Thursday, April 28, 2011

Aisling Grey Guardian Series

Review by Sarah:

Based on a great review by one of our book group members I recently picked up You Slay Me, the first book in Katie MacAlister’s Aisling Grey Guardian series.  All I have to say is: “What a fun read.”  For those of you who may have read MaryJanice Davidson’s books, I know you are going to like this series. 

Aisling Grey’s first job as a courier for her uncle doesn’t go quite how she hopes. When she goes to deliver her package to it’s new owner in Paris, she finds her dead, hanging from the ceiling. Also at the crime scene she runs into an incredibly handsome man named Drake Vireo who claims he is from Interpol.  Sparks, or should I say fire, fly between them instantly.  Right before the police arrive Drake snatches Aisling’s delivery and disappears.  What puzzles Aisling most about this encounter is why did Drake keeps on referring to her as a Guardian.  Aisling is quickly thrust into a world she never knew existed. One where there are guardians, dragons, imps, witches and mages.  And they all know that Aisling is a Guardian, which is strange seeing that Aisling doesn’t even know what a Guardian is.   They also seem to know instantly that she is a dragon’s mate, and not just any dragon but Drake Vireo’s, who also happened to be the head (wyvern) of the Green Dragons. When more murders happen Aisling realizes she is going to have to solve the crimes because she is the number one suspect.  She finds help in some unlikely people or beings.  Aisling soon finds out that since she is a guradian, she can control portals to the underworld. She knows a demon has been present at each murder, so she summons a demon so she can ask him some questions. But being new to the Guardian business, things don’t go as she plans. She ends up summoning the demon, Effrijim, or “Jim” as he likes to be called. Jim manifests him self as a black Newfoundland, and just so happens to be the one demon that has been kicked out of the underworld and no help at all.  Despite all of her tries she cannot send Jim back so she somehow ends up being a Guardian, a wyvern’s mate, and a Demon Lord. And Aisling has only been in Paris for a few days.  MacAlister’s  book is filled with quirky characters, sizzling romance and a mystery that need to be solved.

It is a fun, quick, and delightful read. Once I finished the first book I had to order the rest of the series.  The Bangor Public Library unfortunately doesn’t own any of these books so you would have to request them through the MaineCat system.  The links provided below will take you that catalog.

~Sarah

:  Request each book from the Bangor Public Library by clicking on the cover  : :
You Slay Me  Fire Me Up  Light My Fire  Holy Smokes

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Linda Howard, one of my favorite romantic suspense authors!

Dream ManReview by Jan:

I was asked the other day who was my favorite author, and, as always, I rattle off this long list of favorites.  I'm not sure I can limit myself to just one.  I read several genres: fantasy, mystery/suspense and romance mostly.  Within each genre I do have favorites.  Linda Howard, for example, is one of those very special authors I read as soon as her books are published.  She writes romantic suspense.  I don't know what it is about her writing style, but she hooks me into her stories within the first page.  Every one of her books are amazing.  Dream Man has made many online lists for one of the best romances of all time, and I must say I agree. 

Among my favorite Howard's are Now You See Her, Son of the Morning, Kill and Tell, After the Night, All the Queen's Men, and Mr. Perfect.  She has a collection of short stories, Strangers in the Night, that is also wonderful.  I usually don't care for short stories, but these are very good.  Howard mixes mystery, suspense, intrigue, and romance.  They're all page-turners and unforgettable.  Visit me at the library and I will gush about every one of the books I have listed. 

Beware, Howard is usually graphic in all areas.  Although her latest releases have been tame compared to her older books, I still give her a Chili Pepper on Fire rating, with a warning that some scenes move toward Roasted, especially in the ones I have listed - my favorites of course!  :o)

All of these titles are stand alone books, a few have characters that appear in other books but it's not necessary to read one to understand the other.  Unfortunately, I noticed After the Night hasn't been returned, and this is Faith's story - a mystery that starts from her childhood in backwoods Louisiana, a very compelling (and steamy) read.  I'm going to try to reorder this one.  In the meantime, when you click the cover of each book, it will take you to our catalog, and you can always hit the "Search MaineCat" button for other library holdings to request the book. 

Hope to see you in our library someday soon,
Jan


: :  Request each book from the Bangor Public Library by clicking on the cover  : :

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Bishop Special Crimes Unit Series by Kay Hooper

book jacketReview by Jan:

I thought it might do us some good to break up all the romance with a little murder mystery.  I love this series by Kay Hooper.  I have been trying to sell it to our book group but it never seems to make the final vote.  So, I wanted to take the chance to highlight it once again.

I am a pretty savvy murder mystery reader and I'm bored easily.  I usually guess the murderer mid-way through the book, so one of the wonderful elements of this series is the author keeps me hooked into her stories until the very end.  Every book is amazing.   Keep in mind these are not cozy mysteries; they are quite graphic.

Another aspect I love about this series is the psychic element.  I usually describe it as a cross between the TV shows Medium and Criminal Minds.  The "Special Crimes Unit" consists of a secret team of psychic agents who use their special abilities to help solve horrendous murders that no one else can.

Also, I love Hooper's writing style.  Her descriptions are detailed enough to create a vivid mental visual without being over descriptive.  Again, I don't get bored.  From the moment I pick up one of these books I can't put them down.

I recommend you start with Stealing Shadows.  There are reoccurring characters with great back stories you don't want to miss.  And don't be surprised if you see it on our Fall book vote once again!  :o)

Hope to see you in our library someday soon,
Jan    

The Bishop Special Crimes Unit Series in order of publicationBook 1 - Stealing Shadows
Book 2 - Hiding in the Shadows
Book 3 - Out of the Shadows
Book 4 - Touching Evil
Book 5 - Whisper of Evil
Book 6 - Sense of Evil
Book 7 - Hunting Fear
Book 8 - Chill of Fear
Book 9 - Sleeping with Fear
Book 10- Blood Dreams
Book 11- Blood Sins
Book 12- Blood Ties
Book 13 - Haven

The Bishop Files
First Prophet  (available November 2012)

: :  Request each book from the Bangor Public Library by clicking on the cover  : :

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What is it about a man in a kilt?

book jacketReview by Sarah:

One genre of romance that we have not discussed is “Men in Kilts.”  I just recently finished “Devil of the Highlands” by Lynsay Sands. It brought back all kinds of memories from when I first began reading romance novels.  This was when it seemed like every other book was set in medieval Scotland. But looking back I can’t seem to remember any particular author. I will admit that the book is a bit formulaic with the heroine, Evelinde, being married off against her will, by her evil stepmother, to the “Devil of Donnachaidh.” Cullen, “Devil of Donnachaidh” ,of course  ends up being anything but a devil and tries to figure out who might be trying to kill his wife, who he now in love with.  But it still was an enjoyable read and in many ways I liked it better than her vampire series.
So blog readers, which authors do you turn to when you want a great read about a man in a kilt?   
~ Sarah

We are now on Facebook as well! Just do a search for "Not Your Ordinary Book Group" and make sure you "like" us.  Knowing Jan, she will probably figure out a way link to facebook from our blog.
             

Friday, April 1, 2011

April's Book Group Picks

I want to send out a big thank you to all our book group members!  We had another awesome meeting, full of laughs and some great recommendations.
(I'm definitely looking up the Katie MacAlister books)

The votes were cast... and Dark Lover won by a landslide!   The Search by Iris Johansen also won for our Mystery/Suspense selection.  Remember, you only have to read the one you're most interested in!  

Hope to see you all at our next meeting on Thursday, April 28th at 6:00!


1. Dark Lover by J.R. Ward
(Romance/Fantasy Choice)

Book description:
book jacketIn the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there's a deadly turf war going on between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Yet none of them relishes killing more than Wrath, the leader of The Black Dagger Brotherhood.  The only purebred vampire left on earth, Wrath has a score to settle with the slayers who murdered his parents centuries ago. But, when one of his most trusted fighters is killed-leaving his half-breed daughter unaware of his existence or her fate-Wrath must usher her into the world of the undead-a world of sensuality beyond her wildest dreams.
-~Book description from Amazon


Note from Jan:
Okay everyone--- you gave me your comments, and you told me to add more spicy books, so here's one for the mix.  This series has enough heat to peel paint off walls.  Dark Lover gets my first Roasted Chili Pepper!  (So hot the chili pepper did not survive the fire!)

However, there is some amazing character development in this series as well, with tortured heroes and strong women, all mixed together in a vampire war.  Definitely not a light read.  JR Ward is an amazing author, especially if you like the heat!



2. Search by Iris Johansen
(Mystery/Suspense Choice)

book jacketWhen Logan's top-secret research station in South America is attacked and his chief scientist kidnapped, Sarah and Monty manage to track the hostage through the jungle and save his life. But that's only the beginning in what turns out to be a series of sadistic and deadly attempts to destroy Logan. Despite Sarah's initial distrust, she comes to respect and ultimately love Logan--which makes her and Monty targets for the killer's vengeance, too. The action moves swiftly across the globe, from the American Southwest to Colombia to Taiwan, and finally to North Dakota, in a tense, dramatic denouement. Johansen manages to explicate her characters' back-stories and illuminate their motivation as she moves the action forward with skillful pacing. Fans of the author's previous suspense thrillers featuring forensic sculptor Eve Duncan won't be disappointed that she plays only a bit part in Johansen's newest; Sarah and Monty are worth a series of their own, and The Search is a terrific beginning.
~-Review from Amazon


Note from Jan:
A book I've been meaning to read for some time now, one of the many on my list.  It sounds wonderful, especially the character interaction with search and rescue dogs.