Vampire Empire by Griffith

It has been a while since I have been so enamored with a book as to want to recommend it, so transported to a place that I didn’t want to leave it.  The name of the series requires you to throw out your preconceived “oh it’s another vampire book” notion and focus on the Empire part of the title. It’s a pulp fiction, steam punk altered world but don’t pigeon hole your borders. This series is rich in politics, characters and place. Written by a husband and wife team you will be launched into a future of humans trying to rebuild their world after the war called “the Great Killing”.

Yes, there are airships, goggles (worn by the main character Greyfriar to protect his identity), vampire clans, and kings. Heroes and heroines abound plus several villains, including the one trying to marry into the Equatorian Empire Royalty. And another trying to assassinate Princess Adele, next in line to be Empress of Equatoria. Who can you trust? Sword play, geomancy, and adventure abound. If you love the action in Pirates of the Caribbean, the mystery and intrigue of post apocalyptic London and Edinburgh, and a good old fashioned forbidden love, not to mention a story that actually has the good guys winning a few, then this series is for you. Who is the Greyfriar? Whose side is he really on? I found myself wanting to take an airship to Edinburgh and spend some time with these people. Unfortunately, I had to be gently reminded, “they aren’t real” Oh….

Guest reviewer, Mitzi

Hardcore Twenty-Four by Evanovich

This is the 24th book in Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. Evanovich always writes a fun book and this one is no different. Stephanie is contending with Diesel, Ranger, and Morelli all “courting” her, for lack of a better term. Then throw in a bunch of zombies, her grandmother’s online dating, and babysitting a 50 pound boa constrictor and you have fun, light read.

Someone is stealing brains from dead bodies in funeral homes. Then they escalate and starting killing people for their brains. Rumors abound of zombies running around Trenton, NJ. But are they really zombies? And why do they all smell like carnations? Join Stephanie and her best friend, Lula, as they get pulled into another mystery.

You really can read this as a standalone, it’s fairly easily to figure out the dynamics between the various characters. As with most of Evanovich’s books, this is a funny, thriller sure to find a wide audience.

The Templar’s Code by C.M. Palov

9047183The Templar’s Code is a well written suspense novel, similar in vein to Dan Brown or Steve Berry. Caedmon Aisquith is our determined protagonist on the hunt for the Emerald tablet, an artefact that could kill off the entire population of the world. He and girlfriend Edie Miller traipse across the East Coast of the US and London following the clues left behind by Benjamin Franklin and several founders of the USA. Conspiracy theories, murder, arson, car chases and more make this book hard to put down.

This is the second in a series of 4 books which I didn’t know when I picked it up. However, I had no trouble following the story line; it could easily be read as a standalone. My only issue was how naive Caedmon was about the danger they were in, as a former agent of MI5 I just expected a little more common sense. It didn’t deter me from reading on and I easily finished it in a few days. Recommended for anyone who enjoys a good thriller.

Recipes for Love and Murder by Sally Andrew

Tannie Maria is a warm-hearted cook who lives in a rural area of South Africa. She writes a food-based agony column for the local newspaper. One of her readers asks:

I am wondering what really matters? Really. Family? Duty? God? Friends? Food? Love?

Tannie Marie replies with great warmth and wisdom:

In the end what matters most is love and food. Without them you go hungry. And you need them to enjoy all of the other things you write about.

And Tannie Maria loves to cook and to share food. Soon she becomes involved in a murder investigation because of a letter she received from a lady looking for help with an abusive husband. Good food helps her unearth vital clues.

The book gives a very warm feeling for the area, its landscape, weather, and wildlife. Characters use many Afrikaans words. The meaning can generally be inferred from the context but a glossary is also provided. Recipes for the meals and cakes mentioned are also provided.

If you like Alexander McCall Smith’s mysteries set in Botswana, this book is for you.

Warning: Do not read this book when you are hungry or if you have no food in the house.