Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Book Review: Day Shift

Day Shift (Midnight, Texas #2) 
By Charlaine Harris

A fun follow up to Harris's Midnight Crossroad. This time around the focus is on Manfred and Olivia as the primary voices, and Joe as a secondary voice. (I kinda love that there's no single main character in this series - Manfred takes the lead, but the other characters seem to be getting their own chance to take focus from book to book.) 

Things are changing in this unchanging little town and nobody likes it. There are several mysteries for our characters, some of which aren't revealed at the end. What was revealed was more about the characters, namely who and what they are. While I enjoyed the mystery, what I really loved about this installment was getting to know the characters better. I can't wait to find out more about them and see what happens next to their little town, because clearly something is coming.

In my review of Midnight Crossroad, I commented on how various characters and references were made to Harris's other series. The only reference I hadn't caught in the first book was to Sookie Stackhouse's world. Well, Day Shift is chock full of Sookie references, and they aren't even little minor ones. I love that we're getting a new series and a new set of stories, but I also like that I don't have to completely leave those past worlds behind.

Another great book for fans of Charlaine Harris! Recommended.

**I received an Advanced Review eGalley of this title from NetGalley**

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Book Review: Seven Kinds of Hell

Seven Kinds of Hell (Fangborn #1) 
By Dana Cameron
“I felt the shame of unleashing the Beast only until I was washed in a flood of righteousness...As I stepped out of my cheap black China-doll shoes, I felt elegant, sleek, graceful. The wind ruffled my fur.”  ― Dana CameronSeven Kinds of Hell
Take everything you know about vampires and werewolves and toss it out the window. Go ahead and toss it, I'll wait.

Dana Cameron's Fangborn world is made up of vampires, werewolves, and oracles, and they are completely different from anything I've read or watched. And they're FASCINATING! I'm particularly intrigued by Dana's vampires - which can turn into giant, colorful snake-creatures. Seriously, how cool is that? (Ok, maybe less cool if you have a snake-phobia. Fortunately for me they didn't turn into giant spiders.)

The story follows Zoe, a young woman pursuing an education in archaeology, who spent her life on the run from her father and his family. Her mother believed they were some kind of mafiosi, and they shuffled from place to place over the years to keep them at bay. Now Zoe is an adult, her mother just passed away, and it looks as though her father's family has finally caught up with her. Oh, and either she's insane, or she can turn into a werewolf. (Spoiler Alert: she's not insane...)

You'd think this would be enough of a story - woman on the run trying to stay a step ahead of her werewolf family, but noooo, Dana turns it up a notch by adding an international artifact hunt, mythology, several baddies of human and non-human nature, and various allies and enemies with Zoe trying to figure out which is which. 

This story subverted ALL of my expectations and gave me a book so far beyond what I could have hoped for! I gave up trying to figure out what could possibly come next after the first few surprise twists. And to top it off, Dana is a real-life archaeologist, so when she gets into aspects of that field, it's truly fascinating (or at least it was to me, who at one point thought I wanted to become an archaeologist - see my review of Lives in Ruins for more info about that). 

Bonus: I haven't traveled much, and what I *have* done took place over 10 years ago, but the characters traveled to places that I've seen in the flesh, and that was awesome for me. I've seen the ruins at Ephesus, and I've shopped the streets of Kusadasi (where I was proposed a random fella outside a shop), and I've wound my way through the twisty alleyways of Mykonos. Luckily my trip didn't involve any murders or vast conspiracies...

Double Bonus: I had the chance to meet Dana last month at my library's annual Book Fest and she is super nice, incredibly funny, and wicked awesome. If you ever have the chance to hear her speak, take it!

Seven Kinds of Hell was such a cool book. There's a lot too it, but it's one helluva ride! Highly recommended.