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Lipstick Voodoo by Kristi Charish

Kincaid Strange is back.  She’s made a deal with the devil (or is he?) and her best friend is a zombie.  How could things get any “Stranger?”

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Title:  Lipstick Voodoo
Author:  Kristi Charish
Series:  Kincaid Strange #2
Publish Date:  January 8, 2019, by Penguin Random House
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
NarratorSusannah Jones
Source:  Author provided ARC/audiobook purchased

Publisher’s Description: 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…

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


Nervous Nellie says…

The reason I butted heads with most women?  There is only so much I’m able to feed into the circle of bullshit. I think it is disruptive, not for Sarah and Lee—I figure they’re more like me in that regard—but for the ones who rely on group validation. Those kinds of friendships require an awful lot of bullshit, and people don’t like other people pointing out their bullshit, especially when that person ends up being me.

This is a book with zombies, ghosts, and a whole lot of Otherside. There is no graphic gore, no sex, and a conclusion to the book that is satisfying. It was a good ending—not “happy,” but a good, satisfying ending.

I love Kristi Charish’s writing. She first caught me with Kincaid Strange and then encouraged me with Adventures of Owl series. Now, I’m back into Kincaid’s world. I am not hard to please as a reader. If I’m entertained and the writing took me on a ride, then I’m happy. I’m over the moon with this book. I forgot how much I missed Kincaid and Nathan.

What a mess they have found themselves. Nathan is bound in a body making him an accidental zombie. The body was supposed to go to a centuries-old sorcerer’s ghost so he could make himself a zombie. Crap. Tick off a sorcerer and Kincaid might as well write off her right to life.

That’s just the beginning. Yes, that’s right. Just the beginning. Kincaid is out of work because of the police captain’s penchant for non-believing. He is making it his personal goal to wreak havoc on Kincaid’s life because he believes she is fake.

So, lets count it off. 1. Kincaid is in debt with a seriously deranged and evil sorcerer’s ghost. 2. Said ghost is gonna want his debt paid whether it be by her life or whatever he deems. 3. She hasn’t told said ghost that her best friend “accidentally” inhabits the body that was supposed to go to said ghost, which may or may not cause him a gigantic psychopathic break which could result in everybody getting dead. 4. Kincaid has to pay the bills, so she takes on a cold case on the possible promise of a job in the future. 5. The cold case is really quite hot. Oh crap. Kincaid has a LOT on her plate.

I loved this book. It kept me in suspense with no guessing how things would turn out. The situation Kincaid was in just kept getting messier and messier until all of a sudden it became clear. Charish’s narration from Kincaid’s point of view was great. I felt like I was sitting right there with Kincaid as she went through the ups and downs. The race was a close one. Too close to call but this book was a blockbuster for sure. 5 stars all day and all night. Good book – you won’t be disappointed.

Oh, and head’s up:  Voodoo Shanghai, Kincaid Strange #3, will be out next year, same time, same station.  Can’t wait!!

Invested Ivana says…

Lipstick Voodo is as much of an enjoyably wild ride as it’s predecessor! The mystery is so well-crafted in both of the books, and the characters are relatable and likable. The sorcerer’s character defied expectations by being more rational and likable than I expected after the first book–which makes me wonder if he’s putting on an act. I guess we’ll see in future books.

The first scene in the book, which depicts an ordinary job for zombie-whisperer Kincaid Strange, is very well written and touching. It gives the reader a good sense of Kincaid’s relationship with the dead as well as what her typical work is like. This contrasts wildly with the extraordinary experiences that serve as the main plot of the book.

The Kincaid Strange series is an excellent example of urban fantasy at its finest, and I can’t wait to see what further adventures await.

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

…you might try The Adventures of Owl by Kristi Charish or Eric Carter series by Stephen Blackmoore.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

 

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Love and Other Wild Things by Molly Harper

Another visit to Mystic Bayou that can’t be missed.  This time Zed will be the one that’s on the hunt instead of Bael.  Can the easy teddy bear be broke to lead?  Also, some mysteries about the rift.  Can they fix it?

Title:  Love and Other Wild Things
Author:  Molly Harper
Series:  Mystic Bayou #2
Publish Date: September 4, 2018
Narrators: Jonathan Davis, Amanda Ronconi 
Source: purchased by reviewer

Publisher’s Description:  Available in audio first, this hot, hilarious stand-alone will keep you wildly entertained!
Welcome to Mystic Bayou, a tiny town hidden in the swamp where shape-shifters, vampires, witches, and dragons live alongside humans. The town formed around the mysterious energy rift in the bayou, which helps keep the town’s magic in balance. But lately the rift has been widening and destabilizing – threatening to send the town’s magical population into chaos.

Energy witch Danica Teel has been sent by the League to figure out what’s going on, with the help of bear-shifter Mayor Zed. While working on the case, Zed falls head over paws for Dani, but she’s reluctant to engage in anything beyond a roll in his cave. Dani’s family is counting on her to get the job done, and she has no time for distractions. But when an ominous presence begins stalking Dani through the bayou, they’ll need to band together to make it out alive.

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


Nervous Nellie says…

This book does have sex, but not a lot.  It also has a murder mystery running rampant in Mystic Bayou…again!  There is cussing and pie.  Can’t forget the pie.

The best part of this whole book was listening to Zed’s voice.  Jonathan Davis was spot on.  The easy going cadence that is Zed fit perfectly.  Bael and Jillian make appearances as well as a lot of the rest of the town.

The research on the rift is necessary though a lot of the townsfolk aren’t sure they like the intrusion.  Unknown people everywhere all up in their business doesn’t sit well with creatures that have kept secrets for centuries.  Of course, Bael is still disowned, but who cares.  He’s happy.  Jillian’s happy.  Now, let’s make Zed happy.  And then there is Zed’s mama bear.  Yep, there is someone for her too.  It’s all very exciting!!

Our reviews in this series…

 

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Night and Silence by Seanan McGuire

After twelve books, or sooner, many series start losing steam or going off in bizarre directions that make readers lose interest. But while reading the latest October Daye tale, I kept thinking that, even though the major plot event was superficially the same as in a previous book, McGuire has a way of building tale upon tale so that every installment is new, fresh, exciting, and leaves me sad the next book is a year away.

Title: Night and Silence
Author: Seanan McGuire
Series: October Daye
Publish Date: September 4th, 2018, by DAW
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Narrator: Mary Robinette Kowal
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionThings are not okay.

In the aftermath of Amandine’s latest betrayal, October “Toby” Daye’s fragile self-made family is on the verge of coming apart at the seams. Jazz can’t sleep, Sylvester doesn’t want to see her, and worst of all, Tybalt has withdrawn from her entirely, retreating into the Court of Cats as he tries to recover from his abduction. Toby is floundering, unable to help the people she loves most heal. She needs a distraction. She needs a quest.

What she doesn’t need is the abduction of her estranged human daughter, Gillian. What she doesn’t need is to be accused of kidnapping her own child by her ex-boyfriend and his new wife, who seems to be harboring secrets of her own. There’s no question of whether she’ll take the case. The only question is whether she’s emotionally prepared to survive it.

Signs of Faerie’s involvement are everywhere, and it’s going to take all Toby’s nerve and all her allies to get her through this web of old secrets, older hatreds, and new deceits. If she can’t find Gillian before time runs out, her own child will pay the price. One question remains:

Who in Faerie remembered Gillian existed? And what do they stand to gain? No matter how this ends, Toby’s life will never be the same.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Invested Ivana says…

The best series in book, television, movie, or game form are more than just a string of individual adventures. Each installment builds on the previous one, expanding the world, deepening our understanding of and investment in it, and dealing with the consequences of our characters’ previous actions.

The October Day series is one of the best examples of this type of series. Each book brings us new characters (without ignoring the characters we already know and love), reveals more history, and uncovers more secrets. It’s like the “fog of war” in a video game, but instead of revealing the map, it’s revealing history—history that is connected to actions, characters, and events in previous books.

I kept returning to that thought as I read Night and Silence—at how amazing it is that McGuire keeps calling on what we know of the history of October’s world and experience to inform what happens in each book. And how it never feels old or stale to me. It feels like a natural progression.

Occasionally, a seemingly-random piece of new information is introduced, such as Gillian’s step-mother’s history. But it fits so well into the world that you wonder just how random it is, or if the author planned for it all along. Those are the big surprises that can throw the plot into completely new directions and open up a whole new “can of worms” and the potential for new stories.

I’m very excited by the potential future stories made possible by the end of Night and Silence. We’ll get to see a whole new side of October and invest in a completely new character. I also feel like we’re witnessing the emergence of a “new generation” (in a manner of speaking) of influential persons in Faerie that might be leading toward major societal changes.

Or I could be projecting my own hopes for our world onto October’s.

In any case, Night and Silence is yet another fabulous installment in the October Daye series that pulls on history and consequence to keep me interested and invested. 5 stars.

Other recommendations…

The October Daye series is certainly in the top tier of urban fantasy, along with the Dresden Files, the Iron Druid Chronicles, the Mercy Thompson series, the Otherworld series, the Hollows series, and the Novels of the Others. If you haven’t read any of these series, I’d suggest you do so at the first opportunity.

SEAL Strong by Cat Johnson

Second Chance love story.  Love ’em.  Grief and blame tear them apart but the Lt. Commander never gives up on love.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Title:  SEAL Strong
Author:  Cat Johnson
Series:  Silver SEALS #.05
Publish Date:  January 15, 2019
Genre: Military romance
Source:  ARC received from author

Publisher’s Description:  A Second Chance Romance

The only easy day was yesterday, and no one knows that better than Lieutenant Commander Silas Branson.

He may have taken several kicks to the gut but once a Seal always a Seal. He’s never backed down from a hard fight and he doesn’t intend to start now.

Silas lost the love of his life years ago but now he’s back to fight for what’s his.

Maggie was his woman. Despite their difficult past, as far as he is concerned, she is still his woman.

When her life is threatened he moves heaven and hell to protect her and the future he knows they can build together.

Don’t miss the Bone Frog Command’s origin story, the kick-off title to the Silver SEALs series, featuring standalone titles by the Suspense Sisters – Becky McGraw, Donna Michaels, Sharon Hamilton, Geri Foster, Kris Michaels, Abbie Zanders, Trish Loye, Caitlyn O’Leary, KaLyn Cooper, Maryann Jordan, Desiree Holt, J.M. Madden.

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


Nervous Nellie says…

The sirens, the smoke, the screams…Dante himself could have written the scene playing out in front of Silas when they arrived on the outskirts of the area that had been hit the hardest.

 

Wow. This is NOT a sweet (a romance that has no dark tendencies) romance. As the quote above reveals a trip to the “front lines” for our hero, if sweet is what you want, you might not choose this book.  However, I’m not always keen on sweet romances tending to lean more toward the more dark and realistic.

This is a short book, 150 pages. It was a nice afternoon read and it felt like a complete novel.  I didn’t feel slighted or feel like I missed out on key scenes.  Neither hero or heroine made a fool out of themselves.  There are sex scenes, but between husband and wife. There was grief involved in their story, but only enough revealed to be sure it was understood where the character’s feelings were coming from.  Of course there is a HEA, but I wouldn’t be reading it if there wasn’t.

I most likely would not have caught this series if it weren’t for Kris Michaels.  She is one of my favorite authors and is writing for this series.  What ever should I do while waiting for her book in the series to be released? Read the others of course!!  Here is the complete list of the series and release dates.

SEAL Strong by Cat Johnson

SEAL Love’s Legacy by Sharon Hamilton  to be released February 5, 2019

SEAL Together by Maryann Jordan  to be released February 26, 2019

SEAL of Fortune by Becky McGraw  to be released March 19, 2019

SEAL in Charge by Donna Michaels to be released April 9, 2019

SEAL in a Storm by KaLyn Cooper  to be released April 30, 2019

SEAL Forever by Kris Michaels  to be released May 21, 2019

SEAL Out of Water by Abbie Zanders  to be released June 11, 2019

Sign, SEAL and Deliver by Geri Foster  to be released June 25, 2019

SEAL Hard by J.M. Madden  to be released July 16, 2019

SEAL Undercover by Desiree Holt   to be released August 6, 2019

SEAL for Hire by Trish Loye  to be released August 27, 2019

SEAL at Sunrise by Caitlyn O’Leary  to be released September 17, 2019

 

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

 

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Nightwing, Vol. 1: Traps and Trapezes by Kyle Higgins

It’s a long convoluted story how DC started over and relaunched 52 titles, this being one of them. I won’t claim to understand it. I was drawn to it because it was starting over, with issue number one, and going forward. I knew that Dick Grayson, the original Robin, had moved on to being Nightwing decades ago. I hadn’t read a title until now.

Title: Nightwing, Vol. 1: Traps and Trapezes
Author: Kyle Higgins and illustrators
Series: Nightwing (2011)
Publish Date: October 1st, 2012 by DC Comics
Genre: graphic novel, superhero
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: As a part of the acclaimed DC Comics – The New 52 event of September 2011, Dick Grayson flies high once more as Nightwing in a new series from hot new writer Kyle Higgins (BATMAN: GATES OF GOTHAM) and artist Eddy Barrows (SUPERMAN)!

Haley’s Circus, the big top where Dick once performed, makes a stop on its tour in Gotham City – bringing with it murder, mystery, and superhuman evil. To uncover more clues as to why a mysterious assassin is targetting him, Nightwing joins the circus’s tour. But as Dick becomes reacquainted with the big top he once called home, he learns there are darker secrets to be discovered.

Collects NIGHTWING #1-7.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Percy Procrastinator says…

This blew me away.  It was just that good.  It moves things forward in Dick’s life while taking a step back and looking at his past, where he came from, and those he left behind. It starts with a murder, and soon Dick finds that he has inherited the circus where his parents worked. While trying to figure out that murder, it turns out there is more going on than he thought.

The circus was more than a traveling entertainment venue. It has hidden secrets for over a century! And as Dick Grayson digs deeper, it brings up memories and forces him to look at things in a new way.

This was a great story that could only work with Nightwing and how it dealt with his past. It felt like a mystery for him and served the story well. The art was clean and there are some good appearances by others that fit without overshadowing Dick’s own story.

I highly recommend this. 5 stars

Other New 52 reviews…

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