Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mini Reviews: This Case is Gonna Kill Me, Trucker Ghost Stories + The Book of the Night

It's family week on my blog this week, so today my fabulous mother-in-law Cathy is taking over the reviewing duties with quite the varied assortment of books courtesy of the wonderful team at Tor Books. A huge thank you to both Cathy and my mom for helping me tackle my to-be-read pile!

THIS CASE IS GONNA KILL ME
Phillipa Bornikova
Urban Fantasy
320 pages
Tor Books
Available now
Received from publisher for review

CATHY'S THOUGHTS
Though Ms. Bornikova's book is set in a time when vampires, werewolves, and elves are the ones in power and humans are subordinates, this story has all the intrigue of a good old fashioned "who dunnit" mystery, and she does a great job weaving a tale full of twists and turns.

Linnet is a human attorney who was raised in a vampire home and now works in a vampire law firm as their newest attorney. As with lots of new hires, she is not immediately accepted because the staff feels as though she received her job as a favor. As a result, her first case – an inheritance dispute over a security company run by werewolves – is one in which she's stuck working with a lesser attorney, Chip, and it's a case that has been dragging on for 17 years.

Linnet is likable immediately. She is strong, gutsy, snarky, and outspoken. She is also an experienced horsewoman, and we get several detailed riding adventures throughout the book. For those who love horses – Jenny – you will love these scenes. Ms. Bornikova knows her stuff and you can tell she loves it, but it's unclear as to whether these scenes are foreshadowing something or just a red herring.

The mystery begins when Chip is murdered and Linnet is almost killed in a werewolf attack. Since they are only working the werewolf case, Linnet begins to play Nancy Drew (her words). The book becomes increasingly entertaining as Linnet stumbles her way through the clues, and we just know there is something special about Linnet even if we can't quite put our finger on what it is. She is attacked several more times by werewolves manages to not only escape, but also kill her attackers. She is always saved by some odd set of circumstances such as pictures falling from walls, buckles on purses, and even a jar of marbles. This is all done cleverly and with lots of humor.

Along the way, Linnet receives help from John, a PI and and very handsome elf. Enter the romance – we see it develop into something more with each attack on Linnet's life. Ms. Bornikova gives us a slow burn on their romance and it leaves us wanting more with this couple.

My only disappointment with the book was that as the mystery was coming to a close, a new element of intrigue involving John's past started to come into play, and I knew there were not enough pages left in the book to finish his story or get all the answers I was looking for. On the plus side, I had come to care about the characters and wanted a resolution so I will be looking forward to the next book. I want to know what happened to John and where their relationship is headed. And knowing Linnet, I am sure she will have another case to solve. This book is well written, smart and clever, it was an engaging and fun read.

Rating: 4.5/5

TRUCKER GHOST STORIES
Edited by Annie Wilder
Anthology of personal paranormal experiences
256 pages
Tor Books
Available now
Received from publisher for review

CATHY'S THOUGHTS
Trucker Ghost Stories is a collection of short stories about what truckers say they have experienced on those long dark stretches of highway. We hear their spooky tales in their own words, but the book itself is edited by Annie Wilder. I have often wondered about the people who drive the big rigs. We pass them every day on the highway, and no matter what time of day or night it is, these trucks are roaming the roads.

How do they spend all those hours alone, passing the same scenery, usually in the middle of the night? I go crazy on the 2 hour drive to Cleveland!!! 

There are stories of unknown lights following them, strange noises trying to get into the trucks and maybe a Bigfoot or two. My best advice is not to travel the deserted and dark roads out West. You need to BEWARE – there are lots of UFO sightings in this book and most of them are on long expanses of pavement in the desert.

There are some ghost stories that seem to be a variation of the urban legends we have all heard while we were growing up, and one ghost story in particular about an unusual coincidence is sure to raise the hair on your arm. One woman even claims a ghost kissed her.

The mind can play tricks when you are tired an alone in the dark, and this is definitely the case in each story. So do the sightings happening because these truckers are tired or is it something supernatural?

If you know anyone going to camp – these stories would be great to tell around the campfire.

Rating: 3/5

THE BOOK OF THE NIGHT
(Libyrinth #3)
Pearl North
Young Adult/Fantasy
Tor Teen
Available now
Received from publisher for review

CATHY'S THOUGHTS
I have to preface this review by saying that The Book of the Night is the conclusion of a trilogy of which I have not read the first two books.

This book is a sci-fi fantasy and takes place in the future. Ms. North does an excellent job with her descriptions and character development, but it took me several chapters to figure out some of what I missed in the previous two books. The main premise involves finding a pen that rewrites reality. I found the basis of the story fascinating in that it involved books – books, words, and literature are all vital to this world she has built. I have not seen this before and it was very clever. I appreciate the work she had to do, quoting from so many books and fitting each one into the storyline.

This passage from the book I think communicates the flavor of the story perfectly:

"Strings of words, thoughts, intentions, and wishes all wound together to form sinuous vines which in turn formed everything." 

I haven't read a book where words and books play such a key role.

Rating: 3.5/5

34 comments:

  1. Yesterday Pam today Cathy and .. .I'm going to run and hug you just the same!!!!

    And seriously Cathy? You are reading books where you haven't read the first book in a series? That's brave! I could never do this!

    "This Case is Gonna Kill Me " sound great and I actually want to meet this "Elf"

    :) Can't wait for May!! Woot!

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    1. Big hugs to you too!! Can't wait to see you in May. I think you will like the Elf and I am guessing the next book will have more of him.

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  2. Ohh, the case is gonna kill me sounds so awesome!! Vamps and attorneys?! def my kind of thing! Not into short stories, so i dont think ill be reading Tucker Ghost Stories anytime soon. Lovely reviews!
    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

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    1. I hope that the reviews helped, This Case was my favorite because I am a mystery fan, and then throw in vampires and werewolves, win all around.

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  3. I agree about This Case -- good, entertaining but I hate when you get near the end and just know you're not going to know all you need to know.

    The Trucker book sounds good -- Love the ghost stories & urban legends. Fascinating to me (as long as they're not *really* real...)

    A pen that rewrites reality? Could be seriously dangerous in the wrong hands. Or fun, depending.

    Great reviews!

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    1. So glad you liked the reviews, all the books had an edge of sorts.

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  4. Such fun mini-reviews Cathy! I think This Case is Gonna Kill Me sounds like more of my book, it looks like it brings a lot to the table! Also I'm quite interested by what the book would be bringing into play in the last few pages!

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    1. Thanks! It definitely left you wanting the next book to be available!!! Hopefully it will be published soon.

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  5. This sentence "For those who love horses – Jenny – you will love these scenes." made me LOL. Ina good way of course. I discovered that This Case is Gonna Kill me would be something that my Mom would be interested in as well! She loves all these crime stories and I think she has yet to read one with supernatural creatures in it. And a story where humans aren't in power of the society? Count me intrigued! Fantastic reviews yet again. And I was wondering if everyone in your close circle is a great reviewer, Jenny? O_O Seems like they all have the "reviewer gene" :)

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    1. So glad I could make you laugh. Jenny has many talents, as we know from the blog, but she is also an excellent horsewoman!! I think your Mom would like this, the story is well written that the mystery shines through.

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  6. The title," This Case Is gonna kill me" already has a sarcastic vibe! I may like this one. I have heard of the others book, but I don't think that they will fit me. Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Always glad to pass along a good book. The main character is a well done and you like her. I think it will make for a great series.

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  7. Great reviews. The trucker one has me intrigued.

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    1. It made think about all the big rigs on the road and what they must see!!!!

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  8. I've been wanting to read This Case is Going to Kill Me. Nancy Pearl recommended it. It sounds even better from your review.
    Interestingly, I used to work with a guy whose last name was Linnet.

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    1. I think the coincidence of names means you are meant to read this book, and it is good!!! Happy that the review helped.

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  9. The Trucker Ghost Stories book intrigues me! I was a truck driver before I had my daughter (it was my "I'm 21, and I want an adventure before I'm really grown up" phase!)

    My husband and I drove together, and my shift was 3am-noon. So there were some creepy, creepy things that I saw (or probably didn't and it was just my mind playing with me!)

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

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    1. WOW, I can't imagine all those long nights and endless miles!!! I bet you have similar stories to tell. Enjoy

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  10. Great reviews! I think I would get a good scare out of Trucker Ghost Stories.

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    1. Thanks, the stories remind you of summer camp or slumber parties!

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  11. *waves to Cathy*

    Great reviews! I so want those first 2! Love the titles as well. :D I know I'd want more answers with the first book but considering you care about the characters so much speaks volumes about the writing. That trucker book sounds like fun. The third? Hm... I'd want the first 2 and read in order (Jenny, don't faint!).

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    1. Waving back at you!!! The first leaves you wanting the second book. She did a great job of character development. I would suggest reading the trilogy in order, it had an interesting premise.

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  12. The first one sounds good, of course dunno about that ending. A new plottwist that late

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    1. I feel like you but it makes you want more and that is good for a series.

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  13. Woah, these sound phenomenal! I don't read too much horror, but this seems worth it! I can't wait to check these out - amazing review, Cathy! :)

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    1. Thanks, I think you will enjoy them.

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  14. I want to thank Jenny for trusting me with her blog today. It is an honor to be here. I hope I gave you all a little help in deciding about these books. And thanks you all for your kind words and support.

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  15. Love a mystery and adore character development, so the first book should be an excellent read. The third book, with a world built around "books, words and literature" sounds unique and that definitely has me intrigued. Awesome and insightful reviews!

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  16. I read Book of Night and felt it wasn't fair to review it without reading the other two. Such detailed and complex world building. That ghost Trucker book sounds fun even if not perfect, and the first book sounds awesome despite a cliffie...sigh.

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  17. The first book sounds pretty good! Though the title is kind of weird, it doesn't seem like a title.

    I recently got a book that has true ghost stories. I read just a little at a time but its pretty interesting!

    I have heard the series for the third book is really good! I added the first to my wishlist.

    Fantastic reviews!

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  18. I need to brag about my friend Cathy. We have been in a Book Club together for years. She always selects good reads. She never disappoints. She has an amazing recall/memory. She can remember details in literature like no other. If she says a book is worthwhile, trust her!!!!!!

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  19. I was so sure I'd left a comment there, but alas, I must have just meant to. This Case Is Gonna Kill me is right up my alley. Urban fantasy is, and always will be my first choice, and this one sounds fresh and interesting. I'm off to order a copy right this second. :)

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  20. I think the most interesting of the three is This Case is Gonna Kill me. The only thing that has me scratching my head is an elf for a romantic interest. Hmm...other than that, it sounds like intriguing story. Great reviews Cathy. :)

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  21. Awesome reviews Cathy and you sold me on This Case is Gonna Kill Me. I love a good mystery and the supernatural elements have me intrigued. New follower thanks to out friend Heidi :)

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