Category Archives: Series Spotlight

Red Hot Steele by Alex P. Berg

Jake Daggers is the less humble version of “Columbo”.   He’s ditched his old partner, thinks he’s got it made until the captain pairs him with Steele.  Red Hot Steele.

Title: Red Hot Steele
Author: Alex P. Berg
Series:  Daggers and Steele #1
Publish Date:  October 16, 2014
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source:  purchased by reviewer

Publisher’s Description:  Detective Jake Daggers likes his murder investigations the way he likes his women–straightforward, easy, and with a killer body.

So when his older-than-dust partner throws his back out on a goblin raid, his captain assigns him a new running mate–a sexy young half-elf by the name of Shay Steele.

It seems like a match made in Daggers’ imagination, but Steele’s no pushover. She’s a powerful forensic psychic, and she’s got sass oozing out of her boots.

In a debut case teeming with fire mages, foundries, and a dead guy who’s crispier than bacon, it’s pretty clear Daggers isn’t the only one getting a heaping helping of RED HOT STEELE.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words …SPOILERS. *BEWARE*

Nervous Nellie says…

I listened to this story as well as read it with my own eyes.  I will say that I preferred the written word over the narrated one.  The author narrated his own book and while that may be fiscally responsible, it made the main protagonist less likable for me.  Jake Daggers is a chauvinistic jerk face.  He shouldn’t be because I would guess he’s not that old.  He’s got some good quips, I’ll give him that, but his attitude comes off as disrespectful more than funny.  Every woman is checked out for her bust and ass.  His coworkers, while being pretty descent guys, are disrespected.  I am very familiar with giving my coworkers a hard time and having fun with it, but go so far as hurting their feelings is too far.

I think I may be being too sensitive.  The male protagonist is probably being written as he is so that he can grow as a person in the later books.  I certainly hope that is the case.  Jake Daggers is the less humble version of “Columbo”.  He has worked 10 years as being a detective with the captain even complementing him on being his best closer, but he struggles to figure out who-dun-it.  Daggers was slow on the uptake for things a 10 year veteran should have known.  Either he just didn’t care to put in the effort or he’s burned out.  I don’t know which.

The next thing that I couldn’t get over was that everyone was hard of hearing.  It seemed like the dialogue had quite a few “Huh?” or “What?” questions that started a response.  And it was everyone.  Not just one character, they all seemed like they weren’t paying attention.  It was really obvious when listening to the narration.

I liked the story.  This does not qualify as a romance.  There is a degree of violence, but only really after the fact.  With all the complaints listed, I will say that I liked the secondary characters. This story really reminded me of noir detectives from the 1920’s who called all women “doll”.  The scenes were set in a universe where there are ogres, goblins, elves and magic users.

I give this book a 4 because it was good writing and the flow was good.  I wasn’t really bored.  There weren’t any spots that dragged where I felt I need to skip paragraphs.  The author did a good job and yes, I will read the next book.


Other reviews in the series:



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Blood Money by Chris Underwood

Reading and reviewing the stories in Eight in the Chamber anthology.  Reviewing book #2

Title: Blood Money
Author:  Chris Underwood
Series:  Lost Falls #1.5
Publish Date:  July 8, 2018
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source:  purchased by reviewer in Anthology, Eight in the Chamber

Publisher’s Description:

As Lost Falls’ resident folk wizard, I can track down anyone.

It should’ve been a simple job. Find the girl, bring her home.

Except she’s not just any girl. She’s the bloodslave of one of the most powerful vampires in town.

And I’m not sure she wants to be found.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words …SPOILERS. *BEWARE*

Nervous Nellie says…

This is a review of the second story in the anthology.  I started reading Cunning Devil, so I sorta knew the premise but not the characters.  If you happen to pick up this anthology, don’t worry, there are no spoilers that will ruin anything.  It’s a good intro to the characters, what they do and what kind of trouble they find.

I liked this story plenty.  The writing is good and the protagonist is pretty good at what he does.  The world that the author has built has trolls, vampires and maybe more creatures that I haven’t met yet.  It appears that Lost Falls is a town that is home to quite a few supernatural creatures.  I don’t know the why of it yet.  I’ll probably learn a lot more when I finish book #1.

The author writes well.  I especially liked the risk Ozzy took to save the troll.  And I like the name Ozzy. All in all, the story was really good. I like what I read so I’ll proceed with book #1.  Oh, like I said, don’t worry about reading this story before the others.  It felt very stand alone-ish.  I figured out the character to a degree that I was not lost.


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Book News and Author Announcements: Kathy Reichs

One Book Two has some news! Everybody – check it out!  Kathy Reichs update on her books & publisher.

book news

Following found on

  #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Kathy Reichs to be Published by Scribner

NEW YORK, June 4

#1 New York Timesbestselling author Kathy Reichs, whose Temperance Brennan novels were the basis for the popular “Bones” television series, will publish her next two novels with Scribner, Simon & Schuster Canada, and Simon & Schuster UK. The deal marks the first time the bestselling author’s books will be published globally by one publisher. Simultaneous audio editions of the two novels will be released by Simon & Schuster Audio.

The first novel, A Conspiracy of Bones and Blood, to be published in March 2020, marks the return of Reichs’ popular heroine forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan. In this chilling tale, Tempe must use all her tradecraft to discover the identity of a faceless corpse, its connection to a decade-old missing child case, and why the dead man had her cell phone number. A Conspiracy of Bones and Blood will be the 19th installment in the Temperance Brennan series.

“I’m excited that my new Tempe Brennan novels will be published around the world by the Simon & Schuster publishing group,” said Kathy Reichs. “And I am delighted to be returning to Scribner, my first and longtime publishing house.”

“We could not be more thrilled for the opportunity to publish Kathy Reichs at all our Simon & Schuster companies around the world,” said Carolyn Reidy, President and Chief Executive Officer of Simon & Schuster, Inc. “We know that hers is a truly global audience, that there are Temperance Brennan fans in every corner of the world who eagerly await her next adventure, and that by putting a worldwide Simon & Schuster publishing effort behind her we will be able to help yet more readers discover the particular pleasures of reading Kathy Reichs.”

“The return to Scribner of Kathy Reichs and her inimitable Temperance Brennan is a glorious homecoming,” said Nan Graham, Senior Vice President and Publisher of Scribner. “We started publishing Kathy two decades ago with her #1 bestselling Deja Dead, years before the hit FOX series “Bones” was developed, and we are thrilled to be publishing her books again with A Conspiracy of Bones and Blood in spring 2020.”

A highly regarded forensic anthropologist, Kathy Reichs is one of only 100 forensic anthropologists ever certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. She served on the Board of Directors and as Vice President of both the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. She divides her time between Charlotte, North Carolina and Montreal, Québec.

World and audio rights were acquired by Nan Graham, Ian Chapman, CEO of Simon & Schuster UK and Commonwealth, and Kevin Hanson, President of Simon & Schuster Canada, from Deneen Howell of Williams & Connolly. Reichs is also enormously popular in translation, and Scribner will be handling foreign rights.

Scribner is an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc., a part of CBS Corporation, a global leader in general interest publishing, dedicated to providing the best in fiction and nonfiction for readers of all ages, and in all printed, digital and audio formats. Its distinguished roster of authors includes many of the world’s most popular and widely recognized writers, and winners of the most prestigious literary honors and awards. It is home to numerous well-known imprints and divisions such as Simon & Schuster, Scribner, Atria Books, Gallery Books, Pocket Books, Adams Media, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing and Simon & Schuster Audio and international companies in Australia, Canada, India and the United Kingdom, and proudly brings the works of its authors to readers in more than 200 countries and territories. For more information visit our website at

Dagger to the Heart by Alex P. Berg

Reading and reviewing the stories in Eight in the Chamber anthology.  Reviewing book #1.

Title: Dagger to the Heart
Author: Alex P. Berg
Series:  Daggers and Steele #0
Publish Date:  December 10, 2017
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source:  purchased by reviewer in Anthology, Eight in the Chamber

Publisher’s Description:  Detective Jake Daggers prefers his barbecue blackened, but with a serial arsonist on the loose, it’s the city’s murder victims coming in crispy. With the body count rising and fires burning across town, will the case get too hot to handle? Find out in this heart-wrenching prequel novella to the Daggers & Steele series.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words …SPOILERS. *BEWARE*

Nervous Nellie says…

I started this anthology because it had been on my TBR list for quite awhile and decided that now was the time.  I am in the middle of book #2, Cold Hard Steele after finishing Red Hot Steele a few days ago.

This series takes place in an alternate universe that sort of parallels ours except for there being fantasy creatures part of the general population.  Eleven folks, Ogres, Sprites…you get the idea.  The time feels less like now and more like decades ago, as transportation is by rickshaw as horses have been banned, weapons only exist as far as spears, a nightstick named Daisy, and magic.  Equal rights are not to be had as the female population is featured similarly as a 1950’s version.

I have read the books as well as listened to the audio books.  I prefer the written word more than the spoken.  Alex P. Berg narrates his own books which I’m not sure how a feel about.  The narrator makes Jake a lot more stupid than when I read the book, hence the preference. The protagonist, Jake Daggers, is a real chauvanist and has a seriously misplaced ego.  For a 10 year veteran of detective work, I’m not sure he can get out of bed without hurting himself!  That means he’s a dumbass.

In this prequel novella, I got a taste of how Griggs and Daggers worked together.  Steele isn’t in the picture yet.  It also spotlighted Daggers total lack of consideration for his wife and child.  He’s a drunk.  He’s blaming his bad fortune on others.  He has a mystery to solve (and I really think he lucked out with this mystery because he cannot function well without Steele) that involves arsons and murders.  The ending was suitable for a novella.  It had to end as it did because…well, novella.

With all that being said, I enjoy Daggers and Steele (as long as I read it as Daggers is too stupid for belief in the audio version) and I liked the prequel.  It gave me more of a world building look with a touch of how Jake Daggers became the Jake Daggers in book #1 and #2 (so far).

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Series Spotlight: Esther Diamond (audio) by Laura Resnick

Laura Resnick (author) and GraphicAudio have teamed up to create the Esther Diamond series audios, and it’s a fantastic pairing! If you like full-production audiobooks, you don’t want to miss this series!

I am so excited about the Esther Diamond series’ audiobooks being produced by GraphicAudio! They are fantastic. Try it out for yourself with this sample.

I’m gonna break this Series Spotlight down into two sections: one to talk about the series and one to talk about the audio production because they both deserve their own spotlight.


Esther Diamond is a struggling New York actress. While working on an off-broadway play as a chorus nymph and understudy to the female lead, the lead actress disappears.

Enter Maximillian Zadok, a 350-year-old wizard, stationed in New York by the Magnum Collegium to fight mystical evil. Max implores Esther not to take up her understudy duties for fear she will go missing, too. Once Max convinces Esther that there is mystical evil afoot, Esther rushes to help Max find and stop the culprit before she becomes the next victim.

Meanwhile, the lead actress’s disappearance is also being investigated by Detective Connor Lopez, a sexy Latino with blue Irish eyes. Lopez finds Esther intriguing and would like to get to know her better. Unfortunately, Lopez doesn’t believe in mystical evil, even though Esther’s tried to tell him that it exists. While he is strongly drawn to Esther, he fears she’s unstable, dangerous, and possibly felonious. Their involvement complicates his life and jeopardizes his job, but he has trouble staying away.

During their adventures, Esther, Max, and a number of their friends encounter evil sorcerers, demons, voodoo loa, zombies, vampires, spirits, cursed objects, missing corpses, mob hit men, death omens, drag queens, entitled young adults, harried production assistants, and narcissistic actors. The mysteries are intriguing and well written, but I think it’s the main characters that really shine in the series. They are complex and layered, unique and intriguing, each with their own secrets that are slowly revealed over time.

This series has magic, mystery, and adventure, but it also has humor, friendship, and relationship tension (not everything is rosy in this romance) that builds with each book. It’s more glossy than gritty, on the lighter side of urban fantasy, but the protagonists have depth, and it’s easy to care about them. I highly recommend the series for a fun urban fantasy read.

If you’re not an audiobook fan, you can find the Esther Diamond series in digital and print formats at your favorite online retailer.

Audio Production

I’ve mentioned on this blog before how awesome I think GraphicAudio is. They make audiobooks into full-production masterpieces. They’re essentially radio-plays, for those of us who are old enough to have heard of those. There is a full cast of characters, so the voices are all different and the “he said” and “she said” of regular audiobooks aren’t needed. There’s music and sound effects in all the right places, which enhance the story greatly. As a big fan of audiobooks, I absolutely adore these productions. They are just so much fun!

Graphic Audio did a FANTASTIC job with the Esther Diamond series. I cannot imagine a better casting of voices, especially Colleen Delany as Esther Diamond, Thomas Keegan as Detective Connor Lopez, Bob Payne as Maximillian Zadok, and Tim Carlin as Lucky Battistuzzi. The voice  acting is fantastic and really conveys the character personalities and emotional content of the story. The GraphicAudio actors bring each character completely to life in a way that only the very best voice actors can in regular audiobooks.

The background music and sound effects add such depth and dimension to the story that you really do feel as if you are listening to a movie. It’s that much easier to feel the tension of being stalked when you can hear the footsteps behind you, or to visualize a street fight when you can hear the impact of fists, the grunts of the combatants, and the splash of blood on pavement.

I don’t think I’m capable of expressing just how emotionally involved I feel when listening to GraphicAudio productions. It is an amazing medium for some genres, and I really encourage authors, particularly indie sci-fi and fantasy authors, to consider GraphicAudio for their books before any other audiobook company. Your listeners will experience a much richer version of your creation than I think you’ll find elsewhere.

A rich creation is exactly how I’d describe the Esther Diamond series on GraphicAudio. Five stars for this superb production.

You might also like:

GraphicAudio boasts a number of sci-fi and fantasy series by well-known authors such as Piers Anthony, Stephen Blackmoore, Peter David, Alan Dean Foster, Simon R. Green, Charlaine Harris, Jim C. Hines, Cherie Priest, Stephen Lawhead, Kelly McCullough, Ari Marmell, Elizabeth Moon, Michael Moorcock, Lilith Saintcrow, R.A. Salvatore, Brandon Sanderson, Michael J. Sullivan, Brent Weeks, and Eileen Wilks. They also have a number of audio adaptations of both Marvel and DC comics.

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