City Of Ghosts – Stacia Kane

September 25, 2010 § Leave a comment


  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (July 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345515595
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345515599
  • Goodreads.com synopsis: IT’S A THIN LINE BETWEEN ALIVE AND UNDEAD.

    Chess Putnam has a lot on her plate. Mangled human corpses have started to show up on the streets of Downside, and Chess’s bosses at the Church of Real Truth have ordered her to team up with the ultra-powerful Black Squad agency to crack the grisly case.

    Chess is under a binding spell that threatens death if she talks about the investigation, but the city’s most notorious crime boss—and Chess’s drug dealer—gets wind of her new assignment and insists on being kept informed. If that isn’t bad enough, a sinister street vendor appears to have information Chess needs. Only he’s not telling what he knows, or what it all has to do with the vast underground City of Eternity.

    Now Chess will have to navigate killer wraiths, First Elders, and a lot of seriously nasty magic—all while coping with some not-so-small issues of her own. And the only man Chess can trust to help her through it all has every reason to want her dead. 


  • Not surprising, another 5 star rating from me for the 3rd book in this series. This is exactly what I’m looking for everytime I open a book by an author new to me, a story that grabs me and holds my attention, makes me laugh, cry, get angry, etc. The funny thing is, I don’t always like the main character, Chess. She really makes some awful choices. But at the same time, her character is so believable and her story so compelling that I can’t help but to root for her through all the ups and downs.


I can’t say I love the world that Stacia Kane has created with this series. Actually, its a pretty scary place but again, very believable. The Church of Truth continues to fascinate me. Chess looks at the Church as a safe haven and something she can rely on but it strikes me as something a lot more sinister. I have so many questions about the Church Of Truth and hope some of them are answered in future books in this series.

This third book City of Ghosts finds Chess working with a member of the Church’s Black Squad to look into another organization that has tried repeatedly in the past to seize control of the Church and is now active again. There is also some resolution to the Chess/Lex/Terrible love triangle.

This story is another powerful fast paced look at Downside, really an edge-of-your-seat read from start to finish. I can’t sing Stacia Kane’s praises enough and absolutely cannot wait to read more from her!

Advertisements

Unholy Magic – Stacia Kane

September 25, 2010 § Leave a comment


  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (July 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345515587
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345515582
  • Goodreads.com synopsis: ENEMIES DON’T NEED TO BE ALIVE TO BE DEADLY.

    For Chess Putnam, finding herself near-fatally poisoned by a con psychic and then stopping a murderous ghost is just another day on the job. As an agent of the Church of Real Truth, Chess must expose those looking to profit from the world’s unpleasant little poltergeist problem—humans filing false claims of hauntings—all while staving off any undead who really are looking for a kill. But Chess has been extra busy these days, coping with a new “celebrity” assignment while trying on her own time to help some desperate prostitutes.

    Someone’s taking out the hookers of Downside in the most gruesome way, and Chess is sure the rumors that it’s the work of a ghost are way off base. But proving herself right means walking in the path of a maniac, not to mention standing between the two men in her life just as they—along with their ruthless employers—are moving closer to a catastrophic showdown. Someone is dealing in murder, sex, and the supernatural, and once again Chess finds herself right in the crossfire.


  • This series is amazing. Unholy Magic finds Chess still struggling with addiction as well as overcoming her past. Its made very clear in this book how her drug use causes her no end of problems in her life. There is a powerful scene where she goes through a horrific withdrawal, also her addiction leads to her being blackmailed and used by various people for their own benefit. I love that Kane makes her characters so realistic and believable. 

Through all the personal issues and stuggles with her relationships, there is a fast paced plot as well as a closer look at the Church of Truth. Personally, I find it horrifying that the church is able to not only punish people in life but also in the afterlife. Just the thought of fallible human beings being able to punish people after death is a scary concept. 
The plot was great.  For the Church, Chess is working on a reported haunting for a movie star family, and for Bump and Slobag, she is looking into a string of prostitute murders. This book was action packed and hard to put down. I can’t wait to see how the series continues. 
Stacia Kane has certainly found a place as one of my all time favorite authors with this series.

Unholy Ghosts – Stacia Kane

September 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; Original edition (May 25, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345515579
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345515575
  • Goodreads.com synopsis: THE DEPARTED HAVE ARRIVED.

    The world is not the way it was. The dead have risen, and the living are under attack. The powerful Church of Real Truth, in charge since the government fell, has sworn to reimburse citizens being harassed by the deceased. Enter Chess Putnam, a fully tattooed witch and freewheeling ghost hunter. She’s got a real talent for banishing the wicked dead. But Chess is keeping a dark secret: She owes a lot of money to a murderous drug lord named Bump, who wants immediate payback in the form of a dangerous job that involves black magic, human sacrifice, a nefarious demonic creature, and enough wicked energy to wipe out a city of souls. Toss in lust for a rival gang leader and a dangerous attraction to Bump’s ruthless enforcer, and Chess begins to wonder if the rush is really worth it. Hell, yeah.




Wow, this was even better than what I was expecting. Chess works for the Church of Truth as a debunker, which means she investigates peoples claims of hauntings and either exorcises the ghost or proves it to be a false claim. 
Chess’ character is very interesting, she uses drugs to block out the memories of a very traumatizing childhood as well as some of the horrors she has to face from her job each day. I thought she was very realistic in the way she had a hard time trusting people, isolated herself, stayed away from meaningful relationships, and found it hard to make friends. Even her drug use makes sense considering her background, I hope through the rest of the series, I get to see her grow even more and overcome that addiction. 
The Church of Truth was fascinating too and we get to find out how exactly this church came to be, and as the story progresses, we learn some of the rules and expectations for this society under the rule of this Church. 
I loved all of the characters in this story, so many of them stand out to me. Of course Terrible, the drug dealer Bump’s hired thug, who is a mixture of scary, damaged, and endearing.
Bump himself who I mentally picture as a 60’s pimp with permed hair, big hat, and fur coat. Bump is selfish, overconfident, and demanding, but apparently has a soft side as well. The downside street slang is great on the audio.
I can’t wait to finish the rest of this series, I hope it continues with the same fast paced action as well as telling us more about some of the characters that we didn’t get a lot of back story on.

Lord of the Fading Lands- CL Wilson

September 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Avon (September 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062023020
  • ISBN-13: 978-006202302
  • Goodreads.com synopsis:Once he had scorched the world.

    Once he had driven back overwhelming darkness.

    Once he had loved with such passion, his name was legend…

    Tairen Soul

    Now a thousand years later, a new threat calls him from the Fading Lands, back into the world that had cost him so dearly. Now an ancient, familiar evil is regaining its strength, and a new voice beckons him – more compelling, more seductive, more maddening than any before.

    As the power of his most bitter enemy grows and ancient alliances crumble, the wildness in his blood will not be denied. The tairen must claim his truemate and embrace the destiny woven for him in the mists of time. 


This is a little outside of what I normally read, much more focused on romance. However, I loved it all the same. My complaint with the book would be that I dislike how it came to a rather abrupt end without any kind of resolution. Luckily, I do have the rest of the series here so I’ll be able to continue right away.

In this story, Rain, the King and Tairen Soul of the Fey fears the end of his people and is looking for a way to save them, there are too few and most still carry shadows of the war of 1000 years ago within their own souls. As he searches for a solution, he hears a ‘true mate’ call from the city and finds himself in front of what appears to be a mortal girl, Ellie, who captures him heart and soul, binding him to her. Ellie who has been raised to be afraid of all things magic, has nonetheless always had a fascination for all things fey and for Rain Tairen soul in particular. So no one is more surprised than she when he claims her as his true mate.

This is a beautifully written story about how Rain and Ellie begin falling in love, with some very emotional touching scenes. At the same time they deal with a society that looks down on her for her common birth, and distrust of him because he is fey, as well as trying to convince everyone of the evil presence of the Eld mages that Rain feels becoming strong in the world again.

I look forward to finding out how this story continues in the rest of the series. I would have liked more plot and more resolution which keeps me from rating this a 5, but overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the story.

Book Of Lost Things – John Connoly

September 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press (October 16, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074329890X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743298902
  • Goodreads.com synopsis: High in his attic bedroom, twelve-year-old David mourns the death of his mother, with only the books on his shelf for company. But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness. Angry and alone, he takes refuge in his imagination and soon finds that reality and fantasy have begun to meld. While his family falls apart around him, David is violently propelled into a world that is a strange reflection of his own — populated by heroes and monsters and ruled by a faded king who keeps his secrets in a mysterious book, The Book of Lost Things.
    Taking readers on a vivid journey through the loss of innocence into adulthood and beyond, New York Times bestselling author John Connolly tells a dark and compelling tale that reminds us of the enduring power of stories in our lives.





“Before she came ill, David’s mother would often tell him that stories were alive. They weren’t alive in the way that people were alive, or even dogs or cats. (…) Stories were different, though: they came alive in the telling. Without a human voice to read them aloud, or a pair of wide eyes following them by torch light beneath a blanket, they had no real existence in our world. (…) They lay dormant, hoping for the chance to emerge. Once someone started to read them, they could begin to change. They could take root in the imagination and transform the reader. Stories wanted to be read, David’s mother would whisper. They needed it. It was the reason they forced themselves from their world into ours. They wanted us to give them life.” 
— John Connolly (The Book of Lost Things) 



What a wonderful book… I know that I don’t have the way with words to do justice to how I felt about this book. I could relate so much with the character and how he felt about books. I fell in love with stories as a very small girl when my Nana would tell me stories about growing up in the twenties. I still remember all of them. As I got older, naturally my love of stories turned into a love of books. When I picture my dream house, the first room I mentally furnish is my library. 🙂 But John Connolly portrays that love of books so well in this story. 

The story itself is a dark combination of Narnia and The Neverending Story mixed with some of the most twisted version of fairy tales I’ve ever heard. The boy, David, becomes part of this twisted fairy tale world and through his adventures, he confronts many of his fears and faces many of his own shortcomings. A wonderful albeit dark coming of age story that I think a lot of people can relate to. 

Graceling – Kristen Cashore

September 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

Audio CD, Retail Edition
Published June 1st 2009 by Full Cast Audio (first published October 1st 2008)
ISBN 1934180890 (ISBN13: 9781934180891)
Goodreads.com synopsis:If you had the power to kill with your bare hands, what would you do with it?

Graceling takes readers inside the world of Katsa, a warrior-girl in her late teens with one blue eye and one green eye. This gives her haunting beauty, but also marks her as a Graceling. Gracelings are beings with special talents—swimming, storytelling, dancing. Katsa’s Grace is considered more useful: her ability to fight (and kill, if she wanted to) is unequaled in the seven kingdoms. Forced to act as a henchman for a manipulative king, Katsa channels her guilt by forming a secret council of like-minded citizens who carry out secret missions to promote justice over cruelty and abuses of power.
Combining elements of fantasy and romance, Cashore skillfully portrays the confusion, discovery, and angst that smart, strong-willed girls experience as they creep toward adulthood. Katsa wrestles with questions of freedom, truth, and knowing when to rely on a friend for help. This is no small task for an angry girl who had eschewed friendships (with the exception of one cousin that she trusts) for her more ready skills of self-reliance, hunting, and fighting. Katsa also comes to know the real power of her Grace and the nature of Graces in general: they are not always what they appear to be.
Graceling is the first book in a series, and Kristin Cashore’s first work of fiction. It sets up a vivid world with engaging characters that readers will certainly look forward to following beyond the last chapter of this book. 

I loved this story, despite my issues with the audio version that I’ll get to at the end of this review.

It was fairly easy for me to sink into Katsa’s world from early on in the book, her feelings regarding her grace and what she was made to do with it, and how she saw herself as a person. I loved how her feelings changed after she met Po, and she started seeing things a little differently.
The romance between Katsa and Po was believable and not overdone imo. A lot of the other reviews I read before starting this book talked a lot about Katsa being opposed to marriage and children. However, this made complete sense to me in the context of the story. Why would Katsa, raised as she was, find the concept of legally giving over her freedom to a man to be remotely attractive to her? She didn’t really get into her reasons why she didn’t want children but as I assume Katsa was fairly young in this book, I don’t consider it a negative that she didn’t feel her only path to happiness was as a wife and a mother.
Overall, I think this was a great book and I’m interested to see how she continues the series.

Now, as far as the audio version of this book, I have a lot more to say. I initially thought that the “full cast” audio would be off-putting for me, but it either grew on me or as I became more invested in the story, I no longer noticed. However, the music…. THE MUSIC!! That was the most annoying thing I’ve ever listened to in any audio book. It was constant, between every chapter, used to punctuate jokes, played during the sex scene, and most annoyingly during climactic scenes almost overpowering the narrators voice. I HATED it and strongly recommend that if you’re going to read Graceling, get the actual book.

Neil Gaiman – The Graveyard Book

September 25, 2010 § 1 Comment

Goodreads.com synopsis:After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

  • Reading level: Ages 9-12
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st ed edition (September 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060530928
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060530921



The Graveyard Book was like a darker combination of Harry Potter and the Jungle Book. A coming of age story where a small boy Nobody Owens finds himself orphaned and being raised by a graveyard full of ghosts and 1 possible vampire (this is never really made clear) while being hunted by an assassin with a keen sense of smell. I was not a big fan of the way the book was written, meaning each chapter was in itself a short story that followed the same general timeline. Also, I wished he would have spent more time with the ghosts themselves, I would have liked to have learned more about each of them. Overall though, I loved the story and can’t wait to dive into another of Gaiman’s books

Where Am I?

You are currently viewing the archives for September, 2010 at The Happy Booker.