Book Reviews: Day Shift by Charlaine Harris and Lowcountry Boneyard by Susan M. Boyer

Day ShiftDay Shift
A Novel of Midnight, Texas #2
Charlaine Harris
Ace Books, May 2015
ISBN 978-0-425-26319-8
Hardcover

From the publisher—

There is no such thing as bad publicity, except in Midnight, Texas, where the residents like to keep to themselves. Even in a town full of secretive people, Olivia Charity is an enigma. She lives with the vampire Lemuel, but no one knows what she does; they only know that she’s beautiful and dangerous.

Psychic Manfred Bernardo finds out just how dangerous when he goes on a working weekend to Dallas and sees Olivia there with a couple who are both found dead the next day. To make matters worse, one of Manfred’s regular—and very wealthy—clients dies during a reading.

Manfred returns from Dallas embroiled in scandal and hounded by the press. He turns to Olivia for help; somehow he knows that the mysterious Olivia can get things back to normal. As normal as things get in Midnight…

It’s practically impossible for Charlaine Harris to disappoint me so I can really only say one thing negative about Day Shift—it’s not my favorite of all her work. You could look at it another way, that this falls behind such series as Sookie Stackhouse, Harper Connelly, Aurora Teagarden and Lily Bard, not to mention various non-series books. However, placing it behind all those other Harris books that I love so much doesn’t exactly say it’s no good, now does it? Let’s face it, the woman can’t be perfect ALL the time, just close to it 😉

Midnight, Texas, is a most unusual place as are its inhabitants. In fact, psychic Manfred Bernardo is probably a tad more normal than some but he certainly never expects to find Olivia in a deadly situation or, worse yet, himself. It’s Olivia the town turns to in hopes of solving the case and returning Midnight to its usual obscurity when the ravenous press follows Manfred home. In the meantime, there is a lot of mystery surrounding the renovation of an old hotel into a home for some senior citizens and lodging for temporary workers. Why anybody would want to open such a place in this dusty little town is a matter for much conjecture and some alarm.

As can be anticipated in any Charlaine Harris book, there’s a good deal of humor in Day Shift along with the relatively slight mysteries and the various characters are all a tad strange and very interesting. All that aside, I didn’t quite connect with the players or the story but it’s my own fault for not reading the first book before this one. Normally, reading out of order doesn’t bother me in the least but it was a mistake this time so I caution readers new to the series—read Midnight Crossroad first. I intend to rectify my error forthwith 😉

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, June 2015.

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Lowcountry BoneyardLowcountry Boneyard
A Liz Talbot Mystery #3
Susan M. Boyer
Henery Press, April 2015
ISBN 978-1-941962-47-3
Trade Paperback
Also available in hardcover

From the publisher—

Where is Kent Heyward? The twenty-three-year-old heiress from one of Charleston’s oldest families vanished a month ago. When her father hires private investigator Liz Talbot, Liz suspects the most difficult part of her job will be convincing the patriarch his daughter tired of his overbearing nature and left town. That’s what the Charleston Police Department believes.

But behind the garden walls South of Broad, family secrets pop up like weeds in the azaleas. The neighbors recollect violent arguments between Kent and her parents. Eccentric twin uncles and a gaggle of cousins covet the family fortune. And the lingering spirit of a Civil-War-era debutante may know something if Colleen, Liz’s dead best friend, can get her to talk.

Liz juggles her case, the partner she’s in love with, and the family she adores. But the closer she gets to what has become of Kent, the closer Liz dances to her own grave.

I’m drawn to crime fiction set in the South, partly because I’m a Southerner myself but also because there’s a certain “feel” that makes such books just a little more interesting to me. Can’t identify or explain it; it’s just there. Whatever my nebulous reasons might be, Lowcountry Boneyard and Susan M. Boyer did not let me down.

Liz Talbot is a woman who knows who she is besides being really good at what she does so she gives the impression from the beginning that she will, indeed, get to the bottom of the task in hand. In this case, the disappearance of a wealthy society girl will lead Liz and her significant other and partner, Nate Andrews, in a number of different directions and there is no shortage of dark secrets in Kent Heyward’s family. Twists and turns abound before Liz will ultimately find herself in grave jeopardy.

I truly enjoyed this third book in Ms. Boyer‘s series (having read the first, Lowcountry Boil, a few years ago) and Liz is a woman I’d like to have as a real-life friend but Colleen, Liz’s long-deceased best friend, appealed to me the most. She’s a ghost who proves herself to be helpful when needed but also adds a humorous touch, especially when she shows up in unexpected places. Still, Colleen should be considered the invaluable third investigator on the team.

This is one of those series that can be read out of order if need be although, naturally, it’s probably best not to. I didn’t feel there were gaping holes because I hadn’t read the second book but I do intend to go get it; that will tide me over till Lowcountry Bordello comes out in November.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, June 2015.

Book Blitz: Modern Monsters by Kelley York

Modern Monsters Blitz Banner

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Title: Modern Monsters
Author: Kelley York
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: June 2, 2015
Genres:  Mystery, Young Adult

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Synopsis

Vic Howard never wanted to go to the party. He’s the Invisible Guy
at school, a special kind of hell for quiet, nice guys. But because his
best friend is as popular as Vic is ignored, he went…
And wished he hadn’t.

Because something happened that night. Something terrible,
unimaginable. And now, the victim has told the police that Vic
did it. Suddenly, Invisible Vic is painfully visible, walking through
halls at school filled with hostility and violence seething just under
the surface. Vic is determined to find out what really went down at
that party, even if it means an uneasy alliance with the victim’s
best friend, the beautiful but aloof Autumn Dixon.

But as Autumn and Vic slowly peel back the layers of what happened
that night, they realize that while the truth can set Vic free, it can
also shatter everything he thought he knew about his life…

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Thanks for having me for the blog tour! And
what better way to kick things off than with
an excerpt from Modern Monsters.

She rounds a corner. Instead of going into a classroom, she walks out the double doors leading to the quad, maybe heading for the library or the gym. I jog to catch up, reaching out to touch her shoulder. “Hey—”

The next thing I know, the sky is above me and I’m hitting the ground as my legs are knocked out from under me. I see stars. In broad daylight. Concussion: minor brain injury that may occur when one’s head strikes an object. Ow.

Modern MonstersThe girl’s face comes into view as I’m blinking the white from my vision. “You following me, jackass?” she snarls. “I know who you are. You’ve got some fucking nerve.”

I push myself up to sit, scooting back on the concrete to avoid getting struck again in the event she lashes out. “N-no—I mean, y-yes. I j-just wanted—”

“Wanted to what? I’ve got nothing to say to you.”

“I…I saw you at Callie’s l-locker…”

“If I had my way, they would have thrown your sorry ass in jail already. You realize they’re getting a restraining order against you.”

“I—”

“Better not let me see you in the parking lot, ’cause you’d better believe I’ll mow you down.”

“I didn’t touch her!”

The heat of my voice startles me. I’m not a yeller. I keep quiet, under the radar. But those words felt like they were going to burst out of my ribs if I didn’t say them. Callie’s friend is watching me with a smoldering glare.

“Right. She just made it up, then.”

“N-no. I didn’t say…say that.” Once I’m sure she isn’t going to use some weird karate move to put me on the ground again, I pick myself up. “I’m just saying it w-wasn’t m-me.”

She squints, looking me over. Studying me. I’d feel less exposed lying naked on a silver tray in biology being sliced open in the name of science. “Why were you following me?”

Why was I? What, exactly, did I want to ask? What did I want to say? I rub the back of my neck, ducking my head. “I wanted to s-see if you could deliver a m-message.”

“Uh-huh. What kind of message?”

“T-tell her…I d-didn’t do it. I swear on my life. And…” The guilt. It comes out of nowhere and slides its slivers into my lungs, making my chest tight. “Tell her I’m sorry.”

She folds her arms, gaze steely. “Sorry for what?”

“For not keeping her safe.” That’s what it comes down to. No, I didn’t rape Callie Wheeler, but I feel like it was my fault it happened. The number of things I could have—should have—done to prevent it seems staggering. The weight of my guilt makes it hard to breathe.

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About the Author

Kelley York“I like unicorns and cats and games…and stuff…” – quality author quote by Kelley

Kelley York was born in central California, where she still resides with her lovely wife, step-daughter, and way too many cats, while fantasizing about moving to England or Ireland. (Or, really, anyplace secluded.) She has a fascination with bells and animals and Disney. Her life goal is to find a real unicorn. Or to at least write about them. She occupies her spare time with video games,designing covers, playing on Tumblr, and watching anime.

Kelley is a sucker for dark fiction. She loves writing twisted characters, tragic happenings, and bittersweet endings that leave you wondering and crying. She strives to make character development take center stage in her books because the bounds of a person’s character and the workings of their mind are limitless.

Author Links:

WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook

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