Book Review: Lipstick Voodoo

Lipstick Voodoo (Kincaid Strange #2)

Kincaid Strange, not your average voodoo practitioner, is back in the freshly imagined and hugely entertaining second installment of Kristi Charish’s urban fantasy series.

Kincaid Strange cannot catch a break. After dealing with a spate of paranormal murders, there’s barely time to recuperate—let alone sleep in—before there’s a new problem in Kincaid’s world of paranormal activity. When her roommate, Nathan Cade—the ghost of a grunge-rocker with a pathological lack of self-control—comes home bound to a dead body, it’s up to Kincaid to figure out how to free him. Ideally before her new mentor, Gideon, a powerful sorcerer’s ghost, discovers that Nate is trapped in the body he’d coveted for himself.

When Aaron, a Seattle cop on the afterlife beat—and Kincaid’s ex—calls her in to help out with a cold case, she takes the chance to mend fences with the police department. The problem: they want to interview Nate’s ghost, which she can’t produce. Then people from Nate’s past start showing up dead, and what’s killing them doesn’t seem to be human. And the way it’s killing them is especially brutal.

Nate’s hiding something, but he’s Kincaid’s friend and she wants to help him. But she also wants to stay alive….

Review:

I am really enjoying this series. It is fun, clever, and keeps me reading. I love the sense of humour in these books and the lightness of them, especially considering they deal with zombies and ghosts.

Kincaid is a great character who is smart and talented, but also fallible. It is interesting to see how she solves the mysteries around her.

And I love Nate, the dead grunge rock star. He presents lots of interesting challenges, especially in this book.

If you are looking for a lighthearted, modern, non-apocolyptic zombie/ghost/mystery, then you’ll enjoy this series.

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Book Review: City of Broken Magic

City of Broken Magic

by Mirah Bolender

Mirah Bolender’s fast-paced, adventure fantasy debut, City of Broken Magic, features a bomb squad that defuses magic weapons.

Five hundred years ago, magi created a weapon they couldn’t control. An infestation that ate magic—and anything else it came into contact with. Enemies and allies were equally filling.

Only an elite team of non-magical humans, known as sweepers, can defuse and dispose of infestations before they spread. Most die before they finish training.

Laura, a new team member, has stayed alive longer than most. Now, she’s the last—and only—sweeper standing between the city and a massive infestation.

Review:

I love the premise of this book, that there is a small group of “sweepers” who fight monster infestations that the city in a realistic fantasy world is loathe to acknowledge.
The main character, Laura, is engaging. We immediately want to root for her and for her to become the sweeper she has always dreamed of becoming.  I love strong female protagonists, and Laura certainly is one.
The world building is great as well, with the setting being something I was immediately drawn into — I wanted to learn more about how this society worked and how the magic had influenced it.
However, I found the book dragged a bit, especially in the middle. Maybe I didn’t find the antagonist strong enough or there wasn’t enough of a big conflict, just lots of little ones.
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Book Review: The Glitch

The Glitch

Shelley Stone might be a little overwhelmed. She runs the company Conch, the manufacturer of a small wearable device that attaches to the user’s ear and whispers helpful advice and prompts. She’s married with two small children, Nova and Blazer, both of whom are learning Mandarin. She employs a cook, a nanny, a driver, and an assistant, she sets an alarm for 2AM conference calls, and occasionally takes a standing nap while waiting in line when she’s really exhausted. Shelley takes Dramamine so she can work in the car; allows herself ten almonds when hungry; swallows Ativan to stave off the panic attacks; and makes notes in her day planner to “practice being happy and relatable.” But when Shelley meets a young woman named Shelley Stone who has the exact same scar on her shoulder, Shelley has to wonder: Is some sort of corporate espionage afoot? Has she discovered a hole in the space-time continuum? Or is she finally buckling under all the pressure?

Introducing one of the most memorable and singular characters in recent fiction,The Glitch is a completely original, brainy, laugh-out-loud story of work, marriage, and motherhood for our times.

Review:

I enjoyed reading this book — it was funny and there were some great lines and observations — but it also felt a bit repetitive and there was something a bit lacking, maybe in the ending.
Shelley Stone is a high powered executive who just doesn’t get social situations and expectations. Work and achievement consume her, to the point where it’s a detriment to her life. I liked it when she met the “younger version” of herself and wish there was more of that.
It is amusing to watch this extreme character make her way through life as a commentary on current social norms. As such, The Glitch is a funny and lighthearted book that’s easy to read.
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Book Review: Zero Sum Game

Zero Sum Game (Russell’s Attic #1)

Deadly. Mercenary. Superhuman. Not your ordinary math geek.

Cas Russell is good at math. Scary good.

The vector calculus blazing through her head lets her smash through armed men twice her size and dodge every bullet in a gunfight. She can take any job for the right price and shoot anyone who gets in her way.

As far as she knows, she’s the only person around with a superpower . . . but then Cas discovers someone with a power even more dangerous than her own. Someone who can reach directly into people’s minds and twist their brains into Moebius strips. Someone intent on becoming the world’s puppet master.

Someone who’s already warped Cas’s thoughts once before, with her none the wiser.

Cas should run. Going up against a psychic with a god complex isn’t exactly a rational move, and saving the world from a power-hungry telepath isn’t her responsibility. But she isn’t about to let anyone get away with violating her brain — and besides, she’s got a small arsenal and some deadly mathematics on her side. There’s only one problem . . .

She doesn’t know which of her thoughts are her own anymore.

Review:

This was such a fun book to read. I absolutely loved the protagonist, Cas — she’s a salty mercenary with a odd moral code, who is also freakishly good at math. Superhero good at math.  It was so much fun to read the scenes where she uses her mad math skills to take down those who were after her. And, even though she is a standoffish, antihero type of character, I still really liked her and wanted to know what she was up to next.
What also makes this a good book are the supporting characters — I cared about them as well and wanted to see how their story lines would work out. They were all so different and brought out various traits in Cas.
Overall, this is an exciting, fast paced read with a strong and smart heroine who is not above making mistakes. It certainly kept me turning the pages. I can’t wait to read the next book and learn more about her backstory.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book on NetGalley for an honest review.
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