Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Warning, slow ahead

Talking to the DeadTalking to the Dead by Harry Bingham

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Talking to the Dead is such a boring and slow book, that reviewing it is boring. I actually feel badly for anyone reading this, for surely they must be bored.

Fiona Griffiths is a "copper" in Wales. Yup. You read that right. A COPPER. Every time copper appeared in the text I heard, "YEAH SEE! CAN'T CATCH ME NOW COPPER!"

Side note:

Apparently Wales doesn't do a whole lot of psychological profiling before hiring detectives because Fiona!

Fiona has issues, some of which involve talking to the dead and having boring conversations with them. She does happen to stick her finger in a skull cavity, but that lasted two paragraphs, then I was bored again. Also, I was disturbed, but hey, it's Fi, folks! She sticks her fingers in skulls out of love.

Back to the book:

Yes, there is a mystery that involves a couple of murdered prostitutes and a little girl, but the real mystery is what the hell is wrong with Fiona?

As a bored reader, I was rewarded with a diagnosis/label for her utterly morbid behavior, but by the time I got to the ta-da moment, I was just happy to have completed the book.

Why did I give this book two stars rather than one? Well, Fi is so bizarre and has such an honest voice, she kept me coming back. Without her, I would have simply given up. Still, it just wasn't enough.

Your friend Alisha says, "Yawn".

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Keye Street is the Coolest!

Stranger in the Room: A NovelStranger in the Room: A Novel by Amanda Kyle Williams

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hey you guys! I have a fantastic book for you. Stranger in the Room is an exciting thriller that is fast paced, funny, and just smart. I knew nothing about it prior to obtaining my ARC, so I was beyond thrilled when I found myself in the midst of a new girl crush named Keye Street.

Reasons I love Amanda Kyle Williams' Keye Street:

1. Chinese American recovering alcoholic with a southern accent, white parents and a gay, African American brother.

Did you get all that? Yeah. That's right, this ain't your typical blonde, blue-eyed, big busted detective novel. Do not misunderstand me. I am fine with hot, white characters, but let's be honest, shall we. Hot and white is not only cliche, but unrealistic given the diverse world we actually inhabit.

2. Street's taste in guys does not involve a complicated douche bag who is always saving her at every turn.

Believe it or not, Rauser actually trusts Keye and respects her abilities. And, this is important: Rauser is good looking, but he's not so good looking that he couldn't kinda, maybe, sorta exist on this plane. You know, Earth?

"You want some breakfast? I'm going to have some Shredded Wheat."
"No, I'd rather eat a bale of pine straw. But I guess you have to think of fiber at your age."
He grinned at me, pointed a finger. "You better be nice to me, Street. I'm probably the guy that's going to go through menopause with you. And we all know that ain't gonna be pretty."

Sigh. L'Amour.

3. Badassery (is that a word?)

Definition: behavior resulting is brave, but smart decisions that reflect positively on a character or person. Being a total and complete badass that Alisha loves.

Keye can handle Keye.

Keye is not stupid. She does not get so close to the bad guys that she is always in danger of being beaten or raped. I hate those novels. I mean, how stupid. No, Keye enjoys backup, and she has a healthy sense of fear. In other words, she's normal.

4. Best name for a cat EVER.

White Trash. Nuff said.

Beyond Stranger in the Room being simply awesome, it is also lovingly written. There are passages in the book that I connected with that brought me closer to Keye.

In explaining her mother, Keye describes her childhood thusly:

"Our mother, a child of the Albermarle Sound and pulsing marshes and tundra swans and striped bass, had searched for and found the secluded marshes and private seascapes in her city life. And because we had been witness to this delicate beauty in her humanity, it was all the more confusing when her touch turned arctic and her tongue caustic.

A real mom, guys! With flaws and everything!

Professional Alisha says: Williams takes her time with this novel, building characters, and a unpredictable, suspenseful plot.

Alisha, your buddy says: Oh, that bad guy is incredibly creepy too. You'll love it!

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012


QuarantineQuarantine by John Smolens

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Quarantine by John Smolens is set in Newportbury, Massachusetts in June of 1779 on the eve of a Malaria outbreak. The fever sweeps through the small fishing town both literally and figuratively.

Dr. Giles Wiggins and Leander Hatch bravely risk them own lives as they strive to see their families, neighbors, and town through the summer of 1779.

The plot behind Quarantine is both interesting and rich in in detail.

The trouble lies with Wiggin's mother, Miranda, whose namesake ship is quarantined under a yellow flag and as the distinct honor of bringing the town to its knees. Smolens keenly weaves the real Miranda with her yellow flagged counterpart. Miranda only leaves death in her wake.

Sitting at Miranda's right hand is her sleazy grandson, Samuel who has recently dethroned his less sleazy father, Enoch. Samuel bribed his way off the Miranda and once ashore, commences to scam and swindle.

The deck appears stacked against the good doctor Wiggins, who just so happens to be Miranda's youngest son and Enoch's half brother. Giles super power seems to be intuition. Like the fever, Giles understands his mother better than any other character.

In a discussion with his mother, Giles describes Miranda thusly:

"Mother, you can be hot and cold, ruthlessly arbitrary, much like this..."
Involuntarily she stepped back from his cot. "Like this fever? Perhaps, you have a better chance of understanding this disease than your own mother."

As if things weren't bad enough in the town of Newportbury, we have crazy Christians to deal with, corrupt law men, and mob mentality to boot.

The novel suffers from some slow pacing in the middle of the book, but readers can look forward to a swift pace as the novel makes its way towards to finish lines.

ARC provided by Pegasus in association with Netgalley.com

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