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The best books you never read

I am both a reader and a writer. I find that the best writers are in fact avid readers. I love books of all kinds but I really adore reading new authors who are just getting their feet wet. Some of the very best writers are now found in the indie set. These reviews will be of books I have devoured in my never ending quest for good fiction. Some will be up and comers who have hit the top of the chart, but most will be struggling new writers who deserve a second look.

Shakespeare's Christmas by Charlaine Harris

Shakespeare's Christmas - Charlaine Harris

Once more Ms Harris gives us an interesting mystery.

 

Lily has to leave Shakespeare for her sister's wedding. going  back to her hometown is not something Lily is looking forward to. Everyone there knows about THAT day and she doesn't want to face the pity but this is her sister's wedding.

 

When she arrives things are less tense than she expected. This novel deals with all the wonderful chaos of a classic southern middle class wedding, Christmas and of course a mystery.

 

When Lily and her sister make a side trip to the family doctor's office to pick up a 'script they go in and find the doctor and his nurse murdered. From that moment on this story picks up speed. When Lily stops and takes down a purse snatcher who tries to take her mother's purse, the police, at first, believe they have found the murderer, but we all know that nothing is that easy in well written mysteries.

 

The new man in Lily's life, Jake, is in town looking for a missing child who was kidnapped eight years ago and there are three little girls who could be her. Including the daughter of the man that Lily's sister is marrying.

 

As always happens with Ms Harris' work I found myself immersed in this story only coming up for air to feed the family! Ms Harris is a master of her craft, even in these either examples of her work. I highly recommend picking up her entire back list if you can. I know I plan on reading them all over again!

An Ice Cold Grave by Charlaine Harris

An Ice Cold Grave - Charlaine Harris

In this the third book of the series Ms Harris has upped the stakes. Harper is brought in to ind the body of a missing boy and in the process she finds a total of eight bodies.

 

A serial killer is loose and all Harper wants to do is get paid and get out of town. She gets delayed by the police and the FBI and to make matters worse, she is attacked.

 

This is by far the darkest of this series. A very good mystery with many thins that make Harper remember her older sister, who also disappeared.

 

If you aren't ready for a very dark mystery you might want to give this one a pass but if, like me, you just can't get enough of mystery and of Harper, jump in! This is one very good book.

Grave Surprise by Charlaine Harris

Grave Surprise - Charlaine Harris

In this, the second book of the series, Harper is brought in by a professor as an exhibit in his class on the paranormal. She is to walk an old graveyard that the paperwork as only recently been found for as proof that she can tell how the dead died.

 

She is very accurate, making the professor angrier by the minute and the students more and more freaked out. Things get really interesting when she heads to the final grave and find not one but two bodies. One is the old body that belongs in the grave, and one is a very fresh grave for a young girl that Harper had been hired to find months ago but could not.

 

Harper has to go through the usual disbelief from both the public and the police force. You have in this book all the prejudice you would expect from a small town. It is of course easier to blame the outsiders than to look inside for the killers.

 

Ms Harris has given us another tale with all the twists and turns that a reader could hope for in a mystery. Well worth reading.

Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris

Grave Sight - Charlaine Harris

In this the first book of the Harper Connelly series Ms Harris introduces us to Harper, the survivor of a lightening strike. She managed to survive and beside the usual physical issues of that much electricity on the human body, Harper now knows where bodies are buried. She hears a buzzing that gets louder as she gets closer to the body. On top of that once she finds them she sees the final moments of their lives.

 

With her step brother, Tolliver, she drives around the country. Finding bodies or telling those who hire her how the person died, it is an odd living but one that she understands.

 

In this first book, Ms Harris has the pair brought into a small town to help find the body of a missing teenage girl. Problem is there is more to this missing girl than meets the eye. There is another dead teen, who most of the town believes committed suicide and a missing hunter who no one realized was out there.

 

With her usual mix of southern charm and mystery, this book is a great series for those of you looking for a mix of paranormal and mystery that has something different. There are no vampires or werewolves in this book, just a woman who finds the dead and reminds everyone that she is NOT a psychic. A fun read all around.

Shakespeare's Counselor by Charlain Harris

Shakespeare's Champion - Charlaine Harris

In book two of this series Lily has a rough time. She loses friends, she get battered and hurt but that doesn't stop her from once more finding out just what is going on.

 

With white supremacists, rich old southern families and an interesting and sexy tall, dark and handsome stranger Ms Harris has once more tugged us into her well written mysteries. While this book was originally written well over a decade ago, it stands just fine today.

Shakespeare's Landlord by Charlaine Harris

Shakespeare's Landlord  - Charlaine Harris

With Ms Harris starting a new series I thought it was time to go back and re-read some of her earlier works to see if they stood the test of time. Of course they did!

 

In this, the first, of the Lily Bard Mysteries series we are introduced to Lily, a woman who a horrible past who is doing her best to live a quiet life as a maid in a small town. Her life is lonely yet she is in total control of everything around her.

 

One night she sees a shadowy figure dragging something across the street into the forest. What drags her attention was that the person was using her cart. Once she sees them returning her cart she waits and then slips out to investigate. What she finds starts out this book and catches your attention.

 

There is enough twists and turns to this murder mystery to keep even the hard core mystery fan reading. Lucky for us, Ms Harris is at her best when writing strong female characters and interesting southern settings. She knows her stuff and makes it easy for the reader to see just what she is writing about.

Curse of the Black Heron by Holly Lisle

Curse of the Black Heron: A Bard's Tale Novel - Holly Lisle

this is a review for the 1998 release of this book.

 

This was part of the Bard's Tale series of books, based off the 90s video game.

 

In this tale Isbetta is an orphan who is coming up on the end of her Weaver's apprenticeship. She is looking forward to the freedom this will give her from her foster mother.

 

A new ruler has taken over the country and Isbetta overhears the plans her foster mother has to sell her to a whore house. With her best friend Girard, the last surviving son of the local out of favor lord, she escapes the village and heads into the nearby mountains to escape.

 

Like most hero quests, this one is filled with danger, friends unknown and villains who masquerade as friends. Captured by a monster, told the only way she can escape is to sing a song at the top of the mountain, she does and the world is changed, and not for the better.

 

The quest to reach the only place she can get help to fix her mistake is a rich and well told one. My only beef with this book is that the end is too fast. The lead up is great but it ends suddenly in a couple of pages. With one more chapter this book would be a classic.

Svaha by Charles de Lint

Svaha - Charles de Lint

Svaha - the moment between seeing lightening and hearing the thunder

 

In this novel from 1989 Charles de Lint mixes Native American characters with various Asian characters in a cyberpunk novel with incredible depth.

 

In the future the world has descended into large mega cities known as plexes and run by Nippojin companies, the squats where anyone not a citizen of near pure Nippojin ended up. Run by the Yazuka, the Tongs, and the triads. It is a very stratified society and if you don't fit in you are pushed out.

 

Surprisingly those of Native descent actually managed to set up their own Enclaves where nature is nurtured. They are closed enclaves where only those of Native descent live and thy are filled with high tech working hand and hand with mysticism. Those outside want that technology.

 

An enclave flyer has crashed and the race is on between the Nippojin companies, the Yazuka, the tongs and the triads to own and control that technology.

 

As always in a de Lint book there are rich and well developed characters. He is the master of urban fantasy and mixes well research mysticism with the real world. Gazhee is a warrior who was sent out by his enclave to find and destroy the Claver technology and to find out what has happened to one of the Enclaves that has gone silent. Along the way he meets Lisa Bone, a young messenger girl who had been jumped by the chinas when she was carrying a package. The package held the chip to the claver technology and she had no idea.

 

The various plots within plots make this novel truly stand out. Jumping from the Plex, to the squats to the outlands and even into the Dreamtime, we have a tale to drag you from start to finish. Though this tale was written twenty five years ago it is perfectly good for today.

Midlnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris

Midnight Crossroad - Charlaine Harris

This first book of a new series by one of my favorite authors was a fun read. She lightly refers to her other book series but she gives us a new group of characters to intrigue and amuse us. From a type of vampire, a woman who must be more than she seems, a witch, a psychic, a sweet gay couple and the owner of a pawn shop.

 

With a murder, white supremacists, a mythical cache of weapons things just have to be interesting. I read this in a bit longer than an afternoon and I can't wait to read the next one. Ms Harris has gone and given me another series that I have to collect and look forward to.

The Undead Pool by Kim Harrison

Ever After - Kim Harrison

In this lead up to the series finale the action comes fast and furious. Rachel is driving when misfired charm nearly  kills her. From that very action packed opening Ms Harrison drags us through a mix of Elves, Vampires, Werewolves and so much more.

 

Rachel has become the lodestone for Mystics; the loose parts of the Elven Goddess' consciousness. Dealing with religion with a deft hand, we get to learn more about just why the elves and the demons hate each other so much.

 

With the High elven priesthood, Undead vampires falling into comas and conspiracies inside conspiracies reading this was everything a reader could hope for.

 

The added bonus of Trent and Rachel getting closer, this novel leaves you ready to read the finale as soon as you can get your hands on it.

Ever After by Kim Harrison

Ever After - Kim Harrison

Yet again we are drawn into the world of the Hollows and Rachel is fighting to save the world, or in this case the Ever After. The mad demon has pulled all the imbalances of the LeyLines together in one place and it is slowly collapsing the Ever After. Rachel has to figure out how to save everything without the help of Ivy and Jenks. This time she needs to turn to Quen and Trent.

 

This series just keeps getting better and better. While Rachel keeps getting strong she is not overwhelming. She can only do so much and still needs help to pull off the win. Ms Harrison is the master of blending together the different cultures of her world into one very interesting stew.

Perfect Blood by Kim Harrision

A Perfect Blood - Kim Harrison

Yet again Ms Harrision has given us a tale that drags you from page one to the very end. In Pale Blood we are introduced to HAPA, a group of humans who are determined to destroy all Inderlanders. In the past this human only group used terror tactics that would would understand in today's world but it seems they have decided they need to start using magic. They have been kidnapping witches who have the Rosewood syndrome antibodies and have been doing their best to try and make their own demons.

 

Rachel is brought in at first to make sure it was not her causing a series of odd deaths because she is the only known day walking demon. When her reaction to the body rules her out things get more interesting.

 

We get more of Trent and the evolving relationship between he and Rachel. We learn more about how magic works, more about elves and more about demons. We get lots of fun information about the simple, basic humans who survived the Turn.

 

In all I am hoping we get more humans in the coming books and I can't wait to dive back into this world.

A Pale Demon by Kim Harrison

Pale Demon  - Kim Harrison

Once more Ms Harrison has given us a wonderfully fast paced tale. This time around Rachel has to travel to the west coast to attend her brother's wedding and to get the shunning removed.

 

She ends up escorting Trent and the trip turns into a run from assassins out to stop the Elf, being followed and then joined by one of the Coven and having to find Jenks when he is kidnapped.

 

One hell of a rollercoaster ride from start to finish, Ms Harrison just keeps getting better and better with each book!

The Godmother's Web by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough

The Godmother's Web - Elizabeth Ann Scarborough

This wonderful novel is the third book in this series. Ms Scarborough published the copy I have back in 1998 and it holds up just fine today.

 

Cindy was feeling ignored and was not sure that her prince charming was the man of her dreams. She takes a job training a horse for a cross country trek. She meets along the way a lot of very interesting people, including Grandmother Webster...or as I quickly come to see, Grandmother Spider.

 

With a ton of Hopi and Navajo legends and people, this story moves right along. You learn a lot about the cultures in this well researched tale. At the heart it is another of the amazing retold faery tales. This book blends the traditional tales of two native cultures with that of the European.

 

If you are ready to read an older book about cultures not as commonly told, pick this up. You might have to hunt your local used book store, but it looks like you can get it online!

Bitten by Cupid by Lynsay Sands, Pamela Palmer and Jamie Rush

Bitten By Cupid by Sands, Lynsay, Rush, Jaime, Palmer, Pamela (2010) Mass Market Paperback - Lynsay,  Rush,  Jaime,  Palmer,  Pamela Sands

This three story anthology is a nice little bite into the worlds these authors are known for. More novellas than short stories, these tales all have a type of love story at their base.

 

If you love paranormal romance and haven't read any of these three authors then pick it up. Well worth the price to introduce you to three talented writers.

 

My favorite in this book was the Kiss and Kill Me, Cupid story. It was a fun and different and better yet complete. The other two tales are not quite complete in my opinion. A page more of each would have made them amazing.

 

Over all these tales have me more interested into the worlds I have not read. While I know Lynsay Sands work but I had never read either Palmer or Rush.

The Renegade Hunter

The Renegade Hunter - Lynsay Sands

Yet another great novel from Ms Sands. In this one we have a hunter who has gone rogue do to a murder that he does not remember. Being a good man, he does his best to protect those he can.

 

Like most of Ms Sands vampire books, we have an interesting woman who doesn't know that the man she is attracted to is more than human. Her take on vampires is interesting, having them descended from Atlantis and their vampirism being caused by nano technology instead of a demon or virus makes for a lighter tale.

 

I have enjoyed this series quiet a bit. With this novel the only problem i have with it is that is seems to end a few pages too soon. We have a lot of build up and a great tale but there is something missing from it. Still well worth the read but couldn't she give us just a page or three more to fill it in better?