Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Denise Swanson's Scrumble River Series

Skye Denison has returned to the town of Scrumble River to serve as a school psychologist.  At one time, she escaped this small town to find a bigger and better life in the city.  That plan having fallen short, Skye finds herself back in a town where the red lights are few and far between and the gossip is always ripe for the picking.  Readers can easily relate to the difficulties Skye faces as she returns home and tries to make a new life for herself under the watchful eye of her parents and local townspeople.  Denise Swanson, the author of the Scrumble River series, has provided her main character (Skye) with a unique position to be involved in a number of fascinating mysteries.  Through her constant interaction with parents, kids, and the powers-that-be in Scrumble River, it becomes inevitable that Skye will play a role in any unseemly events that befall the town.  In addition to excellent story lines, Swanson also provides consistent character development throughout the series.  The first book leads the reader into an emotional roller coaster of sorts as Skye faces the barriers of small town politics during her efforts to help students.  Each book demonstrates the increasing impact that this dedicated school psychologist has on the citizenry of Scrumble River.  Suffice to say, this series is not just a one hit wonder by any means.  In fact, Ms. Swanson is working on book #15 in this likeable series.  If that's not proof of an author consistently keeping her readers happy, then I do not know what is! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ink Flamingos (A Tattoo Shop Mystery) by Karen E. Olson

Rather than summarize Ink Flamingos by Karen E. Olson (which co-blogger Tessa has already done here) I am just going to go right into my review.

Ink Flamingos has a great story line and Karen E. Olson does a fantastic job of keeping the reader in suspense. Brett’s emotional state in Ink Flamingos, as well as her confusion as to why she is being stalked is well written. I really enjoy this series. That was until I found out Ink Flamingos was the
last book in the Tattoo Shop Mystery series.

I first thought the rumor of the end of the series could not be true. A Tattoo Shop Mystery series is only four books long! Karen wouldn’t do that to me! So I frantically went to Karen Olson’s blog were she confirms the end of the series. When I read that she was “done with the series” frankly, I was
pissed.  How can she hook me with wonderful characters and imagery just to release me?  Karen, catch and release is cruel!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Karen E. Olson's Ink Flamingos (Tattoo Shop Mystery #4)

I just finished what I have learned is the final Tattoo Shop Mystery by Karen E. Olson.  Though this is certainly sad news to those of us here at The Reading Grove, the series certainly ended on a high note.  Brett Kavanaugh owns "The Painted Lady," an upscale tattoo shop in Las Vegas known for its custom ink.  In Ink Flamingos, Brett is pulled into yet another murder mystery.  This time the victim is one of her customers and the key suspect is a redhead tattoo artist, which happens to describe Brett.  Though the series is categorized as a "cozy" mystery, this book is certainly filled with very dark undertones.  It is a serious mystery with a lot at stake for one of my favorite main characters.  Someone is stalking Brett and trying to frame her for murder.  Olson does a great job with character development as the book progresses and the readers witnesses a normally strong main character begin to unravel as she loses more and more control over her life.  Thankfully the same cast of quirky characters that we have come to love in this series step in to keep her afloat until the mystery is solved.  Chief among them is fellow tattoo artist and former marine Jeff, who helps Brett keep a sense of humor during some rather stressful times.  Olson provides the readers to new insights into Brett's personal relationships, along with a special public service announcement of the dangers of absinthe.  Though not entirely unpredictable (there are enough lose ends to tie up that you could not anticipate every angle), this is by far my favorite of the four tattoo shop mysteries.  It made me all the more disappointed that readers now have to say goodbye to Brett and her friends at The Painted Lady.        

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Night Huntress Series by Jeaniene Frost

The Night Huntress Series features Cat who is half vampire-half human.  She was born to a mother who was raped by a newly turned vampire.  Cat's sole purpose in life is to avenge her mother's rape and kill all those evil blood suckers.  On one of the nightly hunts for vampires Cat meets Bones.  Bones is a vampire bounty hunter and recruits Cat to help him bring down the unruly undead.

The Night Huntress Series was on my wish list for quite a long time. Boy was that a mistake.  I should have started this series a long time ago.  There are currently five books in this series, Halfway to the Grave, One Foot in the Grave, At Graves End, Destined for an Early Grave, and This Side of the Grave.  Once I started the series I couldn't put it down.  I was able to read one right after the other.  All the characters in the Night Huntress Series are brilliant.  There is even an appearance from Vlad the Impaler.  I am impatiently awaiting One Grave at a Time due out August 30, 2011. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

New Poll: Creature Feature

There are so many great authors currently writing urban fantasy novels and paranormal mysteries. Whether you are a fan of vampire, ghosts, or zombies, there is something for you gracing the shelves of every bookstore. A glimpse at popular television confirms this interest in creature features, with shows like True Blood, Vampire Diaries, and Teen Wolf. Our question is – What is your favorite creature featured in books? Take our poll at the bottom of the page.  Don’t see your fave supernatural being? Leave us a comment!