Because you can't judge a book by its cover

Three

Julia Bairstow is shocked and shattered when she discovers her sister’s brutally murdered body. The Mysterious Lady Law by Robert Appleton is a steampunk mystery, after the police are unable to develop any leads in the murder, Lady Law approaches Julia offering to solve the case.  At first Julia is thrilled to have the great detective on the case but as events unfold she starts to wonder if Constable Grant is correct in questioning Lady Law’s methods.

Constable Al Grant has questioned the mysterious Lady Law’s method of getting her answers since she refused to take on a personal case for him. Al feels drawn to Julia and worries that Lady Law is not giving all the  facts when she solves a case. Al decides to keep a close on Julia as she starts to do her own investigation of Lady Law.

I have to admit I partly chose this book because of the book cover, isn’t it fabulous?! Appleton’s description of the steampunk world is brilliant and imaginative. At one point in the story Al and Julia ride an airship to see the launch of an earth moving ship set to travel along Jules Vernon’s path, the description of everything made this one of my favorite scenes. The mystery was great and the end information was interesting regarding Lady Law but I felt that the story got a little convoluted towards the end. After finishing the story I had to stop and think about who had killed Julia’s sister because the story shifts to follow Lady Law’s story line and less about Julia’s sister’s murder. I really enjoyed this story besides that, found the characters intriguing, and loved the descriptions.

Be aware that when the main characters go to confront Lady Law there is an interesting ménage scene, they don’t describe it in detail just mention that it is occurring, which is this novel received the rating that it did.

You can read an excerpt here.

Rating:

Content:

Title: The Mysterious Lady Law

Author: Robert Appleton

Format:  eBook

AISN: B004GB1TB8

Publisher: Carina Press

Release Date: January 31, 2011

Available for purchase: Amazon, Carina Press

Reviewer: Jessica

**I received a copy of this book from NetGalley but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.

Anastasia Romanov, in Anastasia’s Secret by Susanne Dunlap, has quite the life. She is one of the daughters of the Tsar of Russia, and has life pretty easy. Her family travels from palace to palace depending on the time of year, and she has new toys to play with at each new palace. As she gets a little older, the revolutions in Russia begin to emerge. As the fighting escalades, each member of the royal family does as much as they can to help out by knitting bandages, reading to the wounded soldiers, and even learning basic nursing practices. Much blood is shed and the Bolsheviks eventually seize control of the government, banishing the imperial family to live in Siberia. The rebels heavily debate the future of the royal family, but even in this turmoil, Anastasia finds her love, Sasha. Sasha was a guard of the imperial family when Anastasia was young, but has since then switched to the rebels in order to stay close to her. The family had many different troubles to fight through. Some were personal struggles and some were struggles that the entire family had to fight together. The imperial family lost so much throughout this life changing event, but they always stuck together.

I liked this book, but at times it was hard to follow. Susanne Dunlap did a good job of finding facts to make this book historically accurate and it definitely paid off! The book continually kept me in awe at how drastically the imperial family’s lives were changed, and it all happened within a relatively brief amount of time. This book was a little more graphic than I generally like to read, but overall it was very good.

Rating:

Content:

Title: Anastasia’s Secret

Author: Susanne Dunlap

Format: Paperback, Hardbound

Page Nos.: 352

ISBN: 978-1599904207

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

Release Date: March 2010

Available for Purchase: Amazon, Bloomsbury

Reviewer: Jillian

**I received a copy of this book from Bloomsbury Publishing but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.

Allegra Fairweather is the investigator to call when something supernatural is going on. In Allegra Fairweather: Paranormal Investigator by Janni Nell, Allegra is invited to Scotland to see the rare Dedfield Rose, said to only bloom when death is going to happen soon.   Soon after Allegra arrives a mauled dead body appears near the Rose and Allegra must figure out how the person was killed and stop the killer before they strike again.

To further complicate matters, Allegra finds herself attracted to Douglas MacGregor, the pub owner who called her to investigate the rose but unable to act on that attraction because her sexy guardian angel Caspar has appeared (Allegra gave him that name when he first saved her life when she was a child).  Caspar cannot act on any attraction with a mortal or he will be doomed to be a guardian angel for an additional 1,000 years. Of course, being in Scotland leads Allegra to other paranormal events and she must figure out how they are all connected.

Nell’s novel is an entertaining read. In a genre that abounds with vampires and shape-shifters it is nice to see an author use other mythical creatures including guardian angels, banshees and cursed ghosts in her created world. I love the guardian angel, his mystery, his obvious concern for Allegra and his inability to ride inside a car without getting car sick.   The novel is told from the first person point of view of Allegra, which gives the novel a witty monologue to the events as the unfolded. Nell does a great job in making believable characters in a slightly unbelievable setting.

You can read an excerpt here.

Rating:

Title: Allegra Fairweather: Paranormal Investigator

Author: Jannie Nell

Format:  ebook

ISBN: B003NX7C20

Publisher: Carina Press

Release Date: June 2010

Available for purchase: Amazon.com

Reviewer: Jessica

**I received a copy of this book from the NetGalley but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.

Jasmine Parks is one the best vampire hunters in the CIA, but after the death of her entire team she is surprised when the best hunter in the agency requests her to be his partner, the legendary vampire Vayl.  Once Bitten, Twice Shy by Jennifer Rardin follows Jaz and Vayl as they undertake what should have been a routine capture of a rogue vampire.  As the two go undercover to stop the leader of the terrorists group ‘Sons of Paradise’ they discover a much more menacing threat to humanity and vampire kind alike.

Jasmine is a believable character, struggling to balance her job in the CIA which requires her to travel all the time, a non-existent love life and a diabetic father who continually ignores his doctor’s advice and routinely scares off nurses. Jasmine’s belief in doing what was right for her family, even when she admits that her family relationships are strained at best, is admirable but her approach to tackling them, both with anger and humor made me like her.

Vayl, the mysterious vampire, by the end of the novel you understand more of who he is and some of the things he has gone through but there is still alot that needs to be figured out, including his reasons for doing some of the things he did. There a few supporting characters that really contributed to the story, including Bergman a neurotic, paranoid computer genius. I loved his quirks and super cool techie toys.

This is the first book in a serious of seven (as of November 2010), the story line was left wide open with a lot more back story with each of the characters.  I really liked it, there was no sex which seems so prevalent in the paranormal/urban fantasy genre, which is not to say there wasn’t sexual tension in the novel.  I enjoyed Rardin’s fine line between the world as we know it with just a little of the paranormal thrown in. Rardin’s ability to introduce a slightly humorous quirk of a character and then incorporate it into a bigger issue later in the novel was incredibly well done and had me second guessing what I had thought earlier in the novel.

Book Order:

Once Bitten, Twice Shy

Another One Bites the Dust

Biting the Bullet

Bitten to Death

One More Bite

Bite Marks

Bitten in Two (Available November 2010)

Rating:

Title: Once Bitten, Twice Shy

Author: Jennifer Rardin

Format: Paperback and ebook

Page Nos.: 335

ISBN:  978-0316043540

Publisher: Orbit

Release Date: July 2009

Reviewer: Jessica

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Why Ratings?
It is true you can't judge a book by its cover, you also can't judge a book's graphic content by its cover. NovelReaction's goal is to provide readers with a graphic content so they can make an informed decision regarding the books they want to read. (Also, to have a great place for people to discuss books.) So sit back, pull up a beverage, and read on!
Graphic Ratings*

1 = kissing
2 = kissing, some fondling
3 = descriptive stripping but no sex
4 = sex scene but not descriptive in details
5 = full descriptive sex scene

*I am rating a specific book by an author, not the author's style. If I am aware an author writes a specific way, I will let you know.

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