2 Following

drey's library

reviews, interviews, and giveaways from an eclectic reader...

Currently reading

In the Courts of the Sun
Brian D'Amato
Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl
David Barnett
The Bone Palace

All You Could Ask For: A Novel

All You Could Ask For - Mike Greenberg Published on drey's library: http://www.dreyslibrary.com/2013/04/16/tlc-book-tour-all-you-could-ask-for-by-mike-greenberg/All You Could Ask For is a warm-fuzzies-inducing chick-lit read about the power of friendship. Brooke, Samantha, and Katherine are all strong women whom we meet at different stages of life: Brooke is married with children and enjoying life as a suburban mom, Samantha has just gotten married after a whirlwind romance, and Katherine is on top of her world – Wall Street.But life isn’t all shiny and pretty and rosy. All three have hurdles to overcome – see the blurb above for examples – and then some. But the latest hurdle does come with one benefit – each other. Even if it takes a while to meet (the first part of the book is about each individual), and it takes a bit to get used to each other, eventually these three find that they’re part of an exclusive group – girlfriends who know that they can count on the other for anything, even advice they don’t want to hear. Which, really, is what BFFs are for, right?Mike Greenberg captured my attention instantly with the first line – “Whose ass is this?” – and made me laugh and cry as the three live and love, and find friendship and acceptance. This is SO a book club read! Or one to sit down with, just because. And when you’re done, you’ll pick up the phone and call your BFF(s).drey’s rating: Excellent!

The Summer He Came Home (Bad Boys of Crystal Lake)

The Summer He Came Home - Juliana Stone Published on drey's library: http://www.dreyslibrary.com/2013/04/18/review-the-summer-he-came-home-by-juliana-stone/It’s been years since Cain Black set foot in Crystal Lake – he never planned it like that, time just flew by, and then he wasn’t sure he’d be welcome. Prodigal son and all that, y’know? But he’s back now, for the funeral of one of his best childhood friends. Now, his fear of no longer fitting in doesn’t matter anymore – not when one of the foursome known as the Bad Boys of Crystal Lake is gone for good.Spending time with his family and the remaining Bad Boys, Mac and Jack, soon has Cain set almost to rights. Because Jesse’s death isn’t the only thing Cain has to deal with. Being a famous rock star does come with some drawbacks, after all…When Cain meets Maggie O’Rourke, he’s taken by her. I’d say smitten, but bad boy rock starts don’t get smitten, do they? Anyway. He wants to get to know Maggie, and is somewhat surprised by her reticence. She has her reasons, of course.I loved Maggie – she’s a heroine you’ll wholeheartedly get behind, because she’s real. Her actions and reasons are valid, her concern fierce, and her sensibilities firmly grounded. I love that she pushes the rock star away because she doesn’t want the influence on her son, even if (especially if!) it’s temporary. I love that she’s level-headed when she accepts the attraction, and I love that she places conditions on their relationship, never mind that this is a ROCK STAR we’re talking about.I loved Cain, too. He’s persistent, that’s for sure. I love that he’s understanding and kind, when he could be arrogant and privileged. I love that he doesn’t push, yet makes his interest known. Not that he’s perfect, because he’s not. Then again, neither is she.Juliana Stone knocked this one out of the ballpark, and not just with Cain and Maggie. The secondary characters pique my interest enough that I want to read their stories too, and now! The love story is hot and sexy, yet sweet and sassy. The only complaint I would have is that Maggie’s backstory took so long to be told, yet was resolved quicker than you can say “love”. I know, I know, that’s a bit nit-picky… Anyway, pick this one up if you love contemporary romances with fabulous characters and an engaging story!drey’s rating: Excellent!

Flirting Under a Full Moon

Flirting Under a Full Moon - Ashlyn Chase Published on drey's library: http://www.dreyslibrary.com/2013/04/08/review-flirting-under-a-full-moon-by-ashlyn-chase/I haven’t picked up an Ashlyn Chase novel in a while, not since The Werewolf Upstairs – and Flirting Under a Full Moon sounded like it would be fun and sassy, so I thought I’d give her novels another try.For the most part, it delivered. Brandee’s take on swearing is funny, and she’s got a great personality. Some of the other funnies weren’t quite my thing – Nick’s sense of humor is typical of a teenage boy, and Mother Nature’s drama – and Apollo’s “explanation” for it – fell rather flat. And the whole “whodunnit” part of the plotline seemed half-baked, as it was rarely mentioned except for in the beginning and at the end.I’m guessing that Ashlyn Chase’s books aren’t quite my cup of tea. This one – like The Werewolf Upstairs – was ok but I didn’t really get into it, and there was an inconsistency in my ARC that was distracting. Knowing myself though, I’ll probably pick up another Ashlyn Chase book in the future, just to see if my taste has changed…drey’s rating: Ok


Adam - Ted Dekker Published on drey's library: http://www.dreyslibrary.com/2013/04/15/review-adam-by-ted-dekker/Adam is a creepy read, a Light-vs-Dark-struggle thriller made more macabre as you watch the villain descend into his hell. We meet Daniel Clark as he’s trying to convince his boss to let him go rogue – let him investigate without the red tape of bureaucracy hindering his actions, to try and find the killer known as Eve, before the next victim shows up. Fifteen already have, and every month brings a new body so it’s a race against time.The story of the hunt is interspersed with newspaper clippings from after, telling Alex’s story. So you know he gets caught eventually, but when? And how? And that is what keeps you turning the pages, as Dekker amps up the stakes chapter by chapter.Of course, this isn’t just Daniel’s and Eve’s story. Daniel’s ex-wife Heather is as obsessed with Eve as he is, and his new partner Lori may be even more so. Some of the plot is predictable, especially if you read a lot of psycho-killer thrillers, but Dekker has a few surprises up his sleeves for you to discover. Definitely worth checking out if you’re a fan of Dekker’s, or serial-killer police-procedurals with a hero almost as whacked out as the killer.drey’s rating: Pick it up!

The Chalice

The Chalice - Nancy Bilyeau Published on drey's library: http://www.dreyslibrary.com/2013/04/12/blog-tour-58-nancy-bilyeaus-the-chalice/Oh, wow. I’ll nitpick first, because it’s such a small thing, but I noticed. It’s called The Chalice, and there is a chalice, but holy wow did we have to wait to get there…Ok, I’m done. The rest of the book – from the characters to the intrigue to the political wrangling, is pretty darn fabulous! I got sucked in from the prologue, wondering just who this Joanna Stafford was, what she was doing, and what would happen to her. What I got from The Chalice are the answers, embedded into a well-told story set during a time most of us have read about, but with more well-known casts of characters.Joanna’s quiet life as a Dominican nun is interrupted by a King’s whim, when all the monasteries are disbanded, its inhabitants turned out, and its treasures relocated to the King’s treasury. Now she has to figure out how to live out there, where monks and nuns are viewed with suspicion and derision. She isn’t doing too badly, having figured out what she needs to be able to set up her own income, but life throws a surprise in Joanna’s path – this one in the form of nobility who insist on Joanna’s living with them.She accepts, and finds that life can be a lot more dangerous than uncertain.Joanna is quietly strong, and stubborn. Well, mostly quietly, because sometimes her mouth opens and words pour out at inopportune times… She’s fiercely loyal, and tries to do what she thinks is right, not letting anyone – even the ever-capricious fates – push her around. Forget prophecy, she’s in control of her own destiny!Then politics rears its ugly head, and Joanna finds herself dragged into schemes conspiring against the King.Nancy Bilyeau packs a lot of information into The Chalice, yet it all flows together smoothly. I loved that Joanna is a non-player in the court by choice, and is insignificant enough to get away with it yet just important enough to have a few of the powerful in her corner. I liked the intrigues, but the story was focused more on prophecy than the back-stabbing power plays you usually find in historical fiction set in Henry’s court – it’s still there, but it was a side dish instead of the main course – which is a refreshing take on the genre and time.I really enjoyed The Chalice, now I have to go pick up The Crown to catch up on Joanna Stafford’s past… Pick this one up (or win a copy!) if you love historical fiction!drey’s rating: Excellent!
Boogie Down - Daniel Serrano Published on drey's library: http://www.dreyslibrary.com/2013/04/01/review-boogie-down-by-daniel-serrano/Detective Cassandra Maldonado is a single mother with New York’s finest, who manages to finagle herself a spot on the NYPD’s most elite homicide squad by speaking up when she knows she won’t be refused, which doesn’t earn her any friends. She needs the money, so she deals with it – anything is worth putting up with if it means a better life for her son.But homicide is very different from the nine-to-five jobs she’s had, and as Cassandra starts to wonder how she’s going to make this work with the stick-to-a-schedule needs of her son, she finds herself smack dab in the middle of a celebrity murder.I liked how Cassandra jumps in with both feet, picking out clues and trying to work with her assigned partner – who’s much nicer than I would’ve expected him to be, considering how she wormed her way in. I liked her smarts, her spunkiness, and her ability to keep moving forward regardless of any regrets. Not that she has the time for regrets, as the investigation drags on and the powers that be are not only anxious for a resolution, but are yanking on Cassandra’s chain as much as they can.The story is to the point, the plot gives you a few surprises to uncover as you turn the pages, and the ending, while neat, isn’t exactly a happily-ever-after for everyone. Fans of cop thrillers should give Boogie Down a whirl, and then come back and let me know what you thought!drey’s rating: Pick it up!
Firebrand - Gillian Philip Published on drey's library: http://www.dreyslibrary.com/2013/04/02/review-52-firebrand-by-gillian-phillip/I have to say I’m very happy that Gillian Philip’s Firebrand was published in the US, and I’m definitely happy that I received a copy to review. It’s a fabulous tale of love and loyalty starring Sidhe half-brothers Conal and Seth, one the much-beloved son and heir, the other the rebellious younger son.We meet Seth when he’s dumped at his father’s dun – clan home – and left to fend for himself. He’s not wanted, and everybody lets him know it, so what’s a kid to do but go hang out by himself? Then Conal returns, and Seth has to ride an emotional roller coaster before he figures out where he wants to stand with Conal.Philip gives us characters to care about, and the entire first third of the book lays that foundation, along with introducing the main actors in this play. Then she throws political maneuvering at them, ensuring that nobody’s ready to live a long and uneventful life – and thank goodness for that, or reading this book would’ve been as interesting as watching paint dry. Ok, that’s probably an exaggeration. The second third of Firebrand has the brothers making their way in the mortal world, rife with the unwashed and unenlightened, and even worse, the easily riled up and easily led. And Conal and Seth can do nothing but try to stay under the radar – or suffer the consequences of being different in a world where difference can lead to denouncement, and even death.I really enjoyed this story, especially watching Seth grow up. it takes a while, but he eventually realizes that there’s a lot that depends on his being able to keep his temper in check and his mouth shut. I turned the last page before realizing it, and now I’m anxiously waiting for the next installment, Bloodstone.drey’s rating: Excellent!
The Last Telegram - Liz Trenow Published on drey's library: http://www.dreyslibrary.com/2013/04/04/review-the-last-telegram-by/Liz Trenow’s debut novel is a tale of loss and regret set in England during World War II. Lily Verner is eighteen, has just finished secondary school, and is looking forward to spending time in Geneva that fall when war breaks out. So now she’s stuck working in her family’s silk mill for lack of better options. Luckily, she finds she has a knack for it, and loves the business – which is good because wartime is not kind to anyone. But learning the family business isn’t all that’s in The Last Telegram, as Lily also discovers love, loss, and second chances.Liz Trenow’s storytelling is charming and lyrical, even if the backdrop isn’t. The war looms over everything and everyone, and Trenow captures Lily’s innocence and naiveté perfectly – and it wasn’t just Lily’s hopes and dreams that were crushed by Hitler’s ambition. Even the relative idyll of the English countryside doesn’t escape war’s tentacles, as Lily’s brother John and her boyfriend Stefan head off to fight against Hitler’s forces. And Trenow’s voice is compassionate as she tells us of those left behind, while they too do their best to survive the war.The Last Telegram is a delightful read, and fans of fiction set during the period will love Lily’s story. I know I did, and I look forward to more from Liz Trenow.drey’s rating: Excellent!
The Dark Winter - David Mark Published on drey's library: http://www.dreyslibrary.com/2013/04/11/review-the-dark-winter-by-david-mark/Aector McAvoy is persona non grata with the cops. Never mind that he’s one of them, because his involvement in a crooked cop scandal has stained his reputation. Of course, our hero shouldn’t let others’ opinions disturb him, but it does, and that’s one of the reasons I like the dude. Another reason I liked him? He’s a data guy. Nothing like having facts to support your gut instinct!The Dark Winter is a police procedural with a lot more than just crimes, it’s also wrapped in humanity and the chaos of life in general. A new team, built from the ashes of one that was disgraced. A new leader, whom nobody expected and some don’t want. A trail of bodies that only one man suspects is linked somehow – but how? And why?I couldn’t decide if I liked the characters, plot, or storytelling best. Our hero McAvoy has real depth. His boss Trish Pharaoh unfolds slowly, so you’ll have time to appreciate her by the end of the book. His wife is a gem. His partner could use a bit more, but I’m being greedy. As for the plot – David Mark kept me guessing right up to the very end, so I’m happy. And the story is fluid, slowing in the right places, moving along when it has to.I really enjoyed The Dark Winter, and I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book, Original Skin – which is coming in May!drey’s rating: Excellent!!
Deep Down - Deborah Coates Published on drey's library: http://www.dreyslibrary.com/2013/04/23/review-deep-down-by-deborah-coates/Well, Hallie’s figured out what happened to her sister, and barely survived it. Now maybe she’ll have the opportunity to figure out what she wants to do with the rest of her life… Hopefully without all that otherworldly stuff that’s been dogging her.Too bad what Hallie wants doesn’t matter. Because no sooner does she gets a job proposition than she starts seeing black dogs. Dogs nobody else can see, except for a select few. Dogs who appear and disappear on a whim. Dogs who hop into her truck – through the door – and talk to her. In riddles, mostly. Because plain talk is apparently to much to ask for…It doesn’t take long before Hallie feels lost again, out of her depth with the unexplained occurrences. She wishes they’d stop happening, but well, if wishes were fishes… Oh, whatever. Things aren’t going to stop being weird just because that’s what Hallie wants. But is a supernatural-guidebook-for-dummies too much to ask for?Deep Down gives us a story more mystery than supernatural – similar to Wide Open. We learn more about Hallie’s backstory as well as Boyd’s, and meet some new characters with pivotal roles to play. The ending gives us a revelation that’ll surely play out in the next book.As with Wide Open, Deep Down is dark and solemn. There’s not a lot to laugh at or about, and yet I thoroughly enjoyed it. Deborah Coates’ storytelling is compelling and keeps your interest with its revelations, and while I’m impatient and want to know what’s going on now, I cannot wait to see where it all goes from here.drey’s rating: Excellent!
The Golem and the Jinni - Helene Wecker Published on drey's library: http://www.dreyslibrary.com/2013/04/25/tlc-book-tour-the-golem-and-the-jinni/Helene Wecker’s The Golem and the Jinni is a mesmerizing tale, told in a beautifully spare voice, of two lost souls who find each other in a crazy new world, and become friends.Chava is a newly-awakened golem who finds kindness from an old rabbi when she arrives in New York City. Ahmad is a jinn who’s shocked by the passage of time elapsed since he was trapped in his flask. One is timid and shy, afraid of drowning in others’ wants and needs. The other is capricious and selfish, doing as he wishes regardless of possible repercussions.Somehow both learn to function in this strange world, making friends and finding jobs. But as they’re pulled into the world at large, they’re also exposed to danger – the danger of allowing their true selves to emerge, a more frightening thought for Chava than for Ahmad…I loved this story of improbable friendship, and I thoroughly enjoyed Wecker’s weaving of Ahmad’s past with his current day. Chava is intense, a quick study at repetitive tasks, whose compassion may be a part of her being but is refreshing nonetheless. And Ahmad is as fiery as his nature dictates, though he eventually learns what it means to care for – and about – others. The supporting cast are well-defined, and I appreciated the personalities Wecker imbued them with. About the only thing I can say that’s possibly negative is that you’ll have to put aside quite a few hours for this almost-500-page novel. But I promise you won’t regret the time spent with these characters, or with the story. Go pick this up!drey’s rating: Excellent!

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar (Steampunk Chronicles Series)

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar - Kady Cross Published on drey's library: http://www.dreyslibrary.com/2013/04/29/review-the-girl-in-the-clockwork-collar-by-kady-cross/When I saw the cover for The Girl in the Clockwork Collar, I knew I had to pick it up! I mean, how could I not – it’s an Asian girl, in a lovely purple dress, with this awesome necklace.At the end of The Girl in the Steel Corset, Jasper Renn is unceremoniously apprehended in London, to be brought back to America to face trial for a murder he’d supposedly committed. Unwilling to believe Jasper could be guilty as charged, his friends decide to follow him and get the real story…So sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne and her friends – Griffin King, Emily O’Brien, and Sam – head to America, too.They find two things when they get there. The first, that Jasper wasn’t brought back by the law. The second? There’s trouble to be found on this side of the ocean, too. And so the adventure begins! This time there’re no automatons running amok, but there’s still plenty to do as Jasper’s been caught in a net partly of his own weaving…There’s a love story. Betrayal and double-cross. Villain who threatens the lives of loved ones to ensure cooperation. Magical device to be shut down. Crazy inventors to meet. Help from unexpected quarters. And a wickedly appropriate ending. The Girl in the Clockwork Collar is fast-paced and entertaining, and I can’t wait to get my hands on The Girl with the Iron Touch, coming at the end of May!drey’s rating: Excellent!

Deadly Sting (Elemental Assassin)

Deadly Sting - Jennifer Estep Published on drey's library: http://www.dreyslibrary.com/2013/04/05/review-54-deadly-sting-by-jennifer-estep/Gin Blanco is no longer an assassin in the shadows – it’s way past anonymity for her since she dispatched Mab Monroe. Not that she’s too worried about that, she can take care of herself. She only wishes Owen were still in her corner, but that’s something he needs to work through on his own…Then Finn invites her to a “do” – one where Mab’s will is to be read and her treasures displayed. Gin reluctantly attends, and finds herself in the middle of a heist. It’s not long before she’s traipsing and tiptoeing around the building and gardens, trying to figure out what’s really going on…Deadly Sting is ninety percent action and plot, and ten (ok, maybe twenty) percent character development, which isn’t as balanced as I normally like my books but it works and it gives us a few questions that will hopefully be answered soon. I cannot wait for the next one!drey’s rating: Pick it up!


Darius: Lord of Pleasures - Grace Burrowes Published on drey's library: http://www.dreyslibrary.com/2013/04/26/review-darius-by-grace-burrowes/Darius Lindsey is an honorable man, though you wouldn’t have guessed it by his late-night activities. However, when handed lemons, one should try to make lemonade… Especially when a sister’s future is in peril. But even this jaded man can hardly believe it when approached by Lord Longstreet with a proposition.William Longstreet is a complicated man – and at his age, one is allowed his indulgences, especially when one is this wise and forward-looking. Even so, his wife – the lovely Lady Vivian – doesn’t easily come to terms with what he’s asking. But in the end both Darius and Vivian acquiesce, because neither has many options otherwise.And so begins a beautiful friendship. Not right away, of course, because these two have to get to know each other first. But they get there eventually, and find out there’s a lot more they could have – if only they’re brave enough to reach out and grab it.If you’ve read Grace Burrowes, I don’t have to tell you about the sizzling chemistry between our hero and heroine – that’s a Burrowes hallmark. I also don’t have to tell you about the sweet romance that balances out that chemistry, the wonderfully well-drawn characters, and the plot and story that ties all the elements together with a nice, shiny, pretty bow.If you love regency romance, you must read Burrowes. Her stories are a fabulous escape, with lovely heroines and awesome heroes. And lucky you, there’s a whole collection of them to pick up. drey’s rating: Excellent!

London Falling

London Falling - Paul Cornell Published on drey's library: http://www.dreyslibrary.com/2013/04/30/blog-tour-london-falling-by-paul-cornell/Paul Cornell’s London Falling is a dark urban fantasy featuring a police unit investigating murders, who unwittingly stumble upon unbelievable evil. Tony Costain and Kevin Sefton are undercover officers who’ve infiltrated the ranks of a criminal organization, and now they have to bring in the big guy, or lose everything they’ve worked for. On the day everything’s set to go down, the mobster seems to have lost his head – and then does so, literally…So now Costain and Sefton, joined by James Quill and Lisa Ross, are investigating his death – his improbable, impossible death. What they eventually find boggles the mind and defies understanding, but they move onward, seeking explanations they’re not sure make sense – any sense – at all.London Falling is a police procedural with meticulous detail, wrapped around an engrossing story. The characters are well-developed, the plot is well-planned, and the story well-written. There’s the supernatural element too, of course – this is an urban fantasy novel after all. And what we have here is evil permeating London, evil that’s been playing in London’s backyard for centuries, always under the radar, laying down plans. For what? Nobody knows. But this brave foursome are going to find out.I couldn’t put down London Falling, and now I can’t wait to read more. It’s too bad I’m surely going to have to wait a while before the next one comes out! If you love dark mysteries with supernatural elements, you’ll want to pick this one up. Or better yet, win a copy! drey’s rating: Excellent!

The Great Escape

The Great Escape - Susan Elizabeth Phillips Published on drey's library: http://www.dreyslibrary.com/2013/04/09/tlc-book-tour-the-great-escape-by-susan-elizabeth-phillips/The Great Escape is a tale of what could be – if you’re brave enough to walk away from what you know is not right for you, no matter what others may think, or even say.Lucy Jorik never thought she’d be that girl – she’s always been as perfect as she could be, in thanks for the life she’s been lucky enough to live. So, everyone’s shocked when she walks out of the church and runs off on the back of a motorcycle, including Lucy. Especially since she doesn’t know the biker she’s riding behind.Then Lucy decides that her “running away” isn’t over, that letting motorcycle dude diss her isn’t acceptable, that being as perfect as she can isn’t good enough – for her. So, at thirty, Lucy finally rebels. And the fun begins. I loved Lucy (no pun intended!), and I loved her story and her adventure. I loved her courage and her stubbornness, and I loved that she realizes just how loved she is. Now lest you think The Great Escape is all Lucy all the time (anyone else hearing strains of the theme from I Love Lucy?), let me set the record straight. Motorcycle dude is pretty darn fab, even when he’s being stereotypically cheesy in the beginning of the story. And Lucy’s neighbor has problems of her own, but is too stubborn to accept offers of help…But even the best cast of characters would find it hard to shine without a great story to star in, and The Great Escape is a fitting stage indeed. Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ storytelling is lyrical and heartfelt, and is sure to please. Pick this one up!drey’s rating: Excellent!