Book Review: Savage Season (Hap and Leonard #1) by Joe R. Lansdale

A rip-roaring, high-octane, Texas-sized thriller, featuring two friends, one vixen, a crew of washed-up radicals, loads of money, and bloody mayhem.Hap Collins and Leonard Pine are best friends, yet they couldn’t be more different. Hap is an east Texas white-boy with a weakness for Texas women. Leonard is a gay, black Vietnam vet. Together, they steer up more commotion than a fire storm. But that’s just the way they like it. So when an ex-flame of Hap’s returns promising a huge score. Hap lets Leonard in on the scam, and that’s when things get interesting. Chockfull of action and laughs, Savage Season is the masterpiece of dark suspense that introduced Hap and Leonard to the thriller scene. It hasn’t been the same since.

I became interested in Hap & Leonoard when James Purefoy signed on for the new TV series. I admit this is not usually a book I would have picked up on my own, without something to prompt me. With that said I am so glad that I did pick it up because this is a fantastic book! It is very fast paced and the things that Hap and Leonard get into, oh you can’t help but think of it as a comedy of errors sometimes. They may be best friends but they bicker like an old married couple and they really are polar opposites. I am looking forward to going forward with the series both book and TV. The book really is fantastic and gave me a lot of laughs. It filled in more details for me after watching the series, and I can appreciate that. Hap, oh all I can do with some of the things he does is shake my head his name seems to suit.

My Gemstone Rating:

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Book Review: Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander #2) by Diana Gabaldon

For nearly twenty years Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to Scotland’s majestic mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as stunning as the events that gave it birth: about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones… about a love that transcends the boundaries of time… and about Jamie Fraser, a Scottish warrior whose gallantry once drew a young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his.

Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful copper-haired daughter, Brianna, as Claire’s spellbinding journey of self-discovery continues in the intrigue-ridden Paris court of Charles Stuart… in a race to thwart a doomed Highlands uprising… and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves

This book really is a great read, it also breaks your heart more then once. As the seasons of Outlander play, I have been rereading as the seasons come and I forgot how much I loved these books. Dragonfly in Amber is a new adventure and we get to spend a great deal of time with the beautiful and feisty Brianna. I always have a bit of a smile when I think of her, Jamie and Calire are both super stubborn in their own rights, mix the blood together and you get a girl who wants to do all of her own things no matter what anyone says.

Better yet we spend time in Paris, as Claire and Jamie have to work through the intrigue of court life. Trying to put off what happens at Culloden. If you are a fan of the show you should enjoy the books as well, the source material is great. If you have read the books it’s time to jump in once more for fun. Dragonfly in Amber is a stunning part of the series and great as a standalone as well.

My Gemstone Rating:

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Book review: The Magicians (The Magicians, #1) by Lev Grossman

Like everyone else, precocious high school senior Quentin Coldwater assumes that magic isn’t real, until he finds himself admitted to a very secretive and exclusive college of magic in upstate New York. There he indulges in joys of college-friendship, love, sex, and booze- and receives a rigorous education in modern sorcery. But magic doesn’t bring the happiness and adventure Quentin thought it would. After graduation, he and his friends stumble upon a secret that sets them on a remarkable journey that may just fulfill Quentin’s yearning. But their journey turns out to be darker and more dangerous than they’d imagined

The Magicians is a book that will make you believe in magic. I enjoyed every single page of this book from start to finish. With that said, there are some who claim this book is misogynistic and a variety of other things. It might be on some level, however if we didn’t enjoy things just because they had some characters and topics we didn’t like not likely we would get a lot of reading done. Yes there are some misogynistic characters, there is also sex, drug and crime. For me that is what made the book entertaining, interesting and what held my attention.

This is NOT an adult version of Harry Potter like some say, but it does have magic and a world that is different from ours within it’s pages. It also has a Syfy series now that has been based on it. I find the two to be fairly different, the series for me is a bit tamer. I for one enjoyed The Magicians and might even read it a second time (those who know me know what a big deal that is), but it is not going to be a book for everyone. If you want an Adult Harry Potter head on over to The Dresden files, main character is even named Harry.

My Gemstone Rating:

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Book Review: Cerulean Sins (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #11) (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #11) by Laurell K. Hamilton

A book review of:

Cerulean Sins, the eleventh entry in the hugely-popular Anita Blake series, finds everyone’s favorite vampire hunter keeping house and kicking butt.

Anita Blake is trying to get her life back to “normal” after a break-up with her werewolf lover. She has settled into a pattern of domesticity, which means that the new man in her life, the leopard shapeshifter Micah, has no problem sharing her with Jean-Claude, Master Vampire of the City. Things are as peaceful as they ever get for someone who raises the dead, when Jean-Claude receives an unexpected and unwelcome visitor: Musette, the very beautiful, very twisted representative of the European Council of Vampires. Anita soon finds herself caught up in a dangerous game of vampire power politics.

To add to her troubles, she is asked to consult on a series of brutal killings, which seem to be the work of something un-human. The investigation leads her to Cerulean Sins, a vampire-run establishment that deals in erotic videos, videos that cater to very specific tastes. Anita knows one creature of the night who has such interests — Jean-Claude’s visitor. But if Anita brings Musette down, the repercussions could cost her everything she holds dear.

Once a sworn enemy of all monsters, Anita is now the human consort of both Master Vampire Jean Claude and leopard shapeshifter Micah. When a centuries-old vampire hits St. Louis, Anita finds herself needing all the dark forces her passion can muster to save the ones she loves.

Anita Blake returns to find hell hath no fury like a vampire scorned.

Back into the world of Anita Blake and I am sadly starting to ask myself why I am still reading. It is not that the book is completely bad, it isn’t, but there is starting to be a pretty clear pattern emerging and I am left wanting to smack Anita when I am reading and when I sit down to write my book review.

We once again have an ubber strong vampire visiting from out of town, who wants to control Anita and surprise, surprise tests her knowing full well how she is going to react anyways. Anita of course pisses off super bad vampire and breaks rules, funny super bad vampire broke rules anyways. Anita sleeps with some more people, and then has a boo hoo fit over it. Also, she still won’t let the multiple boyfriends be with anyone else. Hypocrite much?

So the basic theme of this book is vampire violence and a lot of sex. I am not a prude or really one who minds violence in books, but at this point it is becoming repetitive and Anita needs to grow up. So why three stars instead of less? Asher is what saved this book for me from getting totally bombed and being a DNF, I have loved Asher since he first showed up in the series and getting to finally know a little bit more about him and his story made me feel better. I still wanted to slap Anita for not allowing Jean Claude to be with Asher since she has a billion boy toys, but Asher really has my heart at this point. So if I am reading further into the series after this book review, it will be because of him and not so much Anita. Unless we get our kicking ass and taking names girl back.

My Gemstone Rating:

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Book Review: The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Cleopatra, the #1 national bestseller, unpacks the mystery of the Salem Witch Trials.

It began in 1692, over an exceptionally raw Massachusetts winter, when a minister’s daughter began to scream and convulse. It ended less than a year later, but not before 19 men and women had been hanged and an elderly man crushed to death.

The panic spread quickly, involving the most educated men and prominent politicians in the colony. Neighbors accused neighbors, parents and children each other. Aside from suffrage, the Salem Witch Trials represent the only moment when women played the central role in American history. In curious ways, the trials would shape the future republic.

As psychologically thrilling as it is historically seminal, THE WITCHES is Stacy Schiff’s account of this fantastical story-the first great American mystery unveiled fully for the first time by one of our most acclaimed historian

I know non-fiction books can be dryer then fiction but this one is just something else. The author is acclaimed and many people loved her Cleopatra book but this is just way to dry. I hate that because the Salem Witch trials are a fantastic time to write about. This book was a slog from page one to page end. It had a fair amount of good details but everything was just so flat and dry history does not have to be that way.

The worst part of it for me I think was that while she gave good facts but everything was just left not connected and details that would have been interesting were cut. It feels like the author just cut all the good juicy meat off the bone and left the leanest most boring cut to be read. Not the worst book ever but it is a massive slog. You have to really be dedicated to make it through.

My Gemstone Rating:

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Book Review: Turn Coat (The Dresden Files #11) by Jim Butcher

When it comes to the magical ruling body known as the White Council, Harry keeps his nose clean and his head down. For years, the Council has held a death mark over Harry’s head. He’s still thought of as a black sheep by some and as a sacrificial lamb by others. But none regard him with more suspicion and disdain than Morgan, a veteran Warden with a grudge against anyone who bends the rules.

Like Harry.

So when Morgan turns up asking for help, Harry isn’t exactly eager to leap into action. Morgan has been accused of treason against the White Council, and there’s only one final punishment for that crime. He’s on the run, he wants his name cleared, and he needs someone with a knack for backing the underdog.

Like Harry.

Now Harry must uncover a traitor within the Council, keep a less than agreeable Morgan under wraps, and avoid coming under scrutiny himself. And a single mistake may cost someone his head.

Like Harry…

This many books into a series you expect to see stories being reused or that the books will just start to be lack luster overall. That is not the case with Harry at all! Once again we get a big delivery with a fresh story and new twists that I can say had my mouth hanging open. Not only that but by the end of this one, I had a respect for Morgan I did not before.

As a reader I disliked Morgan because of his dislike of Harry, but this explained a lot more to us as well. The action in this one is great and Harry is running around being Harry. I love this book. Another win for the Dresden files I highly reccomend Turn Coat.

My Gemstone Rating:

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Book Review: Small Favor (The Dresden Files #10) by Jim Butcher

The new novel in the New York Times bestselling Dresden Files series. No one’s tried to kill Harry Dresden for almost an entire year, and his life finally seems to be calming down. For once, the future looks fairly bright. But the past casts one hell of a long shadow. An old bargain has placed Harry in debt to Mab, monarch of the Winter Court of the Sidhe, the Queen of Air and Darkness-and she’s calling in her marker. It’s a small favor he can’t refuse…one that will trap Harry Dresden between a nightmarish foe and an equally deadly ally, and one that will strain his skills-and loyalties-to their very limits. It figures. Everything was going too well to last..

So it has been almost a year since Harry Dresden was in a life or death struggle this must be some kind of record for him! Of course nothing can ever stay simple in Harry’s life and soon enough Mab the Queen of air and darkness is calling it a marker on a debt he owes her that is of course when the book really gets good. This is now book number 10 and I can say none of the books in the Dresden files have been disappointing, small favor is action-packed and full of a lot of different things that we all love about Harry. You would think by now that some of the stories would start to be reused it is after all book 10 and other authors have been known to use it. Period. I won’t say who the are though.

There were times in small favor where I thought Harry might’ve lost the plot for once it is Harry and he has been taking on a lot in the last several years. However he goes on to prove once again why he is my favorite wizard for higher even going so far this time to help in destroying an aquarium. Yes an aquarium to be fair the bad guys started it as they usually do. Overall a solid book and a great read that kept me entertained and well connected to the series well done Jim Butcher!

My Gemstone Rating:

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