I haven’t blogged much lately about the books I’ve read, good thing it was a slow couple of weeks for me or I’d be really behind. Here’s the list:

Urban Shaman by C.E. Murphy – Cover blurb:

Joanne Walker has three days to learn to use her shamanic powers and save the world from the unleashed Wild Hunt.

No worries. No pressure. Never mind the lack of sleep, the perplexing new talent for healing herself from fatal wounds, or the cryptic, talking coyote who appears in her dreams.

And if all that’s not bad enough, in the three years Joanne’s been a cop, she’s never seen a dead body — but she’s just come across her second in three days.

It’s been a bitch of a week. And it isn’t over yet.

Despite the hype and the rave reviews I heard from other readers, I didn’t really care much for this book. I kind of struggled my way through this book and only kept going because I was waiting for the big payoff. The main thing I disliked was that I felt as though this book was one looong set-up for the next book. There are a lot of details and setting up the world and the mystic side of things. I felt as though the interpersonal relations and characters got the short end of the deal. I didn’t dislike the book but I didn’t love it as much as everyone else did. My feelings are very middle of the road!

Mafia Chic by Erica Orloff – I bought this book off Amazon after Shannon mentioned how much she liked Erica Orloff. I had previously read her Bombshell release, Urban Legend, and was unprepared for the different tone of this book (duh! Chick lit!) But I found myself thoroughly enjoying the story and the main character, Teddi.

Cover Blurb:

As the only granddaughter among seventeen grandsons of one of New York’s reputed Mafia dons, Teddi Gallo has been surrounded by overprotective men all her life…not to mention those FBI agents tailing her family. But now, determined to live her own life, she has decamped to Manhattan with dreams of making it in the brutal restaurant business.

Soon, however, she is finding her dinner plate is more than full as she juggles an old-money, news-anchor boyfriend, a devastatingly handsome FBI agent trailing her 24/7, a nervous accountant concerned her business is failing and her cousin Tony acting as her bodyguard. Toss in bringing her new beau home for Sunday dinner and trying to explain the hundred pairs of stolen Jimmy Choos in her Uncle Vito’s living room…and Teddi Gallo’s already-chaotic life is made all the more messy. Maybe a few well-hatched plans, a bit of matchmaking and a dose of Mafia Chic will get her out of this jam.

This was a fun book and an easy read. It’s the author’s bad luck that I was reading this book as a break while I was proofing another book so I noticed some bad editing and redundancy a few times 😉 But I don’t think the average reader would be bothered these as they were pretty insignificant. I’m just a freak. I recommend this to fans of chick lit looking for an enjoyable read.

Abby Cooper: Psychic Eye by Victoria Laurie and Better Read Than Dead by Victoria Laurie

Abby Cooper: Psychic Eye –

Abby Cooper is a P.I., psychic intuitive. But her insight failed her when she didn’t foresee the death of one of her clients-or that the lead investigator for the case is the gorgeous blind date she just met. Now, with the police suspicious of her abilities and a killer on the loose, Abby’s future looks more uncertain than ever

Better Read than Dead –

Word of Abby’s talents reading tarot cards has reached a mob boss who wants her help in some business matters and he doesn’t take no for an answer. When the police seek out her psychic intuition to shed light on a masked man who’s been attacking women, Abby finds herself working both sides of the law on her own, leading her to wonder, why didn’t I see this coming?

I liked both of these books quite a bit, enough that I went searching for more information about when I could expect the next in the series. I did find that she had a short story in an anthology, Drop-Dead Blonde. And when I was exploring the author’s website, it was interesting to read that she modeled Abby Cooper somewhat after her own experiences as a psychic. And she offers psychic readings over the phone. Hmmmmm…

I would recommend these books to fans of Janet Evanovich, Sarah Stroymeyer, and Nancy Martin and to those who enjoy a fun mystery with a side of romance.

Undead and Unappreciated by Mary Janice Davidson – I’m sure there is some crazed fangirl out there who’d see me dead and buried for this statement but… this book had no business being published in the state it’s in. I’m not going to go into major details but there are major editing errors in this book that I found to be a sad testiment to the publisher’s lack of respect for the readers. And this is not my first experience with bad editing in an MJD book. The fact that they released this book in hardcover makes it even worse that they expect the reader to shell out their hard-earned money for a poorly put together product.

As you can probably tell, my disgust with the editing errors overshadowed a lot of my enjoyment of this book. I was glad to see more focus on Betsy’s relationship with Sinclair. I did find the last, ohhh, four chapters or so to be a bit annoying. After the climax of the story, there were more chapters at the end, tying up various story lines. It reminded me of the last Lord of the Rings movie, Return of the King, when you thought the movie was over and started to get up, and then another scene starts. Only thing is, J.R.R. Tolkien and Peter Jackson can get away with this. MJD…not so much. The story itself is much in line with the previous stories, so readers who enjoyed those should be happy with this one even if I wasn’t!

Cast in Shadows by Michelle Sagara (Luna) – I just finished reading this book this morning and I loved it. Loved it. It’s a fantasy with strong and intriguing characters, a fabulous plot and storyline that compels the reader to go further into the world the author built. I didn’t want to put this book down even though it was complex and required more concentration than I sometimes like to give a book since I have a 10 month old demanding I pay attention to her 😉 But this was one book I couldn’t wait to get back to during naptime and after bedtime. I can’t wait for the sequel, which is due to be released next summer!

Seven years ago Kaylin fled the crime-riddled streets of Nightshade, knowing that something was after her. Children were being murdered — and all had the same odd markings that mysteriously appeared on her own skin.…

Since then, she’s learned to read, she’s learned to fight and she’s become one of the vaunted Hawks who patrol and police the City of Elantra. Alongside the winged Aerians and the immortal Barrani, she’s made a place for herself, far from the mean streets of her birth.

But children are once again dying, and a dark and familiar pattern is emerging. Kaylin is ordered back into Nightshade with a partner she knows she can’t trust, a Dragon lord for a companion and a device to contain her powers — powers that no other human has. Her task is simple — find the killer, stop the murders…and survive the attentions of those who claim to be her allies!

Crazy Hot by Tara Janzen – hee hee. Okay, I’m not going to say a ton about this book since it’s not out yet. I liked it, I didn’t love it. There was a lot of set-up of secondary characters for future books. The danger/plot of this one felt a little rushed and the wrap-up felt anti-climactic. But I will pick up future books. If you loved River of Eden by Glenna McReynolds, this one doesn’t quite live up to that, but it is still worth reading.

Regan McKinney, a studious paleontologist, isn’t exactly accustomed to a life of high crime. But when a mysterious note from her missing grandfather leads her to a secret surveillance site maintained by a notorious special-ops task force, and headed by a smoldering ex-fighter pilot, even Regan can’t resist the chase.

Devil’s Bargain by Rachel Caine (Bombshell)
– Too say I found this book absolutely ridiculous would be, probably, an understatement. I spent much of the time I was reading this going, “huh?” I didn’t find the premise plausible and I can’t explain why without giving spoilers. Let me just say that any willing suspension of disbelief that I generally take into a book with me was apparently on vacation. Umm… not really recommended but who am I to say?

Jazz Callender — don’t ever call her Jasmine — is an ex-cop with a goal: opening her own private detective agency and proving her former partner is innocent of murder. Too bad no one will lend her the money. Until a sexy lawyer with the devil’s own grin appears with an offer she can’t refuse.…

$100,000. A savvy new partner. And an agreement to make any case arriving via red envelope a top priority. But if Jazz accepts, there’s no turning back. Because once she opens that envelope, all hell’s gonna break loose.…

Once a Thief by Michelle Hauf (Bombshell) – Clearly it wasn’t my day for Bombshells. Normally I enjoy this line but I felt like I was slogging my way through this book. I don’t have a lot to say about it other than that I found the characters somewhat flat and not very engaging. The plot was…strange and didn’t compel me to read further. I found this book easy to put down and not pick back up again.

Security consultant Rachel Anderson has three big problems.

1. The priceless gem she’s providing security for has disappeared.

2. If anyone looks into her background, they’ll discover she was once a thief.

3. The person who has the gem knows exactly who she is.…

Because he’s the man who raised her — and trained her to be a cunning thief. She’d fled and made a new life for herself, determined to use her unique skills for good. But to retrieve the stolen gem and keep everything she’s fought for, she’s got to turn the tables and prove the student is now the master.…

Recommended: Cast in Shadows by Michelle Sagara
Abby Cooper: Psychic Eye and Better Read Than Dead by Victoria Laurie
Mafia Chic by Erica Orloff

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