Working Stiff (Revivalist, #1)
Author: Rachel Caine
Publication Date: 8/2/11
Publisher: RocBlurb (GR):
Bryn Davis knows working at Fairview Mortuary isn't the most glamorous career choice, but at least it offers stable employment--until she discovers her bosses using a drug that resurrects the clientele as part of an extortion racket. Now, Bryn faces being terminated--literally, and with extreme prejudice.
Wit the help of corporate double-agent Patrick McCallister, Bryn has a chance to take down the bigger problem--pharmaceutical company Pharmadene, which treats death as the ultimate corporate loyalty program. She'd better do it fast, before she becomes a zombie slave--a real working stiff. She'd be better off dead...Review:
There are some kindred spirits working at TNT/TBS/USA who choose which movies to show regularly on the weekends. It's like they somehow know that I will ALWAYS watch Overboard, What About Bob?, Hook, Father of the Bride, and about a billion other movies--and there must be tons more people just like me that regularly think about dressing up as Bob Wiley for Halloween every year because why else would they be showing the same movies unless people are watching them? Death Becomes Her, which you may or may not remember as MY FAVORITE MERYL STREEP MOVIE EVER EVEN INCLUDING HER MANY AWARD-WINNING PERFORMANCES, is always on basic cable on the weekends...and I pretty much know it by heart. It is just so bizarre, I mean, Bruce Willis, Goldie Hawn, Meryl Streep, and Isabella Rossellini in a movie about two women dueling over a balding mortician and then taking a potion to life forever? That's pure cinematic gold. I saw Rachel Caine at an event last weekend
and you can't really tell by looking at someone but I'm pretty sure she also likes Death Becomes Her. Evidence:
Question 1: Did you die at some point? If yes, move on to question 2. If no, congratulations! You are alive!
Question 2: Are you somehow still walking around and "living" to a varying degree? If yes, congratulations (?), you are a zombie!
Some people might say that you need to be craving brains to be a zombie. Then again, some people think bands like Nickelback and Creed make good music. Bryn, the MC of this book, dies and is subsequently revived by a chemical compound that must be taken daily to maintain her zombie, oops, I mean revived person's body. I know what you're thinking here--that's hot. You totally would be attracted to an animated, walking, talking, thinking corpse, right? Wait...something's not right here. We had a discussion at book club about whether or not the romantic element in this book was off-putting and it totally was to me BUT it is mostly for one reason and surprisingly, it isn't because Bryn is revived. Patrick sees her die. He sees her as a dead body. He sees her beat up, shot, and basically mangled and then sees her tissue regrowing in front of him. Um, that's gross. That is a constant reminder that the person you are looking at is artificially alive. Necrophilia is so in right now. I couldn't truly get on board with it in this particular book but she does basically live a normal life so I'm not ruling out romance with some future guy who doesn't know she's dead (SPOILER ALERT FOR HIM! "Hey, I've been meaning to tell you...I can't have kids." "Oh, is it something genetic?" "Meh, actually I'm a reanimated corpse. No biggie.")
Overall, the mystery and intrigue were entertaining and the series started off with enough world-building and quirky characters that I'll come back for more. (*cough*some of the side characters are more interesting than the main girl*cough*) Since Bryn was in the military, I expected much more badassery to be happening but she gets punched out pretty regularly. Perhaps she'll really come into her zombie self in future Revivalist series books? Until then, you can most likely find me watching What About Bob? on repeat...
I haven't fully signed on for the new zombie love story trend in books and I'm sure many people would try to argue with me about the main character in this book not being a zombie, so here's a quick two-question quiz to find out if you are a zombie:
Something About You
Author: Julie James
Publication Date: 3/2/10
Of all the hotel rooms rented by all the adulterous politicians in Chicago, female Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Lynde had to choose the one next to 1308, where some hot-and-heavy lovemaking ends with a death. And of all the FBI agents in Illinois, it had to be Special Agent Jack Pallas who gets assigned to this high-profile homicide. The same Jack Pallas who still blames Cameron for a botched crackdown three years ago- and for nearly ruining his career.
Work with Cameron Lynde? Are they kidding? Maybe, Jack thinks, this is some kind of welcome-back prank after his stint away from Chicago. But it's no joke; the pair is going to have to put their rocky past behind them and focus on the case at hand. That is, if they can cut back on the razor-sharp jibes- and smother the flame of their sizzling-hot sexual tensionReview:
I think I need to separate funny-romance-lover me from police-procedural-loving me. At first, I thought I'd be really into this one because it deals with the FBI and an assistant US Attorney. I did like it but I think I just read a lot of crime novels and I was like, "Why wouldn't the FBI have checked
for that?" and "Oh man, he totally would've been reprimanded for something like that." The author definitely knows what she is talking about--especially once you look at her author blurb and realize that she is basically writing her life. (Whoa, if she has a real life Jack Pallas, I don't know why she'd ever leave the house. Zing!) I just hate reading about cops/FBI agents making stupid mistakes.
I liked the secondary characters in this one but I feel like they were one step above cliché. (the harried best friend getting married, the gay best friend, the cop partners) I think the best side characters in the whole novel were the two cops who had the night duty to watch over Cameron and they knew everything about her life--now THAT was pretty hilarious. The actual relationship between Cameron and Jack was entertaining but I didn't really buy it--it just went from hate to love way too quickly and we never actually saw them share any interests. They had tons of sexual attraction, sure, but it seemed like their relationship was based on attraction and then, to a lesser extent, respect for that person's professional choices and ethics. Not that the sexy scenes weren't hot. They were. I just want my romance characters to share a little bit more about their lives.
I don't read a ton of romances; I mostly just follow Nora Roberts
and Susan Elizabeth Phillips
. I ended up enjoying this book enough to add Julie James
to my list of romance authors to follow...but I hope they don't all deal with crime/legal work.
Edit: Uh oh, it turns out they are all legal work-related romances. I just don't know.
Born in Fire (Born In Trilogy, #1)
Author: Nora Roberts
Publication Date: 10/1/94
Blurb (Amazon):Artist Maggie Concannon creates beautiful glass images through a blowpipe and with a fiery furnace, much as she herself was born and survived her mother's angry frustrations and resentment. Then Maggie falls in love with Rogan, her new agent, who brings her passion, fame, and riches. Roberts's unique characters come to life through their wordplay and tempers. A light, fast-paced novel set in the Irish countryside.Review:When I was little, I used to have this ridiculous dress purse that I'd carry around with me. Most little girls would probably fill their purses with makeup or toys, but what did I fill mine with? Tiny glass figurines. Our family would go to Vancouver and I would salivate over tiny blown glass unicorns. They were like crack to tiny Flann. I hoarded them and carried them around but I did not exercise due care with them--I'd wrap them in toilet paper to attempt to keep them whole but, in the end, I had more of a collection of maimed glass animals. The point of this story is for you all to know that I am predisposed to think anything that has to do with blown glass is awesome. Even though I no longer have an affinity for unicorns or glass tchotchkes, I still get a major boner for blown glass art that is well-done. Aaaaaand, that is one of the reasons I love this book so much. Mary Margaret Concannon (Maggie), the heroine of Born in Fire, makes fabulous glass art. (well, it is described fabulously and in my imagination it is pretty much my sweetest dream)
Maggie lives in the west of Ireland (another major love of mine) in a cottage near her childhood home. Her sister, Brianna, runs a small bed and breakfast out of Blackthorn Cottage and cares for their heinous mother, who has nothing but awful things to say about Maggie and spends her days complaining about her lot in life. While Maggie has had relative success with her artistic endeavors, she’s always hoped that she could make enough money to move their mother to her own home so Brianna could actually live her own life. Enter Rogan Sweeney, a Dublin businessman who runs an international corporation and owns several large galleries. He approaches Maggie to manage her work and make her the money she’s dreamed about.
Besides the glass art and County Clare in Ireland, I love this book because of the romantic relationship. Maggie is hard-headed, disorganized, passionate and temperamental—she knows exactly what she does and doesn’t want. Rogan seems like her complete opposite but, in reality, he’s very similar to her…only much more organized. The two fight quite a lot during the book but it never gets to the point of legitimate meanness, which is something I hate in some romance novels. The romance IS the story in this book, as opposed to many Nora Roberts books that center on some mystery or other storyline. If you don’t want to read about making art, describing art, and selling art, than this book will bore you. Because I eat that stuff up, I am happy that this book still performed for me, even after 3 or 4 reads.
This book is a comparative 5 stars. Is it as fabulous as lit fic books I’ve given 5 stars to? No. But in terms of romance books, I just love it.
Darkfever (Fever, #1)
Author: Karen Marie Moning
Publication Date: 10/31/06
MacKayla Lane’s life is good. She has great friends, a decent job, and a car that breaks down only every other week or so. In other words, she’s your perfectly ordinary twenty-first-century woman.
Or so she thinks…until something extraordinary happens.
When her sister is murdered, leaving a single clue to her death–a cryptic message on Mac’s cell phone–Mac journeys to Ireland in search of answers. The quest to find her sister’s killer draws her into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems, where good and evil wear the same treacherously seductive mask. She is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to learn how to handle a power she had no idea she possessed–a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae….
As Mac delves deeper into the mystery of her sister’s death, her every move is shadowed by the dark, mysterious Jericho, a man with no past and only mockery for a future. As she begins to close in on the truth, the ruthless Vlane–an alpha Fae who makes sex an addiction for human women–closes in on her. And as the boundary between worlds begins to crumble, Mac’s true mission becomes clear: find the elusive Sinsar Dubh before someone else claims the all-powerful Dark Book–because whoever gets to it first holds nothing less than complete control of the very fabric of both worlds in their hands…Review:
I started this book to see what all the hoopla was about on Goodreads. People are crazy for it! After reading the first installment, I can totally see why that is. I fell into the storyline extremely quickly and devoured the book in two days. (I would've read it in one sitting if I'd had the time!)
While I thoroughly enjoy most urban fantasy-type books (I don't want to pigeonhole this book into any one category--it truly has a lot of...well, a lot of genres:)), I found it refreshing that Karen Marie Moning
left out most of the fluff. I'm sick of reading about "nice vampires" and romantic interludes with all sorts of supernatural beings. This book has a little romance but, for the most part, those storylines are left open for the later books in the series. At least, I hope they are played out later. *crosses fingers*
And don't get me wrong, Moning definitely leaves in some fluffier elements. MacKayla Lane is a girly-girl to the max but I also found that refreshing considering the number of kickass-perfect-at-everything-and-not-concerned-with-looks heroines in urban fantasy books. I found her less annoying than Sookie Stackhouse and, while they both make tons of ridiculous decisions, I didn't mind Mac's because they led to such well-written fight scenes and descriptions of crazy-ass monsters. Speaking of the monsters and the entire cast of characters, I wish this book series was a TV show or movie--I'd love to see an imagining of this world!
Anyway, I don't want to beat a dead horse--there are tons of good reviews already for this book and now you know I feel pretty much the same way as the majority. And you spent 30 seconds figuring that out:)
On to the next! (which I have on hold at the library:) Yay!)
P.S. Once upon a time, an idiotic American girl went to Ireland. (Don't get your panties in a bunch, the girl is me, not Mac) Upon arrival with her friends, she left her purse in a taxi cab with lots of money and her passport. (Yes, I am that stupid). At the hostel, the front desk people were adamant that the driver would bring it back. Wha-wha-wha-whaaaat? And you know what? HE DID at the end of his shift. (I know, right?) Anyway, the point of this is that I did not believe all these meanies were running around Ireland. From my trips there, I can tell you that everyone is beyond nice!