Review, Grave Witch, Kalayna Price

Book blerb
Not even death can save her now.

As a grave witch, Alex Craft can speak to the dead-she’s even on good terms with Death himself. As a consultant for the police, she’s seen a lot of dark magic, but nothing has prepared her for her latest case. When she’s raising a “shade” involved in a high profile murder, it attacks her, and then someone makes an attempt on her life. Someone really doesn’t want her to know what the dead have to say, and she’ll have to work with mysterious homicide detective Falin Andrews to figure out why…

Set in a near-future where magic has reappeared and the Fey have come out of the proverbial closet, Alex Craft is a grave witch who able to raise the shades of the dead, making them visible to others. She is about to embark on the most difficult task of her career; be the first grave witch to raise a shade to testify in court. It will be a landmark change for her industry and has made her a target.

Or is she a target because of the favour she does for her estranged sister, looking into the death of a politician?

There are a number of engaging characters in this world, including a prophetic gargoyle, handsome and mysterious detective, even Death himself.

This is more of a murder mystery than many other offerings in the urban fantasy field, and it holds up well. Yes, it is somewhat formulaic and some sections could use a touch more editing, but overall it is engaging, funny, well-written, and action-packed. The romance is dealt with deftly, the myriad of threads all weave together well and the world is distinct and fully-formed.

I look forward to the next instalment in this series.

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Trying to get more books in before I have to take time off

44) On the Prowl, Patricia Briggs, Eileen Wilks, Karen Chance, Sunny. If you like urban fantasy/paranormal romance… get this book of novellas. Okay, so I am not sold on Sunny’s Mona Lisa series even after reading a couple of her novellas, but the other 3 tales… awesome! Big fan of Patricia Briggs’ series and really like the byplay between Charles and Anna in Alpha and Omega.

45) Birthright, Nora Roberts. Interesting premise; a child is kidnapped as a baby, never told she was adopted and suddenly stumbles on her birth family. Set this on top of the archeological find of the century. An enjoyable read, though I admit I picked this one up because of the whole archeological find aspect. And that wasn’t really explored – a ‘B’ story than gets relegated to ‘C’ level.

More reading

35) Bloodfever, Karen Marie Moning. Not all Sidhe are good Sidhe. Heck, not even the good ones are all that great, as MacKayla Lane has found out. This is the 2nd in a series that is really shaping up well. Lots of twists and turns, with interesting characters.

36) Every Secret Thing, Laura Lippman. After reading The Last Place, I was keen for another Lippman book, but this one just didn’t resonate with me. Not sure why. It was good, with lots of twists, but something just… I dunno.

37) By a Spider’s Thread, Laura Lippman. I enjoyed this one much better than the last. Maybe it was because I already knew the characters, though one of the people in Every Secret Thing did make an appearance here. Like the last one, there were plenty of twists.

38 ) Hound the Falcon, Judith Tarr. When mysteries are leaving you feeling a little flat, do a switch! Pick up a fantasy novel – in this case a trilogy (all in one book so I’ll count them as 1) set in the Crusade period. With elves. Nice elves. And evil churchfolk (and some nice ones too). And kings and princes and saints. A nice break from reality…

Another book-aholic confession

24) Seven Towers, 25) Daughter of Witches, 26) Shadow Magic, 27) Harp of Imach Thyssel, by Patricia Wrede. After reading Caught in Cryrstal a short while ago I got the bug to read more of Patricia. So I pulled all the books of hers that I had and read them again. I still admire her economy of phrasing.

28 ) Wolf Moon, Charles de Lint. While pulling out my Wrede books I discovered this tale by one of my all time favourite authors (and a heck of a bodhran player as I discovered when I stumbled upon him one night in a pub in Ottawa). Not my fave book of his, but still good.

29) Love is Murder, Linda Palmer. A murder mystery set in the world of soap operas. Well, I like mysteries, but not a fan of soap operas (despite my continuing to watch CSI: Miami), still this was more fun than I thought. Quirky characters and silly situations. Nice.

30) The Last Place, Laura Lippman. Was still in a mystery mood, so picked this one up from my ‘found in my personal library’ pile. This was a wonderful book; Tess Monaghan is definitely in a mess this time with court-ordered counselling and then a job searching domestic abuse cases. Cases that involve far more than meets the eye. Fascinating twists and turns, and bizarre characters.

31) Dead Man Rising, Lilith Saintcrow. When I first stumbled over the Dante Valentine series, I admit I sneered a little. Both the name chosen for the main character and the name of the author just seemed so fanciful… but I stopped sneering fast. Affectations aside, this is an excellent series. This is the second in the series and here Dante is trying to drown her sorrow (sorry, not giving away what happened in the first book) in work. Unfortunately she gets pulled into a situation where she has to deal with the worst of her childhood. And a truly horrible childhood it was… If you thought pedophiles were bad, wait till you meet the people who tainted Dante’s early life.

32) The Devil Inside, Jenna Black. What a cool premise: voluntary demon possession in order to do good works. And when it isn’t voluntary, you call in our heroine, exorcist Morgan Kingsley. When Morgan discovers she has been forcibly possessed by a demon, a demon who doesn’t want to be in her any more than she wants him to be, the two of them have to work together (sort of) in order to try and figure a way out of the mess. And their ally? A demon-possessed man who is very much into sadism.

33) The Vampire of New York, Lee Hunt. When I was reading a lot of fanfiction (still reading lots, but of a different genre) there was this writer who always got to me. Her stories started out wonderful and got better and better and then… over. She came up with great premises for stories, and was a wizard at writing the beginnings and middles, but when it came to endings she fizzled. This book is very similar – I was fascinated, entranced, spellbound… and then it was just done. Learnt a lot about NYC during the Civil War, though. Just wish the conclusion had been as promising as the rest of the book.

34) Dog Days, John Levitt. Now, I am a cat person… but the ‘dog’ in this book is very likeable. Of course, the focus is on the human, who is definitely someone I can understand. Not that I can play jazz guitar ot anything, but I do understand that whole ‘you have such potential… if you’d only….’ scenario. Been hearing that one my whole life… Anyway, interesting characters and situations. I also enjoyed the fact that it was set in a truly believable world; our own, just with some people who have a little bit more umph to them.

The last two books are part of the pile I picked up on the weekend – yes I have another stack to add to my as yet unread stack. Going to put them aside though; have to get the library books read first. And maybe even take a break for a bit (also got DVDs to watch).

My eyes are getting tired, LOL

8.) Scrum Bums, Darby Conley. Get Fuzzy cartoons are addictive… you can’t read one without wanting more. Which explains…

9) Say Cheesy, Darby Conley. And…

10) Bucky Katt’s Big Book of Fun, Darby Conley.

11) Hex Marks the Spot, Madelyn Alt. OMG! Not a Get Fuzzy book! What is the world coming to? Well, actually I read all of these because I was getting bored with the book I was really reading… and am still only halfway through. Sigh.

Man, I am just rolling through books…

Already started on my 8th of the year and I still haven’t touched the stack of new books I bought while in the States pre-Christmas (read a bunch of them while I was there, but still have lots to go through).

5) The Sunrise Lands, S.M. Stirling. Well, duh! Kind of hinted that in my last post on this subject. Enjoyed it… but really wanted it not to be the start of another trilogy. Love trilogies and all… but only once I have all the books in hand and can read them all right away. Patience? Moi? NON! So now I am waiting for the next one…

6) Falling Woman, Pat Murphy. Must have picked this one up at a garage sale or something because it was written back in 1983; you can really tell that in some of the phrasing, things talked about and the fact that everyone is smoking up a storm, LOL. I didn’t think it was quite the ‘psychological thriller’ that the cover promised it to be, but it was an interesting read.

7) The Dog is Not a Toy, Darby Conley. Hey, a cartoon book still qualifies as a book in my mind! I love Get Fuzzy… Bucky is so evil and Satchel is so trusting… yet so often disappointed (with comedic results).