Mini Review: Summon the Keeper by Tanya Huff

Summon the Keeper by Tanya Huff

Series: Keeper Chronicles #1

Genre: Fantasy

Setting: Canada

Published by DAW, 1998

Source: Ebook, purchased

366 pages

Synopsis: Claire Hansen, the Keeper, is summoned to the Elysian Fields Guest House to reseal a hole in the basement, which is literally an opening to Hell. The owner and monitor of the site disappears, leaving Claire stuck managing the place until the problem is solved. Her new employee, Dean McIssac, is a gorgeous Newfie who cooks, cleans, and lives the Boy Scout oath. Then there’s Jacques Labaet: very French Canadian, very sexy, very dead. Jacques is a ghost who wants to be the man in Claire’s life. Oh yeah, and there’s Austin, a talking cat with attitude: “I barely know you, but I’m assuming you’re human. I’m not saying this is a good thing, it’s just the way it is.” 

My thoughts

This is a quick, fun read. I enjoy Tanya Huff’s books and appreciate the different types of books she writes. The book has a lot of humor and I enjoyed much of that. This isn’t my favorite of the many books of hers I’ve read, but it’s still enjoyable.

The book reminded me a little of The Gale Women series by Ms. Huff. The first book in that series is The Magic Emporium. There is some of the same dynamic between characters in the books. However, I like The Magic Emporium better than this book. I probably will read the second book in the Keeper Chronicles series to see if I like it better than Summon the Keeper.

What I like

I like Claire Hansen and the idea that Keepers clean up messes made by holes torn in the fabric of the universe that leak evil. She comes from a magical family so she has known about keepers all her life. But most people outside their small community don’t know about them.

The evil trying to seep through the hole in the basement furnace room of the guest house is amusing, but determined. It tries to tempt anyone it comes in contact with, but because Claire has magic available it really wants to cause her to slip up and allow more evil through the hole.

Down in the furnace room, having spent the last few hours testing the binding, the intelligence in the pit rested. It would have been panting had it been breathing.

NOTHING HAS CHANGED, it observed sulkily.

. . . SHUT UP!

It also talked to itself.

Dean McIssac is from Newfoundland and has worked at the guest house for a while. He’s the cook and handyman and he loves to clean. A funny reversal of stereotype. Claire also notices he’s quite a hunk–even if he is younger than she is.

The ghost, Jacques Labaet, is very funny, but also a little sad.

And not so much

My main quibble with the book is that although I like cats, I don’t like cats that talk very much–especially when they try to be funny. Austin is Claire’s sidekick and helper and he has an attitude. I just didn’t like it very much.

My Rating: B-

Have you read this book or any others by Tanya Huff? What are your thoughts about her books?

WWW Wednesday: August 30

This meme is hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. The idea is to answer the three questions below. For more information check out the Taking on a World of Words blog.

  • What are you reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading

Another library ebook–so I need to read it before it expires. It seems like my library has really expanded their digital collection which is great. I’m not too far into this book, but It’s a good read.

City of the Lost by Kelly Armstrong

Casey Duncan #1

Mystery, Thriller, police procedural

Casey Duncan is a homicide detective with a secret: when she was in college, she killed a man. She was never caught, but he was the grandson of a mobster and she knows that someday this crime will catch up to her. Casey’s best friend, Diana, is on the run from a violent, abusive ex-husband. When Diana’s husband finds her, and Casey herself is attacked shortly after, Casey knows it’s time for the two of them to disappear again.

I’m reading a physical copy of this book from the library and don’t always have the book with me (plus I was able to renew it!) so it’s taking awhile to finish the book. I have a Kindle book I’m also reading that I take with me when I’m away from the house.

Arabella and the Battle of Venus by David D. Levine

Adventures of Arabella Ashby #2

Science Fiction, steampunk, alt-history

 

 

 

I listened to more of this audiobook and am enjoying this book set in Iceland. I plan to read more books in this series if they are translated!

Reykjavik Nights: Murder in Reykjavik by Arnaldur Indridason

Audiobook

Translator: Victoria Cobb

Narrator: George Guidall

Inspector Erlendur #0

Mystery, Police Procedural

Recently finished

Both of the books I read are books that were published this month–August. I was happy to find them at my library as ebooks. I can’t afford books–whether they’re ebooks or print books–which cost $9 or more and I’m not going to buy a book from an author I haven’t read before unless it’s under $5.

This was a debut book and I enjoyed reading about Rachel. I haven’t seen anything about a second book, but hope it comes out before too long.

Among the Dead by J.R. Backlund

Rachel Carver #1

Mystery, Police Procedural

 

I read this book quickly since it was due on Monday of this week. This was really different from anything I’ve read for a while and I enjoyed it. It’s contemporary fiction and I’d also call it women’s fiction.

Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta

Series: None

Contemporary Fiction, humor

 

 

 

Reading next

I have the print versions of several library books to read–Wife of the Gods by Kwei Quartey (a mystery set in Africa) and The Branson Beauty by Claire Booth (a mystery taking place near Branson, Missouri). My problem is that I don’t read as many print versions of books. I don’t like to carry the books with me when I leave the house (I want my Kindle for that). I always have my Kindle in my purse. So it sometimes takes me awhile to read a print version as is happening with my Arabella book (see above).

I also want to start A Dragon of a Different Color by Rachel Aaron after all my library books.

What books are you looking forward to reading? What have you read? And what are you reading now?

WWW Wednesday: August 23

This meme is hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. The idea is to answer the three questions below. For more information check out the Taking on a World of Words blog.

  • What are you reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading

I haven’t read many books this month. I’ve had other things to do plus my eyes are bothering me. Allergies, I think. 😦

I’m reading a physical copy of this book from the library and don’t always have the book with me so it’s taking awhile to finish the book. I have a Kindle book I’m also reading that I take with me when I’m away from the house!

I’m in the middle of this book and I’m enjoying it. I like how this alternate history parallels our history, but puts its own spin on the history. For example, Napoleon is imprisoned on the Moon and that’s where he escapes from!

Arabella and the Battle of Venus by David D. Levine

Adventures of Arabella Ashby #2

Science Fiction, steampunk, alt-history

The thrilling adventures of Arabella Ashby continue in the second book in Hugo-winning author David D. Levine’s swashbuckling sci-fi, alt-history series!

This is a debut book and one I’m enjoying a lot. This is also a library book, but I got it as an ebook from the library. So I’m reading it on my Kindle and hope to finish it before long.

Among the Dead by J.R. Backlund

Rachel Carver #1

Mystery, Police Procedural

Former North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation agent Rachel Carver blames herself for the collateral death of an innocent woman in her last case. Unable to accept her superior’s attempts to cover up the incident, she turned in her badge. But when a former partner asks her to consult on a new murder case, she reluctantly agrees, traveling to a small, remote mountain community, where she’s tasked with leading a group of inexperienced detectives on a hunt for the killer. 

I’m enjoying reading about a police officer in Iceland. I haven’t really connected with Erlendur, but I hope I can find more books and that he comes alive in future books.

Reykjavik Nights: Murder in Reykjavik by Arnaldur Indridason

Translator: Victoria Cobb

Narrator: George Guidall

Inspector Erlendur #0

Mystery, Police Procedural, Audiobook

Erlendur has recently joined the police force as a young officer and immediately sinks into the darkness of Reykjavik’s underworld. Working nights, he discovers the city is full of car crashes, robberies, drinkers and fighters. And sometimes an unexplained death.

A homeless man Erlendur knows is found drowned. But few people care. Or when a young woman on her way home from a club vanishes. Both cases go cold.

Two lost people from two different worlds. Erlendur is not an investigator, but his instincts tell him their fates are worth pursuing. How could they be linked?

 

Recently finished

Science fiction, space opera and a mystery! It’s also a military science fiction, but rather light on the military aspects. I liked it nonetheless. And I already have the second book and hope to read it before too long.

The Cold Between by Elizabeth Bonesteel

Central Corps #1

Science Fiction, Space Opera, Mystery

When her crewmate Danny is murdered on the colony of Volhynia, Central Corps engineer Commander Elena Shaw is shocked to learn the main suspect is her lover, Treiko Zajec. She knows Trey is innocent—he was with her when Danny was killed. So who is the real killer and why are the cops framing an innocent man?

 

I liked this book, too, and look forward to reading the second book in the series. There were quite a few characters so it was a little hard to keep track of all the characters during the narration. That wasn’t helped by the fact that it took me about three weeks to listen to the whole book!

Dark Run by Mike Brooks

Narrator: Damian Lynch

Keiko #1

Science Fiction, space opera

The Keiko is a ship of smugglers, soldiers of fortune and adventurers, travelling Earth’s colony planets searching for the next job. And nobody talks about their past.

 

Reading next

I hope to start Mrs. Fletcher when I finish Among the Dead. It should be a good change of pace. I’ve read lots of good things about this book so I hope I’ll enjoy it.

Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta

Series: None

Contemporary Fiction, humor

Eve Fletcher is trying to figure out what comes next. A forty-six-year-old divorcee whose beloved only child has just left for college, Eve is struggling to adjust to her empty nest when one night her phone lights up with a text message. Sent from an anonymous number, the mysterious sender tells Eve, “U R my MILF!” Over the months that follow, that message comes to obsess Eve. While leading her all-too-placid life—serving as Executive Director of the local senior center by day and taking a community college course on Gender and Society at night—Eve can’t curtail her own interest in a porn website called MILFateria.com, which features the erotic exploits of ordinary, middle-aged women like herself. Before long, Eve’s online fixations begin to spill over into real life, revealing new romantic possibilities that threaten to upend her quiet suburban existence.

Meanwhile, miles away at the state college, Eve’s son Brendan—a jock and aspiring frat boy—discovers that his new campus isn’t nearly as welcoming to his hard-partying lifestyle as he had imagined. Only a few weeks into his freshman year, Brendan is floundering in a college environment that challenges his white-dude privilege and shames him for his outmoded, chauvinistic ideas of sex. As the New England autumn turns cold, both mother and son find themselves enmeshed in morally fraught situations that come to a head on one fateful November night.

Sharp, witty, and provocative, Mrs. Fletcher is a timeless examination of sexuality, identity, parenthood, and the big clarifying mistakes people can make when they’re no longer sure of who they are or where they belong.

This is one of my favorite series so I’m happy to have this book to read. I want to read it soon!

A Dragon of a Different Color by Rachel Aaron

Heartstriker #4

Urban Fantasy

To save his family from his tyrannical mother, Julius had to step on a lot of tails. That doesn’t win a Nice Dragon many friends, but just when he thinks he’s starting to make progress, a new threat arrives.

Turns out, things can get worse. Heartstriker hasn’t begun to pay for its secrets, and the dragons of China are here to collect. When the Golden Emperor demands his surrender, Julius will have to choose between loyalty to the sister who’s always watched over him and preserving the clan he gave everything to protect.

 

What books are you looking forward to reading? What have you read? And what are you reading now?

WWW Wednesday: Aug 9

This meme is hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. The idea is to answer the three questions below. For more information check out the Taking on a World of Words blog.

  • What are you reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading

I had a nine-hour car ride to and from northern Wisconsin this last weekend. That gave me  time to read–though I still had to talk some to my husband and daughter who were with me. I can’t believe they expected that of me…lol.

……………….

Science fiction, space opera and a mystery! Oh, yes! I’m close to finishing this book and enjoying it so much. Very good. I like the characters and the story. Kind of makes me think of things happening in our world right now.

The Cold Between by Elizabeth Bonesteel

Central Corps #1

Science Fiction, Space Opera, Mystery

When her crewmate Danny is murdered on the colony of Volhynia, Central Corps engineer Commander Elena Shaw is shocked to learn the main suspect is her lover, Treiko Zajec. She knows Trey is innocent—he was with her when Danny was killed. So who is the real killer and why are the cops framing an innocent man?

While retracing Danny’s last hours, they discover that his death may be tied to a mystery from the past: the destruction of a Central Corps starship at a wormhole near Volhynia. For twenty-five years, Central Gov has been lying about the tragedy, even willing to go to war with the outlaw tribe PSI to protect their secrets.

 

I’m still listening to the audiobook and enjoying the it a lot. Not a lot of time or places to listen though.

Dark Run by Mike Brooks

Narrator: Damian Lynch

Keiko #1

Science Fiction, space opera

The Keiko is a ship of smugglers, soldiers of fortune and adventurers, travelling Earth’s colony planets searching for the next job. And nobody talks about their past.

But when a face from Captain Ichabod Drift’s former life send them on a run to Old Earth, all the rules change.

Trust will be broken, and blood will be spilled.

Recently finished

I did finish the latest book in this Rhys Bowen series. Really enjoyed it and hope to have the review up this week.

On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service by Rhys Bowen

Her Royal Spyness #11

Historical Mystery–1930’s Ireland, England and Italy

Reading next

Several books I had on hold at the library came in last week so I need to and want to read them soon:

Arabella and the Battle of Venus by David D. Levine

Adventures of Arabella Ashby #2

Science Fiction, steampunk, alt-history

The thrilling adventures of Arabella Ashby continue in the second book in Hugo-winning author David D. Levine’s swashbuckling sci-fi, alt-history series!

The swashbuckling Arabella Ashby is back for brand new adventure in the ongoing story of her life among the stars.

Arabella’s wedding plans to marry Captain Singh of the Honorable Mars Trading Company are interrupted when her fiancé is captured by the French and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp on swampy Venus. Now, Arabella must find passage to an enemy-controlled planet in the middle of a war, bribe or fight her way past vicious guards, and rescue her Captain.

To do this she must enlist the help of the dashing privateer, Daniel Fox of the Touchstone and build her own clockwork navigational automaton in order to get to Venus before the dread French general, Joseph Fouché, the Executioner of Lyon.

Once on Venus, Arabella, Singh, and Fox soon discover that Napoleon has designed a secret weapon, one that could subjugate the entire galaxy if they can’t discover a way to stop Fouché, and the entire French army, from completing their emperor’s mandate.

Among the Dead by J.R. Backlund

Rachel Carver #1

Mystery

Former North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation agent Rachel Carver blames herself for the collateral death of an innocent woman in her last case. Unable to accept her superior’s attempts to cover up the incident, she turned in her badge. But when a former partner asks her to consult on a new murder case, she reluctantly agrees, traveling to a small, remote mountain community, where she’s tasked with leading a group of inexperienced detectives on a hunt for the killer. The trek has hardly begun when what seems to be the act of a loner proves to be much more as Rachel’s team comes under attack―and a detective is killed in the fallout.

Now that the stakes have risen, Rachel’s old employers at the SBI step in to take over the investigation. But Rachel, convinced they are on the wrong track, continues to work the case alone. And just as she delves into the town’s past, she discovers a secret history that connects the victims―one that makes her the target of a man who would kill to keep it a secret―in Among the Dead, J. R. Backlund’s gripping mystery debut.

Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta

Series: None

Contemporary Fiction, humor

Eve Fletcher is trying to figure out what comes next. A forty-six-year-old divorcee whose beloved only child has just left for college, Eve is struggling to adjust to her empty nest when one night her phone lights up with a text message. Sent from an anonymous number, the mysterious sender tells Eve, “U R my MILF!” Over the months that follow, that message comes to obsess Eve. While leading her all-too-placid life—serving as Executive Director of the local senior center by day and taking a community college course on Gender and Society at night—Eve can’t curtail her own interest in a porn website called MILFateria.com, which features the erotic exploits of ordinary, middle-aged women like herself. Before long, Eve’s online fixations begin to spill over into real life, revealing new romantic possibilities that threaten to upend her quiet suburban existence.

Meanwhile, miles away at the state college, Eve’s son Brendan—a jock and aspiring frat boy—discovers that his new campus isn’t nearly as welcoming to his hard-partying lifestyle as he had imagined. Only a few weeks into his freshman year, Brendan is floundering in a college environment that challenges his white-dude privilege and shames him for his outmoded, chauvinistic ideas of sex. As the New England autumn turns cold, both mother and son find themselves enmeshed in morally fraught situations that come to a head on one fateful November night.

Sharp, witty, and provocative, Mrs. Fletcher is a timeless examination of sexuality, identity, parenthood, and the big clarifying mistakes people can make when they’re no longer sure of who they are or where they belong.

 

A Dragon of a Different Color by Rachel Aaron

Heartstriker #4

Urban Fantasy

To save his family from his tyrannical mother, Julius had to step on a lot of tails. That doesn’t win a Nice Dragon many friends, but just when he thinks he’s starting to make progress, a new threat arrives.

Turns out, things can get worse. Heartstriker hasn’t begun to pay for its secrets, and the dragons of China are here to collect. When the Golden Emperor demands his surrender, Julius will have to choose between loyalty to the sister who’s always watched over him and preserving the clan he gave everything to protect.

What books are you looking forward to reading? What have you read? And what are you reading now?

Review: To the Moon and Back by Jill Mansell

to-the-moon-and-backTo the Moon and Back
by Jill Mansell
Series: None
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Published by Sourcebook Landmarks, 2011
E-book, purchased
446 pages
Grade: B
Synopsis: When Ellie Kendall tragically loses her husband she feels her life is over. But eventually she’s ready for a new start – at work, that is. She doesn’t need a new man when she has a certain secret visitor to keep her company…

Zack McLaren seems to have it all, but the girl he can’t stop thinking about won’t give him a second glance. If only she’d pay him the same attention she lavishes on his dog.

Moving to North London, Ellie meets neighbour Roo who has a secret of her own. Can the girls sort out their lives? Guilt is a powerful emotion, but a lot can happen in a year in Primrose Hill…

Over dinner, another businessman’s wife asked Ellie if she could recommend a good Botox doctor in Harley Street.

Ellie said, “Sorry, I’ve never had Botox.”

The wife, whose name was Kara, said, “Oh my God, why not?”

“I’m twenty-nine.”

“Jesus, you’re leaving it late! I started when I was twenty!” Kara, who had a face like a boa constrictor, leaned forward and flared her nostrils with difficulty. “By the time I was your age I’d had six procedures . . . eyes, ears, plus a full face-lift!”

“And you had your knees done,” her husband chimed in. “What is it you always say? Nothing worse than a woman with pudgy knees.”

Cheers

  • I really like the characters in this book. At first I wasn’t too sure about Roo, but she turned out to be a good friend to Ellie. She makes some bad choices, but she’s a colorful character.
  • I thought the author did a good job showing the denial and grief and unhappiness which happens when someone we love dies.
  • I like the humor Ms. Mansell puts in her books. It makes them fun to read even when the book starts with the death of a spouse.
  • I read lots of books which are in a series and I like that, but sometimes it’s nice to read a book with no sequel. We get a slice of the characters’ lives and can imagine them continuing on through the years. This works well for me when the people are happy by the end of the book!
  • This is a great summer read. The first part is sad, but I like the way Ellie is eventually able to start living her life again. And the book is fun to read. I kept reading wanting to know what happens next.
  • I like the way the author shows that life isn’t always tidy. All the people in this book have problems with relationships. They all manage to learn and grow from their experiences.
  • I like the romances in the story.

Jeers

  • Not a genre I want to read all the time.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • This is the second book I’ve read by Ms. Mansell and I enjoyed both. I want to read more of them.
  • A nice change from what I usually read.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • Jill Mansell lives with her family in Bristol. She used to work in the field of Clinical Neurophysiology but now writes full-time. She’s published 26 books so far.

Reading Challenges

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • TBR Pile Challenge–hosted by the Bookish blog

TBR Review: Millie’s Fling by Jill Mansell

millies-flingMillie’s Fling
by Jill Mansell
Series: None
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Published by Sourcebooks Landmark (originally published by Headline Review, 2001)
E-book, purchased
501 pages
Grade: B
Synopsis: Bestselling novelist Orla Hart owes her life to her friend Millie Brady, whose rotten boyfriend has just left her. So Orla invites Millie to Cornwall, where Millie looks forward to a summer without any dating whatsoever. But Orla envisions Millie as the heroine of her next novel and decides to find Millie the man of her dreams. Except the two women have drastically different ideas about what kind of guy that should be.

Millie watched Orla have an idea; she actually saw it happen. It was like when Tom thought of a terrific new way of catching Jerry and a light bulb flashed on above his head. In similarly cartoony fashion, Orla’s green eyes widened with delight and her mouth began to stretch into an unstoppable Tom-type smile.

and

“You can’t blame Nat, he phones whenever he has the time to phone. It isn’t his fault.”

“Of course I can blame him,” shouted Hester, “and it is his fault. If he hadn’t gone away to Scotland I might have some kind of life, and then I’d never have stayed in every night like a sad old spinster and got hooked on bloody soap operas in the first place.”

Cheers

  • I really enjoyed this book. There’s lots of humor and there’s romance in the book, but for me the book is about the friendships.
  • Millie is a really great character. She’s willing to do things that make her look silly–for example, roller skate while wearing a gorilla costume! She’s quite self-aware, willing to laugh at herself and really likes other people.
  • I like the way Millie “meets” Hugh. After finding his wallet she calls him and pretends she’s someone he had a one night stand with and that she’s pregnant now. It’s funny–until Hugh reveals his wife recently died. Then Millie’s appalled by her behavior.
  • I like the characters though there were times I wanted to wring Hester’s neck! It’s hard to like Hester at times since she’s very immature during much of the book. She does grow up and change a bit by the end of the book.
  • Millie’s father and stepmom are lovely. Her mom is another story!
  • Orla is over-the-top! She’s a romance author who loves people and has lots of friends. Her enthusiasm draws everyone along with her even if they don’t want to follow!
  • The book isn’t always funny. Characters go through sad and tough times, but I like the message: “things do get better.”

Jeers

  • I don’t like Hester during a lot of this book. I’m glad she’s not the main character.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I feet the author really enjoyed writing this novel and I really enjoyed reading it.
  • I laughed out-loud a lot while reading this book and read passages to my husband–often interrupting what he was doing! I loved all the humor in the book and have already started the second book I have by Ms. Mansell.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • Jill Mansell is a British author who has written a number of books. She lives with her partner and children in Bristol and writes full-time.

Reading Challenges

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • New Author Challenge–hosted by the Literary Escapism blog
  • TBR Challenge–hosted by Wendy @ The Misadventures of Super Librarian — (the challenge this month: copyright date 10 years or older)
  • TBR Pile Challenge–hosted by the Bookish blog
  • Ultimate Reading Challenge–hosted by the Popsugar blog (a funny book)