The Cowboy and the Vampire: The Last Sunset

If you have followed my book reviews for some time now, you will know that I am a big fan of the Cowboy and the Vampire series. It all started with me picking up a random book completely on name alone. I mean think about it: who isn’t intrigued by a book called The Cowboy and The Vampire?! That book started me out on a fantastic journey that has now brought me to book number four in the series: The Last Sunset.

If you haven’t read any of the previous books in the series, I must warn you that this review might include a few spoilers. If that doesn’t bother you, keep reading. Curious about the first book? Make sure you check out my review of it and then pick yourself up a copy! You will love it.

61D8FW74VpL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_The Cowboy and the Vampire: The Last Sunset.

LonePine, Wyoming has been relatively peaceful in the last two years since vampires have left the town alone. Struggling with her responsibilities as queen of the vampires, Lizzie decided it would be best to head to Russia leaving poor Tucker behind. Both are miserable, but they continue forward as separate individuals living in separate worlds determined to keep it that way. However, the peacefulness of LonePine and the world of vampires are about to get shaken up and brought together again.

The Last Sunset focuses on the continued relationship, or what’s left of it, of Tucker and Lizzie as they find themselves together once again dealing with another threat. Lizzie needs the help of Tucker’s brother to figure out why some vampires are going to sleep in the morning and not waking up again at night, so she sets out for LonePine once again. Unfortunately, Lizzies arrival sets off a series of events that may put the entire town of LonePine at risk when it turns out that a new cult in town is connected to the issues plaguing the vampires.

Much like the previous books, Tucker and Lizzie find themselves in a fight for their lives, but this book has a different feel to it than the previous ones. I’m sure a lot of it is the result of the deteriorated relationship between Tucker and Lizzie. There is a lot of pain and hurt that has occurred between the two of them, so I wasn’t surprised at the difference. However, I found myself yearning for them to put aside their pain and remember what brought them together in the first place from the moment they first come together in the book. It was kind of hard to see them at each other’s throats even if it was understandable.

I enjoyed the action in the book quite a bit too. I wondered if this book would kick off with the craziness like in the previous books, and I was not disappointed. Look at it this way: if the title the Cowboy and the Vampire wasn’t enough to make the book sound interesting, add in the fact that a religious death cult goes up against said cowboy and vampire and now you have something really interesting! But what makes the book even better is the return of my two favorite characters: Rex, Tucker’s loyal canine companion, and Lenny, Tucker’s loyal, conspiracy-theorist friend. If you want to know why they continue to be my favorites, you have to read the book!

I’m easily giving this book five stars, and I highly recommend it to anyone! If you’ve read the previous three books, you will not be disappointed in this one. It provides some nice closure to the events of the previous book, which I think we all needed. I was so shaken up by the ended of book three that I couldn’t wait to see how things turned out in book four. I’m happy to finally have the chance to find out.

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Book Review: The In-Betweener by Ann Christy

I became aware of The In-Betweener from one of the book newsletters I follow, and I thought it might be an interesting read after reading over the synopsis. The e-book was also free on Amazon, so I thought it would be a good choice as my next read after finishing my last book. I’m often a little leery of free e-books on Amazon because I’ve read quite a few bad ones. I’m happy to report that The In-Betweener was actually fairly good.

inbetweenThe story focuses on a young woman by the name of Emily, a young women forced into a life of constant fear and survival. Emily lives in a world where scientists created a cure to help people: nanites, tiny little robots designed for a single purpose. Some nanites remove cancer while others clean out clogged arteries. People could now live longer without the fear of life-threatening illnesses. Unfortunately, the technology designed to lengthen a person’s life ends up wreaking havoc when something goes horribly wrong with the nanites.

The In-Betweener tells Emily’s story by switching between current events and the events in Emily’s life that lead to her current predicament. I found telling the story in that method made it a little more fascinating because here I am reading about Emily and the horrific stuff she is dealing with while at the same time learning a little more about her the further I got into the book. I’m not usually moved by a book a whole lot, but I found myself a little melancholy after reading it. Not in a bad way mind you, but there is some emotion in this book that I wasn’t expecting.

The In-Betweener is a book I would recommend to others especially if you like post-apocalyptic stories with a young adult coming of age story in it. This was a pretty good one, and I liked the twist it put on a the topic of zombies. I don’t normally read zombie stories, so I thought I’d take a chance with this one, and I’m glad I did. I noticed that this book has two others in the series, so I’ve added them to my to-read list as well because I want to see where the author goes with Emily and if things ever get better.

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Book review: The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

Years ago, I read the Da Vinci Code when the world was going nuts over the book, what it talked about, and the debate about reality versus fiction in it. This was years before I really followed authors and carefully chose books in the order in which they were written, so I never realized The Davinci Code was actually book #2 featuring the protagonist, Robert Langdon. I never really thought about it even when I really got into book reading and started keeping lists of books I wanted to read and books I had read. The Da Vinci Code was a book I read and loved and that was it until this past week when I was wandering a local thrift shop and spotted a book by the author Dan Brown.

Book cover for the Lost Symbol by Dan BrownThe title of the book is The Lost Symbol. I had never heard of it, so I picked it up and noticed that it was the follow-up novel to The Da Vinci Code. I immediately became excited because I just found out Dan Brown wrote another book with Robert Langdon! I have no clue why I never knew about this, but I was so excited with what I viewed as a super find. I couldn’t wait to read this book.

The Lost Symbol revolves around Robert Langdon, a symbologist (a fictional field related to the study of historical symbols), and his run in with Freemasonry surrounding Washington D.C.. The story starts out with Robert receiving an urgent call from a close friend’s personal assistant. He is asked to come to Washington D.C. and speak to a group of people about the symbols of D.C. and the rich history involved with them. He agrees, flies out, and heads towards the capital building to give his speech. Unfortunately, he discovers the room he is supposed to be speaking in is completely empty. While trying to figure out what is going on, he places a call to his friend’s personal assistant only to find out the assistant doesn’t even work for his friend and had tricked him into coming to D.C.. That sets into motion a fast-paced story where Robert is in a race to unlock a well-guarded Freemason secret to save his friend.

The Lost Symbol weaves a wonderful thriller using the backdrop of Washington D.C. and the history of the Freemasons involvement with the city. Once I got into the book, I couldn’t put it down. The book doesn’t take very long to kick the action into high gear, and once it does, the action never slows down. One of my favorite parts about books like this is the use of actual locations with fictional ones. While I was reading, I made notes of places I wanted to look up to find out if it was real or part of the fiction. I’ve spent the last two days looking up some of those locations as well as the history surrounding them, and I’ve been surprised by what has ended up being real versus fiction. I look at it this way, if a fictional thriller can spark my interest in some of the history surrounding Washington D.C. then the book has done a great job.

The Lost Symbol was published in 2009. If you are like me and haven’t read it yet, I highly encourage you too if you like thrillers. The Lost Symbol has been one of the better thrillers I have read recently and reminded me why I love Dan Brown’s books. I’m actually looking forward to reading book #4 in the Robert Langdon series called Inferno. Since I rekindled my love for this series, I need to go pick up a copy and continue the story.

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Too Many Books Too Little Time

Last night, I started going over some of the Goodreads Giveaways to see if there are any books I’d love to try and get. I’m always amazed at the number of books being offered for free, but I make sure to follow one simple rule: I will only participate in a giveaway if the synopsis sounds like something I’d love to read. I will always add a giveaway book to my To-Read List regardless of whether I end up winning the book or not. I love to read, and I’m always looking for new authors and books to enjoy.

When I finished going through the about five pages of books last night, I discovered that my To-Read List is now up to 555 books. Yikes! I average about 50 books a year (trying to increase that number this year), so that means I have 11.1 years of reading ahead of me if I don’t find any additional books to read and my reading remains at the same pace. Holy cow, that is a lot of reading.

I doubt that list will ever shrink either because I’m adding new books to it on an almost weekly basis. I guess this means I’ll never run out of anything to read, which is a perfect world if you ask me.

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Let the Reading Continue!

Followers of my blog have probably noticed the long amount of time that has transpired since my last book review. Well, I decided to take a bit of an indefinite hiatus because I kind of burned myself. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue and went on to work on other projects. During that time, I’ve continued to follow some of my favorite authors and even exchanged emails with a few of them. One such email came in today from one of my favorite authors, and it reminded me that I used to enjoy writing book reviews. I then realized I missed doing that.

I’m happy to say I’m going to pick it up again. I think this time around I’ll mix it up a bit working on new books as well as older books that I find and enjoy. I’m still on Goodreads, and you are more than welcome to hook up with me there too. You can find the link to my Goodreads account to the right. I’m also on Twitter if you enjoy using Twitter. Just let me know you found me from my site.

My first book of 2016 for the blog will be Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol. It’s an older book. Published in 2009. I actually picked up a first edition at a local thrift shop. I had read The Davinci Code years ago and never read this one. I was actually excited to see it, so I’m really looking forward to reading it, and I can’t wait to share my thoughts with you on it.

It’s good to be back. 2016 should be an awesome year!

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Book Review: Mad Dog Justice by Mark Rubinstein (Repost)

Since Mark Rubinstein’s new book Mad Dog Justice is now in bookstores, I thought I’d share my review again. Below is a repost of the review I wrote when I read the book earlier this summer.

Book Review: Mad Dog Justice by Mark Rubinstein

Mad Dog Justice by Mark RubinsteinI don’t know if you know this, but I love a good thriller. Okay, I realize that if you read my blog regularly, you are probably rolling your eyes right now because I think I make that comment about every three or four posts, but it’s true! Thrillers have to be my favorite book genre because I love the intensity that some of them bring. If a book gives me that “sitting on the edge of my seat” feeling, I absolutely love it. Today, I’m happy to say that I just read a book that gives you this exact feeling as you read it: Mad Dog Justice by Mark Rubinstein.

Mad Dog Justice is a thriller that just keeps on giving from one cover to the next. It focuses on two main characters: Roddy Dolan and Danny Burns. Best friends for life, but with a dark secret. When Danny ends up getting shot while working in his office, the two of them quickly discover they are being hunted. They don’t know by who, but they have their suspicions that it stems from the secret they’ve been keeping from everyone else. With their families in danger as well as themselves, they find themselves going into hiding to uncover who is out to get them.

Why don’t they just go to the police you ask? Well, the police do get involved, but a detective quickly starts asking questions that makes things difficult for Roddy and Danny. If they are to get the full cooperation of the police, it may require them to admit to things that could ruin their lives. Will they surrender what they know, or will one of them turn the other in? You’re just going to have to read the book to find out!

The book focuses on a few different themes like the power of friendship and consequences. It’s interesting to see how Roddy and Danny’s friendship becomes very strained because of something they’ve done. When pressure builds on them possibly being outed, it doesn’t take them very long to struggle with thoughts of betrayal. The one thing I really enjoyed about the book was the whole consequences aspect. You learn very quickly in the book what the two are hiding and how it plays into their current lives. That comes into play at almost every turn. As you hope for Danny and Roddy to figure out who is coming after them, you also wonder when their past will catch up with them. That adds to the intensity of the book. Not only do you wonder if one of them will end up dead, but you also wonder when they will get caught for what they’ve done.

I really enjoyed the pacing of the book. It starts off almost immediately with Danny getting shot and the book never really slows down. The author keeps the intensity alive throughout most of the book. I don’t remember breathing much during my reading as I kept wondering what would happen next. I also finished the book very quickly because it was hard to put down. Much like the “one more turn” mentality of turn-based games like Civilization V, I found myself constantly thinking “one more page” when I had others things to do like sleep, eat, or going to work.

If you are interested in reading a really good thriller, I recommend you pick up Mad Dog Justice and give it a read. You’ll enjoy it!

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Book Review: Maxwell Street Blues by Marc Krulewitch

I believe this is may be first true detective book, and I really enjoyed the read. It took me a bit to get into the story at first because it’s slow to pick up. The author spends the opening of the book covering the criminal history of the protagonist’s family. Once the characters and everyone’s positions become established in the story, it actually picks up and turns into quite a fun detective story. I also have to give props to the author for truly making me feel like I was on the rough streets of Chicago. I’ve never been to Chicago before, so maybe it’s completely different. Regardless, I had the sense of wanting to look over my shoulder as I read through the story.

Maxwell Street Blues coverMaxwell Street Blues focuses on Jules Landau. His grandfather made a name for himself by specializing in all sorts of criminal activity, and his father followed in the same footsteps. Jules decides that he isn’t going to play by the same games and becomes a private eye. However, it isn’t easy for Jules. His name usually precedes him and not in a good way. The descendant of crooks and the son of a convict, Jules must fight to establish a name for himself while trying to avoid the unfortunate circumstances of being a Landau.

The story revolves around a murder investigation into the death of his longtime friend and somewhat adoptive brother, Snooky. It’s Jules’ father who pays him to investigate Snooky’s death. Snooky is known to watch the accounting of many shady types throughout the city, so many people just assume that he screwed up and paid the ultimate price, but Jules doesn’t believe that is the case at all because he knows Snooky made a huge name for himself for being really good at what he did. It’s up to Jules to use prove that something else must have triggered Snooky’s death and bring the real killers to justice.

As the story unfolded, I found myself fascinated at the type of character Jules Landau is. He expresses it early in the book by speaking of the Landau curse, and it comes up occasionally throughout the book. I enjoyed his ability to look danger in the eye with a hint of sarcasm while displaying his human side when he ended up hurt. You could tell that he didn’t want to stop just because he had a bruised eye or a cracked rib. In fact, I think it made him more stubborn and determined to solve the case.

The characters in the book fascinated me. People from all walks of life trying to make a living by living a lie. Everyone comfortable with corruption just because that’s the way it works in the city. That stuck with me throughout the book, and I feel like Jules felt the same way. He knew that Chicago ran on corruption, but he didn’t have a part of it. More of an onlooker passing a traffic accident: you don’t want to stare, but you can’t seem to look away. As he dug deeper into his investigation, I felt like he wanted to slap everyone in the face and tell them it doesn’t have to work out that way. That there is a better way of living and going on with your life.

Jules had two father figures in his life. I got a sense that Frownie, the man who trained him to be a private eye, became a father figure because his real father was in prison. I enjoyed the banter he had with his father and Frownie. You could tell both men loved him and expressed it in ways that only they could. In return, I could sense the Jules knew how much they cared even though all the men kept playing with the tough act. I tried to gauge if his father was trying to make up for the crimes of his past by asking his son to investigate a murder or if he did it solely because he wanted to know who killed Snooky to use his possible connections to go after them. While little was revealed, I kept getting the feeling that there was more to his father’s interest into the murder than just treating Snooky like a son.

When I began reading the book, I felt like I didn’t have much of a connection with the characters almost like the author wasn’t providing much, but as I continued to read, I found myself truly fascinated with each person and understanding them more and more. Now that I think back to the events of the book and the different characters, I see that the author fed me bits and pieces of each person’s story until I had a full view of their lives. Kind of like how an investigator pieces together a crime and what exactly happened.

If you are into private eye books, I think you will really enjoy this one. I recommend picking up a copy today. The book just came out! If you wish to look into the story more, please check out the links I have below.

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