Jude Deveraux
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Montgomery-Taggert clan is back with a whole new generation, but some things remain the same: family legend states you marry the one who can tell the twins apart. Problem is, this time the twins are princes, and the heir to the throne has his engagement already arranged. Still, Graydon is fascinated by Toby and decides to trade places with his younger brother and stay on Nantucket for an extra week after his cousin's wedding just to see what it's like to feel like an ordinary man rather than a crown prince.

Toby's introduction to the twins does not go well. When Rory approaches her group at the restaurant the night before the wedding, she takes an instant dislike to his presumption they'd stop what they were doing and pay attention to him. The day of the wedding, Graydon pretends it was he who'd come over to them at the bar, angering Toby, who hates liars, especially smooth, handsome ones like the men her mother constantly throws in her path. He will have to work very hard to convince her to give him another chance.

An accident in Lanconia means Graydon has to stay put for a while, joined by his bodyguards, Daire and Lorcan. Initial assumptions lead to hurt feelings, which leads to Toby falling asleep in a vacant house and dreaming of a past life filled with friends and family in different clothing and social roles. It's the most realistic dream Toby's ever had, though, and suddenly, a tiny hidden room in the house fills her with terror and the conviction that she once died inside. At least the mystery serves to somewhat distract Toby from the knowledge that her time with Graydon will soon end, so falling in love with him would be a Bad Idea.

Unbeknownst to me when I requested the ARC from NetGalley, this is the second book in the series. I normally do not read series books out of order, and this is a prime example of why: I spent much of the novel wishing there were a detailed family tree and glossary of people and houses to help me keep track of who was whom. I kept having to flip back and reread pages, trying to piece together what was going on and how everyone was related. I'd definitely suggest reading this series in order, since one book flows right in to the next.

I'd classify this romance novel as a good beach read. Graydon is so improbably perfect (A prince who cooks, organizes messy rooms, waters plants, has the body of a toned warrior, and pitches in to help plan a fancy wedding? Riiiiight.) that I almost tagged the book "fantasy." It's a fun read, though.

For readers' advisors: story doorway. Lots of kissing, not much sex or bad language.

I received a free Advance Reader's Copy (ARC) from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

View all my reviews

Monday, May 5, 2014

Summer at Willow Lake

Summer At Willow Lake (Lakeshore Chronicles, #1)Summer At Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Olivia Bellamy is a talented "fluffer" of real estate, but her eye for design doesn't transfer to her romantic life, and once again she has chosen poorly when it comes to men. She has been expecting a proposal, not another disillusionment, and when the ax falls, she takes her grandmother up on a summer-long job offer to escape the city and lick her metaphorical wounds. Olivia is tasked with getting Camp Kioga, the family's former summer camp, rehabilitated in time for her grandparents' 50th wedding celebration. Problem is, the only local contractor available turns out to be the very same man who broke her heart when they were teenage counselors at the camp ten years ago.

Connor Davis isn't quite the Bad Boy he likes to let people think he is. He has built a successful business and plans to build his dream home on a piece of property he bought. But dream homes cost money, so he takes the job at Camp Kioga not realizing that "Olivia" is the same person as "Lolly," his former best friend and the love of his life. He never told her what really happened all those years ago, so he's got a steep hill to climb to win her trust again.

This is the first installment in the Lakeshore Chronicles series, and it's interesting how many subplots/secondary characters end up getting novels of their own later. Ms. Wiggs does a good job of laying the groundwork early. Of course, part of the reason I know that is that I accidentally read this book fourth, or so, instead of first. I'm not sure how that happened, as I hate reading series out of order, and I've owned a copy of this book for so long, I no longer recall when/where/how I came to have it on my nightstand.

As with most, if not all(?), the other books in this series, this tale is non-linear in chronology, slowly doling out information to readers, while the main characters know most of what happened all those years (and even decades) ago. I like this style better in the other books where the characters are more often learning alongside the reader what really happened at crucial junctures in the past. This volume would have been better had the revelations occurred more quickly, in my opinion. As it was, I sometimes grew tired of Olivia's repetitive insecurity--by the age of 27, you'd think at least some of that would have worn off, especially when her business became so popular and she lost the weight she'd gained in adolescence. It's a good beach read, but lacks the depth of later books in the series.

For readers' advisors: story doorway is primary, character secondary. There are a couple of sex scenes, but they're not particularly explicit, as well as some inner dialogue (monologues?) of horny adolescents. Some mild swearing on occasion as well.

View all my reviews

The Pigeon Loves Things That Go!

The Pigeon Loves Things That Go!The Pigeon Loves Things That Go! by Mo Willems
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There is no story to this book--it's a very short list of "things that go," including a joke at the end that will appeal to preschoolers learning about humor. I'm not sure it's suited to be a board book (which is the copy we own) because babies and toddlers won't get the joke. On the other hand, it's really too short to be a proper picture book. Perhaps the board book format just helps keep younger siblings from tearing the pages?

View all my reviews

Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late!

Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late!Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late! by Mo Willems
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love this book! The expressions on Pigeon's face are pitch perfect--EXACTLY like a child trying to distract you from putting him (or her) to bed.  Great for caregivers of preschool-age children (also kindergarteners & even first graders) to read to said children.  Or just to read to themselves for the chuckles and memories.

View all my reviews