2015 Book #33 – Cat Out of Hell by Lynne Truss

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Title: Cat Out of Hell
Author: Lynne Truss
Date finished: 4/18/15
Genre: Fiction – Not really sure what genre
Publisher: Melville House
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Pages in book: 162
Stand alone or series: Stand alone

Blurb from the cover:

For people who both love and hate cats comes the tale of Alec Charlesworth, a librarian who finds himself suddenly alone: he’s lost his job, his beloved wife has just died. Overcome by grief, he searches for clues about her disappearance in a file of interviews between a man called “Wiggy” and a cat, Roger. Who speaks to him.
It takes a while for Alec to realize he’s not gone mad from grief, that the cat is actually speaking to Wiggy . . . and that much of what we fear about cats is true. They do think they’re smarter than humans, for one thing. And, well, it seems they are! What’s more, they do have nine lives. Or at least this one does – Roger’s older than Methuselah, and his unblinking stare comes from the fact that he’s seen it all.
And he’s got a tale to tell, a tale of shocking local history and dark forces that may link not only the death of Alec’s wife, but also several other local deaths. But will the cat help Alec, or is he one of the dark forces?

My rating: 3.75 stars out of a scale of 5
My review: This book will count for the challenge I am participating in for April, the #ReadingMyLibrary reading challenge. I checked out this book from the Simsbury Public Library. I saw this book in a recent BookPage publication I think and a couple other places so when I saw it at the library I thought I would give it a try. To be honest I thought this book was going to be a funny book. It wasn’t especially. Looking back I think there were some parts that were either funny or were supposed to be funny. Overall I found the book to be scary though. Like horror movie scary. Cats that can talk and can kill you just by hissing at you? If that’s not the stuff of horror movies then I don’t know what is.
That being said, the story line was very interesting. The book was only about 160 pages so it was short and well-paced. The story was fairly easy to follow. A lot of people died though. And I am a pretty big fan of cats so the idea of murderous talking cats was more than somewhat unpleasant to me. The story line had a good flow though from one section to the next and I honestly just loved the Sherlock Holmes and other literary and cultural references. Very good book.

The bottom line: Not what I expected but I have to say it was interesting. A bit like a horror movie. But sometimes kind of funny.

Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #1 – Undead and Unwary by MaryJanice Davidson

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Title: Undead and Unwary
Author: MaryJanice Davidson
Genre: Fiction – Paranormal comedy (with a very small amount of romance)
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group / Penguin Group
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Pages in book: 303
Stand alone or series: Series – Undead/Betsy Taylor #13

Blurb from the cover: First: kill Satan. Second: reorganize Hell. Sounded simple enough back then, but for Betsy Taylor, managing “down below” isn’t as easy as she’d hoped – even if she is doing it with her sister, Laura, a bona-fide Antichrist. So yes, Betsy has been shirking her hellish responsibilities, but she’s been just so darn busy these days. And she’s not just yanking Laura’s chain. There’s a brand-new baby drama involving a pair of uncanny (okay, terrifying) toddler twins, an upcoming birthday party that has to be planned, and, are you ready for it? Betsy’s dad – once so very dead – has been spotted in downtown St. Paul.
It’s enough to send Betsy fleeing to Hell, if only for some quiet time with Laura. But while there, in addition to meeting old acquaintances, Betsy discovers that death can be just as complicated as life.
Now, despite all the chaos, Betsy’s friends rally around, helping her handle all this fire and brimstone jazz. As for Betsy’s sister and dad – they have their own surprises in store for the vampire queen. And jolt by jolt, Betsy will discover that there’s nothing as heartwarming as family. Yeah, like Hell.

My rating: 3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will be counting towards my goal for the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge 2015 checklist under the “book with nonhuman characters” check box. This book picks up a few weeks after where the last book in the series left off. I’ve been a fan of this series from the beginning, but to be honest this book was not my favorite in the series. There was just too much reviewing of previous books, and not just references but like in depth explanations of relevant things that had happened in previous books. There was even a whole chapter that was an excerpt from a previous book. And while this is probably ideal for people who are picking up this series for the first time with this book (though I don’t know why any sane person would start a series with the thirteenth book) it ends up being pretty dry and somewhat tedious for someone who has already read the whole series and knows all the background information. I also had an issue with Betsy’s big revelation concerning Laura at the end. It never really says how she figured it out, all of a sudden a light-bulb turns on and she realizes her sister sucks. I just feel like that isn’t very realistic. I went with it though. Other than those two things, I really did enjoy the book. Betsy finally takes responsibility for Hell in an interesting way, and there are a lot of interesting developments concerning Betsy’s asshat father, Jessica’s great but weird kids, and Betsy’s abilities as the vampire Queen.

The bottom line:
  I would still recommend the series overall (and obviously this book as a piece of the series) but I wouldn’t recommend this book as a standalone.

Author website
: http://www.maryjanicedavidson.net/
Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Undead-Unwary-Queen-Betsy/dp/0425263444/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1420461969&sr=8-1
Memorable quotes from the book:

2014 – Book #104

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The hundred and fourth book I read in 2014 was Undead and Unstable by MaryJanice Davidson. This is the eleventh book in the Undead/Betsy Taylor series by this author. I finished this book on 11/26/14. I rated this book 4.0 stars out of a scale of 5. This book picks up about a week after where the last book left off. Marc has just died and everyone is trying to deal with the repercussions of that. Betsy seems to be taking it less well than the others. Betsy is determined to save Marc and bring him back from the dead. Jess and Nick (those darned humans) are opposed to this idea but Betsy is going to do it anyways.

Fortunately for Betsy, she doesn’t need to do a thing. She goes into the attic to put something away and discovers zombie Marc just shambling around up there. And then we find out from Laura that the Book of the Dead is actually made out of Sinclair. Like from his skin. Because the devil skins him alive in the future and Betsy uses his skin to make the Book of the Dead. So then Sinclair goes off for awhile and Betsy thinks it’s because he is scared but I guess he was researching.

And then Ancient Betsy pops up and says that she’s waiting for something to happen but she won’t say what. So Betsy decides on a spur of the moment decision to do something a little unexpected and kill the devil. And then Laura will have to take her place. But hopefully because she doesn’t end up working with the Lena Olin devil, hopefully Betsy doesn’t do a bunch of bad shit and the world as they know it won’t come to an end.

Overall I did really like this book, as I liked all the books in this series. This book specifically I liked the plot twists and turns and I like that Betsy took some kind of action to try and save her and Sinclair. And since the Book of the Dead was gone in the end of this book, I’m hoping she succeeded. Good read and good addition to the series.

Link to author website: http://www.maryjanicedavidson.net/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Undead-Unstable-Queen-Betsy/dp/B00B1LDDRE/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1417029191&sr=8-2

2014 – Book #101

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The hundred and first book I read in 2014 was Undead and Undermined by MaryJanice Davidson. This is the tenth book in her Undead/Betsy Taylor series. I finished this book on 11/9/14. I rated this book 4.25 stars out of a scale of 5. This book picks up almost immediately after where the last book left off. Betsy and Laura have returned from hell unscathed and Betsy is determined not to let the future she saw become the future that actually happens. She will forewarn her friends and family and she will prevent disaster. Of course first she and Sinclair must have lots of sex before she can tell everyone what’s up and what she learned on her travels.

First thing Betsy notices (it’s hard to miss) is that she’s currently in an alternate timeline. Garrett is still alive, and not only are Jess and Nick (who goes by Dick now I guess) still together, Jess is pregnant! Fortunately that’s just about the biggest differences between this timeline and the last one Betsy was in so she is still the vampire queen, and Sinclair is still madly in love with her. Oh and I forgot one of the other biggest differences is that Christian Louboutin (famous shoe designer, Betsy has about a dozen pairs of shoes by him) no longer makes shoes in this timeline, and instead Betsy has about a dozen pairs of velvet clogs (barf).

Unfortunately, someone seems to have tagged along on Betsy and Laura’s travel back to their own time. The Marc Thing from the future pops up in Betsy’s kitchen while she is debriefing her fellow house-dwellers.They manage to tape The Marc Thing up to a fridge with about eight rolls of duct tape. Unfortunately, while they’re still trying to figure out what to do with The Marc Thing, Betsy and Laura end up in a pretty nasty fight and they tumble on back to hell. Betsy ends up tumbling through and ends up in Chicago and gets hit by a car.

Overall I very much liked this book, as I do all the books in this series. I especially liked the idea of alternate timelines and how Betsy affected her own past and future when she messed with the past in the last book.

Wkipedia page about Christian Louboutin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Louboutin

Link to author website: http://www.maryjanicedavidson.net/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Undead-Undermined-Queen-Betsy/dp/B007F7R9G4/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1415662918&sr=8-1

2014 – Book #98

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Unfortunately I was not able to read the whole Undead series during the month of October for my Spooky Series Reading Challenge. That may have been over-ambitious on my part considering the amount of work that has been piling up this month (this is my second-busiest season of the year) but I tried and I will continue to finish the series over the next month. You can never really fail at reading, so I consider my first reading challenge to be a great accomplishment overall and it was fun! And so, the ninty-eighth book I finished in 2014 was Undead and Unfinished by MaryJanice Davidson. This is the ninth book in her Undead/Betsy Taylor series. I finished this book on 11/2/14. I rated this book 4.75 stars out of a scale of 5. This book picks up about two months after where the last book left off. The dreaded month of November is upon Betsy’s household and as usual she is avoiding anything and everything to do with the horrid month (Betsy has some intense opinions about November).

Betsy decides to teach her sister a thing or two about Hollywood’s version of the Antichrist, and together they watch many of the cinematic versions of Laura. Laura admits to being curious about her biological mother but its only after Laura wakes up naked in a public area that Betsy decides she’s going ot have to hike up her big girl panties and take Laura down into hell. And since Sinclair is being such a distant, cold jerk, there couldn’t be a better time for Betsy’s little field trip to hell.

When they arrive they learn that the lesson for the day for Laura is going to be time travel. And off Laura and Betsy trot to travel through time and space. Apparently since Laura is half human she needs physical contact with a blood relative (Betsy) until she gets the hang of doing the traveling on her own. And since Betsy is the one she’s punching in the face, they end up following a path of times in the past that end up being meaningful to Betsy’s life. Like seeing Sinclair when he was a little kid, and making sure that Tina turned Eric after Eric’s family died. Apparently Betsy’s interference was necessary in many ways to keep the time stream operating as she knew it, and one bonus thrown in that she was able to fix something she wished she could undo.

Overall, the idea behind this book can be a little unbelievable if you think too hard about it. Why did Betsy have to go back in time to fix it so that things happened that should have already happened? And why was that one bonus thrown in that she made it so she never bit Nick? And why did she only get to go to the future for one stop, and why was it so unbelievably sucky? I personally loved the story line to this book, it was different, it kept me interested, and it had plenty of twists and turns along the way. I saw on Amazon that a lot of people were upset about the direction of this book but I thought that it was a great addition to the series.

Link to author website: http://www.maryjanicedavidson.net/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Undead-Unfinished-Mary-Janice-Davidson/dp/B004R07A1G/ref=tmm_hrd_title_2