Saturday, June 25, 2011

Review: Paved With Good Intentions by Keith B. Darrell

Paved With Good Intentions
by Keith B. Darrell

Genre:  Comic Paranormal Fantasy
Formats available:  paperback, ebook
Published by: Amber Book Company
Publication Date: January 15, 2010
Length: 322 pgs
Source:  print book provided by author

Halos & Horns, #1 

DESCRIPTION from Goodreads:

Exiled on Earth, naive angel Gabriel and amoral demon Lucifer, in the human guise of "Gabe Horn" and "Lou Cypher", form an unlikely partnership as private investigators in Las Vegas. Their adventures take them across the seven heavenly realms, into the nine levels of Hell, through the dream realm of the Dreamscape, and even through time to Camelot. Along the way, the pair encounter a wickedly funny assortment of angels, demons, witches, warlocks, vampires, and other supernatural creatures.

Darrell has devised some of the most imaginative characters in contemporary fantasy, including an intriguing array of protagonists (Miss Twitch, a Salem witch; Emma, a British schoolgirl and witch in training, and Morgan Summers, a Dreamwalker) and antagonists (sadistic witch-hunter Nathaniel Thornhill, a golem, a Paiute Shaman, the corporate vampires of Nosferatu, Inc., trampires, gangsters, and demons). Some of the vampires include Sharon - she's Jewish, crosses don't bother her; Pandora - trouble follows her like a shadow; Claude - he's too claustrophobic to use a coffin; and Artemus - a 10-year-old boy who's been a vampire for 457 years. But the real stars are the ultimate odd couple, Gabriel and Lucifer, whose comedic banter and improbable escapades will amuse and thrill readers and leave them asking for more.


A demon (Lucifer) and an angel (Gabriel) are sent to Earth on a mission by their respective masters. In the first chapter they appear to bungle this mission so they go into hiding in Las Vegas where they open a Private Investigations business under the guise of Lou Cypher and Gabe Horn. The story follows their adventures as they deal with numerous supernatural characters and events. As the story goes along it appears to lose the original mission for which Lucifer and Gabriel were sent to Earth, but all comes together at the end and sets up a continuation of the story.

The chapters read almost like a bunch of short stories that have some connecting threads. It reminded me of a TV show where each episode is mostly a story in itself but is all leading up to the season finale when the details start to come together and a few loose ends get tied up, but mostly it leaves a cliffhanger for the next season’s story.

When I first saw this book and read the blurb, it reminded me a bit of Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman -- a comic fantasy involving a demon and an angel on a good vs. evil mission with a cast of quirky characters. Well, you do get some of that but it is not at all like Good Omens. The feel of story was very different and it didn’t have the same funny factor or sense of satire. The best chuckle for me was on the first page and though it didn’t really give me the LOLs I was expecting, it doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy it.

On the technical side, there were more than a handful of typos in the print version...don’t know about the digital version. There was also a scene that had what I feel was a continuity issue. The other issue I had was the relationship between Lucifer and Miss Twitch. This might be a small spoiler, so fair warning...

Start spoilerage...This is not a romance book so I don’t expect a big romantic build up or a lot of emphasis on a romance, but the relationship between Lucifer and Miss Twitch seemed to happen by was just there. One minute they are showing only the slightest clues of attraction and the next minute they are in love. This relationship actually has some significance to the overall story...End spoilerage.

Likewise, the discovery between Lucifer/Gabriel and Miss Twitch that the other was of a supernatural nature was another osmosis moment for me. It just seemed to happen without much more fanfare than choosing which cereal to have in the morning. Not even a simple Oh, you’re a demon! or Oh, you’re a witch! to be had. It seems to be simply accepted without any outward acknowledgment.

So yeah, I had a few issues with the story, but overall the writing style was comfortable and I enjoyed the back and forth between Lucifer and Gabriel even if it wasn’t as funny as expected. This book wasn’t a page-turner for me but it kept my interest. It was a quirky read and I quickly grew to like Lucifer, Gabriel, and Miss Twitch. I am interested in knowing what happens to them, which might have something to do with that darn cliffhanger! :)

Rating: 3 (I Liked It)  And a few extra brownie points for the Harry Potter spoof!

Typos: 17 (refers to 1st print version - some of these may have been corrected in the 2nd printing)

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This book is available in paperback and ebook format (Kindle only at this time, but other formats forthcoming).  Book 2 in this series, And a Child Shall Lead Them, was recently released. You can find Keith B. Darrell on the web at:


Get the book!  Amazon Kindle | Amazon Paperback

The ebook is currently a sweet deal at .99 cents through the remainder of June!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Review: Dead People by Edie Ramer

Dead People
by Edie Ramer

Genre:  Paranormal Romance Mystery
Formats available:  ebook
Publication Date: November 18, 2010
Word Count: approx. 89,900 (Novel)
Kindle Locations:  6338
Source:  ebook provided by author

Haunted Hearts, #1 

DESCRIPTION from Goodreads: 
When Cassie Taylor talks, ghosts listen. She wants to heal their souls so they can leave earth. Brooding songwriter Luke Rivers wants to give his recently found daughter a normal home, but he discovers his new house in small town Wisconsin is haunted by a ghost with an attitude. His ghost whisperer has an attitude too — even before someone tries to kill her. So why does he have the hots for her? And why does she lust after him? He wants conventional; she wants acceptance. No wonder she thinks men are hard and dead people are easy.

Dead People is a romance wrapped up in a ghostly mystery.  There is more emphasis on the romance than the mystery.  In fact, if you are looking for a classic whodunit that keeps you guessing until the end, then this isn't the book for you.  Like Ramer's other book, Cattitude, the mystery is more of a howdunit and whydunit than a whodunit.  The bad guy is made obvious by the author early in the book, but there are a few mild red herrings thrown in to make you wonder if it might possibly be someone else.

The attraction between Cassie and Luke starts off immediately but it's not in-your-face instant attraction. The reader isn't hit over the head with it from the get go. They are both dealing with personal baggage that makes them keep their distance and resist each other.  Luke is suddenly a father to a daughter he didn't even know he had and whose mother is a junkie.  Cassie is independent and spunky but also has self-image issues and has given up on finding love due to always being treated like a freak by boyfriends, classmates, and family because of her ghost whispering.  She has learned not to expect anything from people and to keeps her distance. She prefers the companionship of Joe, her ghostly friend and sidekick. I really liked Joe's character and wished he had a bigger part in the book, but it looks like he will have a book of his own in the next installment of this series. I also liked the fact that Cassie wasn't the perfect heroine with the perfect body, though at times I think there was a little too much focus on it.

Overall, I liked the story but sometimes the dialogue didn't work for me and was a little confusing at times.  In one case, I couldn't figure out what Cassie was even responding to. On the other hand, Cassie is a bit of a smart ass and there were several good verbal exchanges or snippets of narrative that gave me a chuckle. Unfortunately, there were a lot of typos in this book and it did start to distract me along with a few other nitpicky things.

Dead People was a good read and I feel it is well worth the time for a reader who likes a romance with a light mystery and some ghosties, a sassy but lonely ghost whisperer, a conflicted but sexy songwriter, a little girl with emotional baggage, and a not-so-scary haunted house with a temperamental ghost.  Cassie and Luke's story seemed pretty wrapped up at the end so no major cliffhangers but the story does leave the door open for the next book involving Joe the Ghost.  I'll definitely be looking for it!

Rating: 3 (I Liked It)

Typos: 29

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This book is available as an ebook.  Keep your eyes peeled for the next book in this series, Formerly Dead (Haunted Hearts, Book 2). You can find Edie Ramer on the web at:


Get the book!  Kindle | Smashwords | B & N

It's currently a sweet deal at .99 cents!