Review: Obsession in Death by J.D. Robb

obsession in death by jd robbFormat read: print ARC provided by the publisher
Formats available: ebook, hardcover, audiobook
Genre: mystery
Series: In Death, #40
Length: 405 pages
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Date Released: February 10, 2015
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository

Eve Dallas has solved a lot of high-profile murders for the NYPSD and gotten a lot of media. She—and her billionaire husband—are getting accustomed to being objects of attention, of gossip, of speculation.

But now Eve has become the object of one person’s obsession. Someone who finds her extraordinary, and thinks about her every hour of every day. Who believes the two of them have a special relationship. Who would kill for her—again and again…

With a murderer reading meanings into her every move, handling this case will be a delicate—and dangerous—psychological dance. And Eve knows that underneath the worship and admiration, a terrible threat lies in wait. Because the beautiful lieutenant is not at all grateful for these bloody offerings from her “true and loyal friend.” And in time, idols always fall…

My Review:

The case that begins when Eve starts receiving dead bodies as presents from an unknown admirer is one of the best books in this series in a long time. It is a particularly marvelous story for long-term fans, as the case forces Eve to look back at all the people she has let into her life, both her friends and her enemies. The case gives her a chance to reflect on the woman she might have been, which adds extra chills and thrills to a fascinating and deadly case of hero worship, without taking too long a trip to the angst factory.

It’s not the first crime scene that chills Eve down to her boots, it’s the note that the murderer left on the scene, labeling the victim as an enemy of Eve’s struck down by her “true and loyal friend”. Anyone who really knows Eve would know that she wouldn’t want a dead body as a present. Eve stands for the dead, bringing justice to those who have been murdered. While she has killed in the line of duty and for self-preservation, she wouldn’t want someone else doing it for her, even if the victim deserved it.

Which this one didn’t. She wasn’t even a real enemy, just a high-priced defense attorney who did an excellent job for her clients, even if those clients were wealthy scumbags. She and Eve had faced off on a couple of cases, and while the attorney scored points in the media, Eve mostly won. Even if she had lost, Eve wouldn’t consider an enemy someone who was doing their job the way it was supposed to be done.

But the mash note at the scene is a sign that the killer, no matter how organized they were in committing the crime, is actually emotionally deranged. (Think of the guy who attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in order to “impress” actress Jodie Foster for a real life example.)

As the bodies left for Eve start to pile up, Eve and Dr. Mira work on a profile of the killer. Eve and several experts comb through all the “fan mail” that Eve has received over the years, looking for patterns and repeat correspondents.. Some of it is sweet, some of it is sexual, and a few bits are just plain sick. It turns out that there are quite a few people out there who think Eve would be their best friend ever (or more) if they just arranged to meet.

But some of the strange ones are sure that if Eve just got rid of all the people in the way, her best friend could finally get close to her. While Eve wants the killer to turn their attention from people who have crossed her over the years to Eve herself, Eve isn’t emotionally prepared to think about all the people in her life that she cares about who might become the killer’s next target.

As bad as Eve thinks it can get, and as much as she hates putting the lives of the people she loves and works with in danger, even Eve can’t quite manage to think her way into the mind of a killer who doesn’t care how big a body count she racks up in order to make Eve pay for not being the best bud that the killer thinks she should be.

When the killer drops Eve off that pedestal they’ve created, the killer wants to make sure that Eve goes out with as much collateral damage as possible when she crashes.

Escape Rating A-: I really enjoyed this one, and it was back on track as a mystery in a way that the last few books have not been, but it is definitely a story for long-time fans of the series. The killer’s motivations force Eve to take a look down memory lane at all the people who are now a part of her life, and that trip has much more resonance for people who have followed the series.

At the same time, the killer’s motivations, while chilling and made more personal if you know Eve, still track as something that makes (admittedly bad and deranged) sense. There have been real-life examples of people who kill or attempt to kill to gain the attention of some media star who they only think they have a relationship with. That Eve, in the context of her high-profile cases and her marriage to Roarke, would attract exactly this type of psychotic admirer is all too believable, which is what makes this story work so well.

Eve has a case to solve that touches on her personally and makes her feel just a bit guilty. Not that she has or hasn’t done anything to the killer, but that people are dying because of her and she can’t find who is doing it fast enough. She is putting the lives of the people she loves, and even those she just likes, into danger. And as the noose begins to tighten around the killer, Eve is even more guilt-ridden as they figure out that the murderer must be someone within the police department circle, either a cop or a clerk or someone at the morgue or the forensics lab. It’s a face that Eve has seen before and didn’t pick out of the crowd. Now that person has picked her out instead.

For long-term fans of the series, this one is a return to the under-pressure case solving that has made the series so much fun, while at the same time giving us more peeks into Eve’s life and the changes she has made. And we get to visit all the members of Eve’s “family” and see how everyone is doing.

Definitely a win.

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money or borrowed from a public library and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

15 for 15: My Most Anticipated Books for 2015


I took a look at last year’s list, and was surprised and pleased to discover that I read almost everything I was looking forward to, and even better, liked them! (I have the other two books, but just haven’t gotten a round tuit yet. This is what TBR piles are made of.)

It’s also hard not to miss the trend. The books I’m looking forward to are sequels to things I read last year or new pieces of ongoing series. It is difficult to anticipate something if you don’t know that it exists.

And even though these books aren’t being released until sometime in 2015, I already have arcs for a few of them, and have even read a couple. So far, the stuff I’m looking forward to is every bit as good as I’m hoping it will be.

Speaking of hopes, the dragon book is for Cass (Surprise, surprise!) She adored the first book in the series, liked the second one a lot, and has high hopes for the third one. Because, dragons.

So what books can’t you wait to see in 2015? 


Most anticipated in 2015:
Ancillary Mercy (Imperial Radch #3) by Ann Leckie
Dreaming Spies (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #13) by Laurie R. King
The End of All Things (Old Man’s War #6) by John Scalzi
Flask of the Drunken Master (Shinobi Mystery #3) by Susan Spann
The Invasion of the Tearling (Queen of the Tearling #2) by Erika Johansen
Last First Snow (Craft Sequence #4) by Max Gladstone
Madness in Solidar (Imager Portfolio #9) by L.E. Modesitt Jr.
Obsession in Death (In Death #40) by J.D. Robb
A Pattern of Lies (Bess Crawford #7) by Charles Todd
Pirate’s Alley (Sentinels of New Orleans #4) by Suzanne Johnson
Ryder: American Treasure (Ryder #2) by Nick Pengelley
Shards of Hope (Psy-Changeling #14) by Nalini Singh
The Talon of the Hawk (Twelve Kingdoms #3) by Jeffe Kennedy
The Terrans (First Salik War #1) by Jean Johnson
The Voyage of the Basilisk (Memoir by Lady Trent #3) by Marie Brennan

Review: Festive in Death by J.D. Robb

festive in death by jd robbFormat read: ebook borrowed from the library
Formats available: ebook, hardcover, large print paperback, audiobook
Genre: mystery
Series: In Death, #39
Length: 390 pages
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Date Released: September 9, 2014
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository

Personal trainer Trey Ziegler was in peak physical condition. If you didn’t count the kitchen knife in his well-toned chest.
Lieutenant Eve Dallas soon discovers a lineup of women who’d been loved and left by the narcissistic gym rat. While Dallas sorts through the list of Ziegler’s enemies, she’s also dealing with her Christmas shopping list—plus the guest list for her and her billionaire husband’s upcoming holiday bash.
Feeling less than festive, Dallas tries to put aside her distaste for the victim and solve the mystery of his death. There are just a few investigating days left before Christmas, and as New Year’s 2061 approaches, this homicide cop is resolved to stop a cold-blooded killer.

My Review:

I love this series, and every time I read one, I get a different answer as to why.

For one thing, Dallas’ version of deadpan snarker makes me laugh every single time. She has all the gallows humor of a career police officer, combined with a nearly complete lack of reference to what other people think is normal.

There’s a running gag in Festive in Death that cliches and proverbs make zero sense when analyzed. Which is true in every single example that comes up. And every time Eve tries to parse one out, she sends Roarke down a verbal rabbithole that drags him completely off his original topic. They are absolutely marvelous together.

A lot of this particular story is about family. For Eve and Roarke, the Christmas season is all about the “family you make”. Or in their case, watching the families that each of them has made continue to blend together into a single, slightly crazy, whole.

Their crazy-in-a-good-way but slightly dysfunctional family is contrasted directly with the family of two of the suspects in this episode’s murder-of-the-week.

At first, Eve isn’t sure that they ARE suspects. What is certain is that they were victims of the recently deceased scumbag, and that the way that he victimized them gives them and their families strong motives for murdering him.

This case was a bit different in that no one is mourning the dead jerk. Even Dallas is slightly conflicted; she’s not sorry he’s dead, at least partially because it robs her of the opportunity to lock him up for a couple of decades.

Trey Ziegler was a personal trainer who did not stick to his day job. He also fucked his clients for money and favors, which makes him a prostitute. In Eve’s version of the future, Licensed Companion is a profession, and yes, notice the licensed. Unlicensed selling of sex for money is still illegal. But Ziegler went two better (or worse). He used date-rape drugs to remove his clients’ inhibitions, and then he blackmailed them for having seemingly given in.

As I said, dead scumbag leaving plenty of victims with motives behind him.

Two of the many women he screwed over were sisters, which creeps both of them out. But even more scummy, he was also blackmailing one sister’s jerkwad husband over keeping a mistress using his rich wife’s money.

The problem that Eve has to solve is not who had motive and opportunity, or even who benefits (dead blackmailer lets lots of people off the hook), but whose applecart did the guy most threaten to upset?

In the middle of dealing with, and sometimes running away from, the biggest Christmas party that Eve and Roarke have ever hosted, Eve worries away at solving the crime. The person she wants to be the murderer is scummy, but may not quite be scummy enough.

It’s only when the killer claims a second victim that Eve finally puts it all together.

Escape Rating B+: I pored through this one until late in the night. It was just plain fun to read, and there were lots of laugh out loud moments.

But what I enjoyed was watching Eve and Roarke’s family celebrate the holidays. Eve is starting to see this very mixed gang of cops and corporate types as their family, and it’s a revelation for her. Also, as unsocialized as she sometimes is, seeing her see and feel that there are some things you just suck up because, well, family was a lot of growth that happens without going back to the angst-factory.

Eve’s intense dislike of parties, socializing and being the center of attention does not count as angst. It usually counts as funny.

obsession in death by jd robbI love these people, not just Eve and Roarke but the entire gang. I can’t wait to find out how they’re doing after Christmas in Obsession in Death.

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money or borrowed from a public library and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

Review: Concealed in Death by J D Robb

concealed in death by jd robbFormat read: ebook borrowed from the Library
Formats available: Hardcover, Paperback, audiobook, ebook
Genre: mystery, romantic suspense, futuristic
Series: In Death #38
Length: 416 pages
Publisher: Putnam
Date Released: February 18, 2014
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository

In a decrepit, long-empty New York building, Lieutenant Eve Dallas’s husband begins the demolition process by swinging a sledgehammer into a wall. When the dust clears, there are two skeletons wrapped in plastic behind it. He summons his wife immediately—and by the time she’s done with the crime scene, there are twelve murders to be solved.

The place once housed a makeshift shelter for troubled teenagers, back in the mid-2040s, and Eve tracks down the people who ran it. Between their recollections and the work of the force’s new forensic anthropologist, Eve begins to put names and faces to the remains. They are all young girls. A tattooed tough girl who dealt in illegal drugs. The runaway daughter of a pair of well-to-do doctors. They all had their stories. And they all lost their chance for a better life.

Then Eve discovers a connection between the victims and someone she knows. And she grows even more determined to reveal the secrets of the place that was called The Sanctuary—and the evil concealed in one human heart.

My Review:

Thankless in Death by J.D. RobbConcealed in Death was way more enjoyable than Thankless in Death. It was great to see the story from Eve and Roarke’s point of view, and NOT spend time in the mind of a scumbag killer. This one was old-school police procedural, and it was good to see the series back to its usual form.

This is almost a cold case story. The crime occurred 15 years in the past, and it has been hidden for all that time. But when Roarke breaks a wall and discovers the first (and second) of 12 wrapped bodies, the action is off to the races.

A big part of this case is the identification of the bodies–after 15 years in an abandoned building, all that’s left is the bones. Which means that Eve needs a forensic anthropologist to ID them for her. The new addition to the team, Dr. Garnet DeWinter, is accustomed to being the alpha female of her own team. Even though Garnet gets along well with Morris, she and Eve jostle against each other through the whole case. It’s fun to see Eve run up against another woman who will not subordinate herself to anyone but she can’t treat as an enemy.

One of the best parts of the story is that we learn more about Mavis; where she came from, what she was involved with before she and Eve became friends. There is a reason why Mavis and Eve bonded in spite of not just being opposites, but originally being on opposite sides of the law., and we get to see what makes them best friends, despite being so very different.

The cop shop parts of the story were often laugh out loud funny, as was Eve’s never-ending battle of wits with Summerset. I’m particularly fond of Galahad the cat, that big lazy moocher is just my kind of feline.

The case was interesting in that there wasn’t a true resolution. Even though the team did figure out who done it and why it was done, there wasn’t the kind of satisfactory punishment that readers, and Eve herself, want. It’s totally appropriate for this particular case, but it left me hungering for a nice, juicy trial, or a high-speed chase scene.

Escape Rating B+: There’s an aspect of Bones meets Dallas, but it was a great way of introducing a new character to the team. (Also DeWinter is way more socially ept than Temperance Brennan)

It was also good not to have either Eve or Roarke dealing with an overwhelming amount of angst; although the case does have resonance for both of them, it doesn’t send everyone into nightmares and depression. It was great to have a case be mostly just a case, and not a trip to the angst-factory.

Among the usual crew, this story focused on Mavis, and had some absolutely marvelous moments with Denis and Charlotte Mira.

I read this series for mind-candy, and to catch up with the gang. This story was just about a one-sitting read, and that was great!

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money or borrowed from a public library and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

Review: Thankless in Death by J D Robb

Thankless in Death by J.D. RobbFormat read:  print book borrowed from the library
Formats available: ebook, hardcover, large print paperback, mass market paperback, audiobook
Genre: Romantic suspense
Series: In Death, #37
Length: 417 pages
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Date Released: September 17, 2013
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository

Lieutenant Eve Dallas has plenty to be grateful for this season. Hosting Roarke’s big Irish family for the holiday may be challenging, but it’s a joyful improvement on her own dark childhood.

Other couples aren’t as lucky as Eve and Roarke. The Reinholds, for example, are lying in their home stabbed and bludgeoned almost beyond recognition. Those who knew them are stunned—and heartbroken by the evidence that they were murdered by their own son. Twenty-six-year-old Jerry hadn’t made a great impression on the bosses who fired him or the girlfriend who dumped him—but they didn’t think he was capable of this.

Turns out Jerry is not only capable of brutality but taking a liking to it. With the money he’s stolen from his parents and a long list of grievances, he intends to finally make his mark on the world. Eve and her team already know the who, how, and why of this murder. What they need to pinpoint is where Jerry’s going to strike next.

My Review:

There are aspects of Thankless in Death that are, well, thankless, in spite of an absolutely awesome scene where both Eve and, surprisingly Roarke get thanked for their service to the NYPSD.

Unlike many of the entries in this series, this isn’t a whodunnit. It’s not even a “whydunnit”. This one is simply a “when in the deity’s name are they going to finally catch the bastard doing it?” The only suspense involved the length of time the sadistic killer could continue to get lucky and evade capture.

I said lucky and I meant it. This moron wasn’t planning all that much, and he wasn’t bothering to cover up his crimes. He simply caught a lot of lucky breaks, until one of his victims effectively planted a logic bomb in the fake identity he forced her to create for him at knifepoint.

There’s no mystery in this mystery. And we spend more time inside the head of a psychotic serial killer than is comfortable. He isn’t even all that bright, so his world view manages to be both blood soaked and boring at the same time.

This one is a crime about how bad things happen to good people.

The family side of this story doesn’t reveal a lot that’s new, although it is pleasant to have Roarke’s Irish family come to America for Thanksgiving. Roarke playing soccer with his cousins is priceless.

But the best part of this particular outing with Dallas & Co. isn’t either the case or the romance (not that Eve and Roarke aren’t still amazing) but something else altogether.

naked in death by J.D. RobbAll the way back in the beginning, from the very first story in Naked in Death, one of the themes was that originally all Eve Dallas ever wanted was to be “a good cop”. Her job was her life, and it was all she had. Roarke gave her a life outside her job, and made her better at it. Ironically in a way, because he started out as a street-thief, and only stopped the last of his illegal enterprises in order to be with her.

In this most recent story, the NYPSD decides to finally set aside the internal politicking that has kept the powers-that-be from completely acknowledging their contributions. In a very public ceremony. Eve is awarded the Medal of Honor, and Roarke the highest civilian honor, the Civilian Medal of Merit. I choked up when I read the scene, and I did re-reading it just now. It was as if friends were being awarded something, because after all the books and all the years, it feels as if they are.

And that’s why I keep reading.

Escape Rating B-: Definitely far from the best in the series. The experiment of having the reader know much more about the case than the detectives was interesting, but I hope it isn’t repeated, particularly since the scumbags that Dallas generally chases do not have the kind of minds that I want to wallow in for more than a nanosecond.

This particular scumbag wasn’t even intelligent or interesting. Just very scummy.

The cop shop scenes had some good chemistry. I always enjoy seeing Dallas and Feeney work together, and their father/daughter moments had extra poignancy in this one.

All of Eve’s angst and acceptance about receiving the Medal of Honor and the accolades that went with it were far and away the best part of the story. She didn’t want the award or the ceremony that went with it. It wasn’t until the event was taking place that she finally accepted that the award didn’t just have meaning for her, but that it had significance for every victim she had ever stood for–and not just their families, but her own. Not just the family that both she and Roarke had finally discovered were theirs by right, but also the one that they had created through friendship and love.

If only the rest of the book had been close to the emotional resonance of that Medal of Honor ceremony. If only.

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money or borrowed from a public library and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

Review: Calculated in Death by J.D. Robb

Calculated in DeathFormat read: ebook
Formats available: ebook, hardcover, mass market paperback
Genre: Romantic suspense
Series: In Death, #36
Length: 400 pages
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Date Released: February 26, 2013
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

On Manhattan’s Upper East Side a woman lies dead at the bottom of the stairs, stripped of all her valuables. Most cops might call it a mugging gone wrong, but Lieutenant Eve Dallas knows better.

A well-off accountant and a beloved wife and mother, Marta Dickenson doesn’t seem the type to be on anyone’s hit list. But when Eve and her partner, Peabody, find blood inside the building, the lieutenant knows Marta’s murder was the work of a killer who’s trained, but not professional or smart enough to remove all the evidence.

But when someone steals the files out of Marta’s office, Eve must immerse herself in her billionaire husband Roarke’s world of big business to figure out who’s cruel and callous enough to hire a hit on an innocent woman. And as the killer’s violent streak begins to escalate, Eve knows she has to draw him out, even if it means using herself as bait. . . .

My Review:

Calculated In Death is the semi-annual visit with Eve Dallas and Roarke in 2060. That’s probably the simplest short description.

There’s a new In Death story twice a year, and I lap them up. At their least, each entry in this series is a chance to visit with old friends, and find out what everyone has been up to.

At best, they’re gold. Calculated In Death is pretty solidly in the middle.

The mystery is a dive into the world of big money and big fraud. Unfortunately, it’s damn difficult to make accounting sound exciting. What is interesting is the lengths that people will go to in order to cover up their crimes.

In this case, murder. If someone weren’t dead, Eve Dallas wouldn’t be involved.

But because the murders center around the world of high finance, Eve calls on Roarke’s expertise at the very beginning of the case. It’s new for the case to rely on not just his expertise, but his word.

It’s a long way for him to have traveled. When he and Eve met, he still wasn’t completely legit, although he was getting there.

This was the first time that it wasn’t Eve’s case, with Roarke coming in as backup. This was their joint case from the beginning. Very cool. Or as Mavis or perhaps Peabody would say, “frosty”.

Escape Rating B+: Every visit with Dallas and Roarke is a good one. This story is not one of the gut-wrenching ones that delves deep into either one of their tortured pasts, and thank goodness for that.

It is a solid mystery, well-solved. The fraud case is a bit difficult to follow, but even in TV mysteries, the money cases are a pain. What was fun to see was that Eve couldn’t use her instincts to figure out who the guilty party was, because everyone was guilty of something! The question was who was the most or worst guilty.

The lovely bit of the story is seeing the relationships and the other characters develop. Not just Peabody and McNab, but that Trueheart is going up for his detective’s exam. Those touches that move the group as a whole forward in time. The noticeable changes in Eve’s relationship with Dr. Mira are beautiful.

And Eve and Roarke are still hot.

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

The Sunday Post AKA What’s On My (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand? 3-3-13

Sunday PostI still have a conceptual problem with seeing the dates for 2013. I’m not sure why. But writing the date for this post as 3-3-13 just looked weird. Maybe I have a mild case of triskaidekaphobia?

Art of Video Games PublicityIn unrelated geekiness, yesterday we went to the EMP Museum at Seattle Center to see the National Tour of the Smithsonian’s fantastic exhibition on The Art of Video Games. This is a historic journey, a nostalgia trip, and an art exhibition all rolled into one, and it’s awesome. If you ever loved video games in your life, and you’re going to be in one of the cities the exhibit is travelling to, it’s definitely worth a visit.

Of course, as soon as we left the museum, we went out and bought a new game. It was just the right thing to do. Both of us itched to wrap our hands around a controller.

Holding Out for a Hero book coverIt’s not just games that have winners. We had a winner here this week, too. Lisa C. won an ebook copy of Holding Out for a Hero from Entangled Publishing. Come to think of it, the superhero theme also fits pretty well with the games.

You still have plenty of time to get in Theresa Meyers’ fantastic giveaway. First prize is a $50 Amazon gift card! She is also giving away autographed copies of her steampunk romance adventure series, The Legend Chronicles, and autographed copies of the final book in the series, The Chosen. Click here to go to the giveaway.

Here’s the full recap of this week:

Circus of Blood by James R Tuck book coverC+ Review: Game for Marriage by Karen Erickson
B+ Review: The Mysterious Madam Morpho by Delilah S. Dawson
B+ Review: Circus of Blood by James R. Tuck
A- Review: The Chosen by Theresa Meyers
Interview with Author Theresa Meyers + Giveaway!
B- Guest Review: Stung by Bethany Wiggins
Stacking the Shelves (36)

And for the first full week of March, what do we have?

Whats a Witch to Do by Jennifer Harlow book coverJennifer Harlow is on tour with the first book in her new Midnight Magic Mystery series, What’s a Witch to Do? In addition to some of my reviewing magic, Jennifer will stop by for an interview and giveaway on Thursday. We’re part of her “to-do” list, a comment that will make much more sense after you read the review!

I also have reviews of two of my long-standing favorite series, the latest entry In Death from the indefatigable J. D. Robb, and the new novel in the Deaconverse from James R. Tuck. (I did read Circus of Blood last week for an excellent reason. And it was awesome!)

Plus, I have a terrific guest review from my friend Cryselle to round out this very full week.

Lucky in LoveTune in for even more fun the following week. The Lucky in Love Blog Hop is right around the corner!

13 for 2013: A Baker’s Dozen of My Most Anticipated Reads

“Love looks forward, hate looks backward, and anxiety stalks NetGalley and Edelweiss for early review copies.” That is not the way the saying goes, but it works for me.

I’m also hoping that there will be review copies of the Spring books at least on the American Library Association Midwinter Exhibits floor–especially since I won’t need to worry about what I carry home with me. I’ll be home. The conference is here in Seattle this year.

So, what books are at the tippy top of my wishlist for 2013?

Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris, otherwise known as Sookie Stackhouse’s last hurrah. Even though the last few books in the series haven’t been quite up to the high bar set by the early entries, I have to know how Sookie’s story ends. Don’t you?

Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon is the 8th doorstop in her giant, world-traveling, era-spanning Outlander series. The series has been described as “historical fiction with a Moebius twist,” and that’s the best short summation I’ve read for the damn thing that makes any sense. What they are is the best way to lose about three days, every time there’s a new one–and I can’t wait.

The Second Rule of Ten by Gay Hendricks and Tinker Lindsay. I’ll confess that I have this one because I did stalk NetGalley for months after reading The First Rule of Ten, but the official date of publication is January 1, 2013, so it’s on the list. Tenzing Norbu is interesting as a detective because he is just different enough to see the world slightly askew, and it helps him solve crimes. The world he solves crimes in is itself slightly askew. Of all the places for an ex-monk to end up, Hollywood? Really? Marvelous!

Cast in Sorrow by Michelle Sagara will be number 9 in her Chronicles of Elantra. I just finished book 8, Cast in Peril, last week, and I’m already jonesing for my next fix. It doesn’t help that Cast in Peril ended in the middle of a very dangerous journey, not that Kaylin ever manages to stay out of trouble for long. So this wait is even more cliffhanger-esque than normal.

Imager’s Battalion by L.E. Modesitt Jr. When I finished the first trilogy in Modesitt’s Imager Portfolio, I thought he was done. The story was marvelous, but his hero’s journey was over. Little did I know he had a prequel in mind. Quaeryt’s journey from bureaucratic aide to military leader reads a bit like Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series. And that’s not bad company at all.

Untitled Psy-Changeling #12 by Nalini Singh. I hate this. The publisher and the author are being particularly coy about this one. Even the title is supposed to be a huge spoiler for some shocking secret mystery. As annoyed as I am about this, I adore the Psy-Changeling series, so I can’t wait for the book. Whatever it’s called.

Tuesday’s Gone by Nicci French is the second book in French’s new mystery series featuring therapist Frieda Klein. Something about the first book, Blue Monday, absolutely grabbed me. I think it had to do with how much Klein wanted to keep the case at arm’s length, and how personal it all turned out to be.  Blue Monday was chilling and I want to see if Tuesday’s Gone is just as good.

One-Eyed Jack by Elizabeth Bear is something I’ve wanted for a long time, but never expected to see. It’s a continuation of her utterly wondrous Promethean Age series. The Promethean Age books were urban fantasy of the crossover school, something that isn’t done well nearly often enough. In the Promethean Age, Faerie exists alongside our world, and events can effect both, sometimes with disastrous consequences.

Wicked as She Wants by Delilah S. Dawson is the second book in Dawson’s absolutely yummy Blud series. The first book, Wicked as They Come, was dark, creepy, sensual and extremely eerie. At the same time, the love story was hauntingly beautiful. And I want to see more bludbunnies. Any writer who can come up with piranha rabbits has to have more tricks up her sleeve.

Calculated in Death  and Thankless in Death by J.D. Robb. I still want to know how Nora Roberts does it. Calculated and Thankless are the two In Death books scheduled for 2013. I have a hard time believing that they are numbers 36 and 37 in the series. Odds are that one will be close to awesome, and one will be a visit with old friends, which is still not bad. I’m going to buy them both anyway and read them in one gulp the minute I get them.

The Human Division by John Scalzi is Scalzi’s first novel in his Old Man’s War universe since Zoe’s Tale in 2008. Old Man’s War is military science fiction, with a slice of social commentary, and just a hint of a love story. It’s also just plain awesome. And anything new by Scalzi is automatically great news. Even more fascinating, The Human Division is going to be released as a digital serial, starting in January. So the only question is whether I get it in bits, or do I wait for the finished novel? Or both?

Heart Fortune by Robin D. Owens is the twelfth book in Owens’ Celta series. In Celta, Robin D. Owens has created the kind of world that readers want to live on, as well as experience vicariously through her stories. I’ve read the entire Celta series, and they are one of the few romance series I’ve read that manages to make the “fated mate” concept work–probably because she occasionally subverts it.

Blood and Magick by James R. Tuck. This is the third book in the Deacon Chalk series, and I love them. I found Deacon because it’s getting to be too long a wait between Dresden Files books (and it looks like 2013 will be a year without Harry). Deacon Chalk mostly takes out his demons with guns. Lots and lots of guns. But he knows some on the side of the righteous, too. Deacon Chalk is urban fantasy of the purely kick-butt fun school.

River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay will be my birthday present this year, or close enough. Kay writes fantasy mixed with a large helping of historical fiction. The result is a magical blending of history as it might have been. Beautiful, complex, breath-takingly poignant. Kay writes worlds of awe and wonder. I can’t wait to be awestruck again.

These are the books. For 2013 it seemed fitting to choose a baker’s dozen, or 13, books that  I’m looking forward to the most.

If you’re curious about what happened to last year’s “Anticipateds” stop by Book Lovers Inc. on Thursday.

What books are you looking forward to the most in 2013?

Stacking the Shelves (17)

This was one of those weeks when I tried to be good. Only 12 books.

Three comments. I’ve already reviewed Delusion in Death, the new J.D. Robb. Got it Tuesday, finished it Wednesday. It was terrific to see how everyone at the NYPSD is getting on, but this wasn’t one of the “great” cases in the series. I still ate it up like candy. <sigh> Now I’ll have to wait until February, 2013, when Calculated in Death comes out for my next Eve and Roarke fix.


Beyond Shame says it’s by Kit Rocha, but it’s really by Moira Rogers. I adore their Bloodhounds series, so when I saw that this was them, I grabbed it from NetGalley. The authors are labeling it as “dystopian erotic romance”. Obviously not intended for the faint of heart, but based on their previous work, I’m definitely interested.


One of the fun things about video games is hearing actors where I have no idea what they look like. Then I see someone and “wait, I’ve heard that voice before!” I finally started watching Buffy (I know, what took me so long?) and realized that Ripper’s old pal Ethan Rayne, well, I’d heard that voice before. Frankly, I’d listen to Robin Sachs read the phone book. But hearing him read John Gardner’s The Return of Moriarty is definitely perfect casting. He’s reading the Godfather of London criminals, Sherlock Holmes’ nemesis. Cool and calculating. Marvelously chilling. Oh, the book is pretty good, too. (Ironically, the video game character I first heard him voice is a good guy).

What have you added to your stacks this week? A little? A lot? Anything special?

For Review: (as always, all ebooks unless specifically stated otherwise)
Blessed by a Demon’s Mark by E.S. Moore (print ARC)
A Vengeful Affair by Carmen Falcone
The Book of the Night (Libyrinth #3) by Pearl North (print)
Provoked (The Dark Protector #5) by Rebecca Zanetti
Beyond Shame (Beyond #1) by Kit Rocha (new pseudonym for Moira Rogers)
How to Date a Henchman by Mari Fee
Need by Todd Gregory
Of Blood and Bone (The Minaldi Legacy #1) by Courtney Cole
The Dead of Winter by Lee Collins

Frozen Heat (Nikki Heat #4) by Richard Castle
Delusion in Death (In Death #35) by J.D. Robb
The Return of Moriarty by John E. Gardner (audiobook from Audible, read by Robin Sachs)

Review: Delusion in Death by J. D. Robb

Format read: ebook puchased from Amazon
Formats available: Hardcover, ebook, audiobook
Genre: Futuristic, police procedural, mystery
Series: In Death #35
Length: 416 pages
Publisher: Putnam
Purchasing Info:Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

It was just another after-work happy-hour bar downtown, where business professionals unwound with a few drinks . . .until something went terribly wrong. And after twelve minutes of chaos and violence, eighty people lay dead.

Lieutenant Eve Dallas is trying to sort out the inexplicable events. Surviving witnesses talk about seeing things—monsters and swarms of bees. They describe sudden, overwhelming feelings of fear and rage and paranoia. When forensics gives its report, the mass delusions make more sense: It appears the
bar patrons were exposed to a cocktail of chemicals and illegal drugs that could drive anyone to temporary insanity—if not kill them outright.

But that doesn’t explain who would unleash such horror—or why. And if Eve can’t figure it out fast, it could happen again, anytime, anywhere. Because it’s airborne. . . .

The near-term future looks pretty bleak in the rear-view mirror of Robb’s  2058. Between our now and Eve Dallas’ then lurks the devastation that goes by the seemingly innocuous name, “the Urban Wars”.

There are two types of Dallas and Roarke stories, ones where the case seriously delves into the skeletons in one or both of their closets, and there are plenty, and the current case rattles loose a lot of personal trauma. New York to Dallas was one of those, and it was a terrible beauty, as my review indicated.

The other kind are those where the murder investigation is the point of the exercise. Those type are necessary to keep the whole series from slamming the willing suspension of disbelief into the dust. Not even with Dallas and Roarke’s troubled pasts could they manage to survive the kind of emotional crash that making every single case personal would mean. Some murders need to be just murders, no matter how awful.

One of my favorite books in the series, Fantasy in Death, was an “ordinary murder case” type story.

While Delusion in Death is not one of the truly personal cases for Dallas and Roarke, the murders are anything but ordinary. Their roots lie in the murky dark of the Urban Wars. A time that Summerset remembers all too well. He and Eve call a temporary truce to their domestic hostilities, because a bio-terrorist weapon from those bad old days has re-surfaced in New York, and Summerset’s contacts might have information that will lead Dallas to the killer–before he makes another venue full of innocent people into raving lunatics that turn on each other in a murderous rage.

Escape Rating B: I re-read my review of Celebrity in Death, where I said Celebrity needed a few more bodies to give it flavor. Delusion in Death has all the bodies it needs and then some. What this one needs is a clearer motive for the killers.

The Urban Wars have always been a bit mythic in the timeline for the In Death series, so it’s difficult to bring them out of the deep, dark as the motivation for the ultimate evildoer in this story. This person stays too deep in the background, and the history has been too shadowy. I accept that this person was the puppet-master, but I don’t totally understand the reasoning. The mastermind is less awe-inspiring (even in a bad way) when you don’t buy into what makes them masterful.

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.