Tia Nevitt (guest)

TIA NEVITT, a guest contributor, has been a mechanic in the Air Force, a factory worker, a civilian supply weasel for the military, and finally, an office worker. She’s been an IT professional for 13 years, and now she's writing her own novels. Find out about them on our Tia Nevitt page or at Tia's blog.

The Trouble with Demons: Need a break from vampires?

The Trouble with Demons by Lisa Shearin

I can't imagine anyone who enjoyed Magic Lost, Trouble Found and Armed and Magical being disappointed by The Trouble with Demons. For this novel, Ms. Shearin turned up the darkness, turned up the romantic tension, and turned down the snark. All without sacrificing action or fun. Plus, it's longer!

Raine's chaotic world gets even more so in The Trouble With Demons when someone opens a Hellgate, releasing a legion of demons on the Isle of Mid. They want something, and naturally, Raine is at the thick of it. The sentient rock known as the Saghred is also up to some unexpected tricks and is snaring all of Raine's friends in its clutches. Talk about piling on the problems!

I was glad to see the reduction in snarkiness. Armed and Magical bordered on being... Read More

Master of Shadows: Delicious little romantic suspense novel

Master of Shadows by Janet Lorimer

With a single sentence, Janet Lorimer establishes the mood of Master of Shadows. And there, she starts a familiar story — Beauty meets the Beast and goes to live with him in his enchanted castle. That is, he could be a beast. Since he is always shrouded in a cowl, Ariel doesn't know for certain.

In the story, Louvel hires Ariel to categorize the books in his extensive library. Ariel has a master's degree in Liberal Arts — a proper degree for a the daughter of a wealthy man — and she is delighted to have a chance to actually use it. Also, since her father's mysterious death, she rather desperately needs the money. While she is doing the job, Louvel insists that she stay in his mansion. There is no good road to and from the mansion, and staying elsewhere just is not practical. Louvel has very specific, odd, and mysterious rules that he ins... Read More

Jinx: A delightful morsel of a novel

Jinx by Jennifer Estep

Jinx focuses on Bella Bulluci, who was Fiona Fine's fashion designer rival in Hot Mama. Bella comes from a family of superheroes — both superpowered and otherwise — and she's quite frankly tired of the whole gig. She's had superheroes out the wazoo, especially since her family became closely affiliated to the Fearless Five in the previous novel. She has a power that is more of a curse, and it causes her endless embarrassment when the strangest things happen around her.

Bella isn't thrilled with a lot of aspects about her life. If she even looks at chocolate she gains about ten pounds, which she is forever trying to work off with brutal exercise routines. She hardly dares to eat in public for fear of her power rearing its weird head. And she's not really satisfied with the whole fashion designer gig, either. She has a secret ambition to be a museum quali... Read More

Elom: Cave Bear meets Close Encounters

Elom by William Drinkard

I really loved this novel.

The blurb for Elom got me: "The Clan of the Cave Bear meets Close Encounters of the Third Kind."

William Drinkard is not your typical debut novelist. He served in the Alabama State Legislature for twelve years, and even was the Senate Majority Leader. He's still involved with politics, but not as an elected official. When one hears such things, one wonders, "Yeah, but can he write?"

In my opinion, the answer is a resounding yes.

The novel starts when the young Geerna is preparing for the ceremony that will make her a woman. Her devotion to her goddess, Shetow, is unquestioned, so when light appears and when it takes her up to the heavens, she believes that she is going to Shetow.

Next, we are transported... Read More

Hot Mama: Book candy

Hot Mama by Jennifer Estep

Settling down to read Hot Mama was like settling down to have a piece of book candy. (I didn't originate this term; I discovered it on Jennifer Estep's Blog.) You know it is going to be a fast read with lively, snappy dialog and laugh-out-loud humor. And Hot Mama did not disappoint!

It begins with Carmen Cole's wedding to Sam Sloane, the uberdude in Karma Girl. Carmen is happy; her dreams have come true. Therefore, this book is not about her. It's about Fiera (AKA Fiona Fine), Carmen's flame-wielding Fearless Five partner in crimefighting. Fiera is not so happy, for she still misses her murdered sweetheart from the last novel. Johnny Bulluci, this novel's uberhunk, is a direct sort of guy. When he sees something that he wa... Read More

The 13th Reality: A rousing adventure

The 13th Reality by James Dashner

The 13th Reality, the first volume of The Journey of Curious Letters by James Dashner, was a complete delight.

Tick (short for Atticus) is your ultimate unlikely hero. He has a birthmark on his neck that he hates so much that he wears a scarf year-round. The school bullies call it the "barf scarf" and when we meet him, he is in the midst of being bullied. That very day, he receives the first in a series of curious letters, each with have a clue (or two). What are they clues for? Well, if he solves the riddles in time, they will “reveal on a certain day, at a certain time, at a certain place, something extraordinary will happen.”

This novel is about a kid finding courage and learning that he is stronger than he thinks he is.

One problem that authors of childr... Read More

Once Bitten, Twice Shy: Poof! Another vampire up in smoke

Once Bitten, Twice Shy by Jennifer Rardin

My instincts were right with this one. Once Bitten, Twice Shy by Jennifer Rardin stood out from all the other urban fantasies right from the start. For me, it was a great and long-overdue introduction to the urban fantasy genre.

Rardin invented a great deal of vampire mythology, but she saw fit to keep all the traditional aspects as well. One can fend a vampire off with a cross, and holy water will cause even the most deadly vampire to back off. And see all those tiny stakes in an ammo belt on the cover girl's hip? Well, she's got a nifty gun to go with them. Poof! Another vampire up in smoke. And she's got lots more gadgets, too, several that I can readily envision on the silver screen with computer generated imagery.

But the vampires are not all bad guys. Vayl — short for Vasil — is one of the good guys, even though ... Read More

Hawkspar: Three things about a Holly Lisle novel

Hawkspar by Holly Lisle

This story is about a slave, and her fight for freedom. She is a member of the Tonk race. Rather than a nation, the Tonk are spread throughout the world. It turns out that there are quite a few Tonk among not only Hawkspar's fellow slaves, but among the Oracles themselves. And one of them has cooked up a plot. Once the slave — who, through most of the story, doesn't remember her name — takes on the Eyes, she becomes Hawkspar, and she immediately sets her predecessor's plans into motion. Then, she cooks up a few plans of her own.

I love novels about oppressed people fighting for their freedom. And Hawkspar was as good as any I've ever read.

There's a few things you can count on in a Holly Lisle novel. One is the great maps. There are two in Hawkspar— one a world map, and the other a zoom in on the mini-continent of Hyre. My main complai... Read More

Karma Girl: Surprising Depth

Karma Girl by Jennifer Estep

After Carmen Cole finds her finance in bed with her best friend, she makes the startling discovery — thanks  to the suits they are wearing — that they are in fact a superhero and an ubervillain. She snaps some photos of them with a handy camera and unmasks them both — thus launching her unmasking career. In Bigtime, New York, superhero battles level buildings on a regular basis. When you go shopping at Oodles-o-Stuff, you're likely to encounter superheroes, because they get special discounts in exchange for protection against superfights. It's a blissful three years for Carmen, but all good things come to an end, and her unmasking career ends in tragedy. However, certain ubervillains decide that she needs to take up her unmasking mantle once again. And they know who her next target should be. But, Carmen Cole is the master unmasker, and she has a plan...

The cover to Karma Girl Read More

The Barbed Coil: A stand-alone by J.V. Jones

The Barbed Coil by J.V. Jones

My favorite novel by J.V. Jones is The Barbed Coil, a stand-alone novel set in both 20th century Earth and a strange and distant world. It begins in a most unusual manner, and I didn't think it would work for me, but I read on, and I was glad I did.

Tessa McCamfrey suffers from tinnitus, or a ringing in her ears. She is never entirely free of it, but at certain periods of her life she suffers from especially bad spells. At the point where the book opens, she is suffering from such an episode.
Little does she know that she's suffering from the effects of magic.

While in a futile attempt to drive away from her tinnitus, she happens upon a treasure: a pile of stolen safety-deposit boxes lying discarded in the woods. She roots through them, not realizing that she is looking for something until she finds it: A barbed ring. She puts it on. Th... Read More

Armed and Magical: Darker, snarkier, funnier

Armed and Magical by Lisa Shearin

Armed and Magical picks up almost right where Magic Lost, Trouble Found left off. It's a week later and Raine is on the Isle of Mid with her cousin, Phaelan (“He was a pirate. Excuse me, a seafaring businessman.”), and the leader of the Conclave Guardians, Mychael (“an enigma, wrapped in a riddle, coated in yum”). Raine's young friend Piaras is also there as a student. He is the most powerful young spellsinger to come along in decades.

I don't know what to make of Piaras. He's way too powerful to be a sidekick. He gives Raine some serious competition power-wise, even with her Saghred-induced “resume enhancement.” I like being befuddled like this. I keep wondering if before the series is over, Raine might find herself facing Piaras. It could be heart-wrenching.

The protective Raine finds herself hunting down some missing... Read More

To Catch a Mermaid: Life is tough, kid. Get used to it.

To Catch a Mermaid by Suzanne Selfors

I don't usually read children's novels and I probably will demur in the future, except for young adult. I did my homework on To Catch a Mermaid and read a bunch of other reviews out there, and none of them are in the least bit negative.

The writing itself is great. It's about a boy named Boom Broom who brings home a wild baby mermaid (actually more like a toddler) from a reject seafood bucket. The merbaby brings a curse that Boom must break in order to save his sister. The merbaby can also grant wishes. His sister promptly falls in love with the cranky merbaby, and refuses to be parted from it. Adding angst to the story is that before the start of the novel, Boom's mother was carried away by a twister. Boom is an appealing character, despite his struggles with greed. There is almost no violence in the book.

The beginning of To Catch a Mermai... Read More

Magic Lost, Trouble Found: Raine kicks butt, but she’s all girl

Magic Lost, Trouble Found by Lisa Shearin

Lisa Shearin is the Janet Evanovich of fantasy.

She writes with a fun, unpretentious style, and she has mastered writing with humor. In many ways, this is better than Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. Raine Benares is competent, whereas Stephanie bumbles her way through her adventures, surviving by luck and instinct rather than skill. That joke wears thin after a while. (At least on me — since there are thirteen Stephanie Plum books out, then she obviously still appeals to a lot of people.) Raine is the type of girl who rescues dudes in distress. She comes up with daring plans. She kicks butt, but she's all girl.

Magic Lost, Trouble Found is a ra... Read More

Wind Follower: Lush and impressive debut

Wind Follower by Carole McDonnell

With Wind Follower, Carole McDonnell has written a literary fantasy that makes you feel like you are absolutely steeped in another culture. The prose is gorgeous and the characters three-dimensional, with both idealistic traits and glaring faults. Emotions are unsheathed and roil throughout the plot. It almost feels like a walk through a spirit world. Tempers flair and knifes flash at the most unexpected times.

At its heart is a very simple story, the story of a man and a woman who meet, get married and fall in love, in that order. The cultures that they live in have very specific traditions. One is that if the wife of a warrior has a child, it is the warrior's child. It does not matter who the actual father is. Loic's father honors this custom even when one of his wives, the Third Wife (she has no other name that I could find) was unfaithful. The Third Wife is spiteful and vindic... Read More

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