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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

37) The Dead and Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley

The Blurb :

On a spring morning in 1951, eleven-year-old chemist and aspiring detective Flavia de Luce gathers with her family at the railway station, awaiting the return of her long-lost mother, Harriet. Yet upon the train's arrival in the English village of Bishop's Lacey, Flavia is approached by a tall stranger who whispers a cryptic message into her ear.

Moments later, he is dead, mysteriously pushed under the train by someone in the crowd...

Who was this man, what did his words mean, and why were they intended for Flavia? Back home at Buckshaw, the de Luces' crumbling estate, Flavia puts her sleuthing skills to the test.

Following a trail of clues sparked by the discovery of a reel of film stashed away in the attic, she unravels the deepest secrets of the de Luce clan, involving none other than Winston Churchill himself.

Surrounded by family, friends, and a famous pathologist from the Home Office - and making spectacular use of Harriet's beloved Gypsy Moth plane, Blithe Spirit - Flavia will do anything, even take to the skies, to land a killer.

My Thoughts :

I am addicted to Flavia de Luce but only the audio versions.  I am nearly up to date with the series and admit I already used my new Audible credits to download the latest addition to the series.

Installment #6 and there is a certain wow factor to this one that I can't believe anyone saw coming!  The Dead and their Vaulted Arches brings a twist to the series that will change the future of Flavia de Luce as well as everyone in Buckshaw and quite possibly Bishop's Lacey.  I knew how things would begin despite the cliffhanger ending of the previous book leaving things open.  There were other possibilities so it came as no surprise that Harriet had come back home the way she did.

At first I was quite annoyed at the events which left everything rather boring and depressing.  There were some new faces and a few interesting developments such as de Luce cousins coming to visit and the appearance of Winston Churchill in Bishop's Lacey but Gladys hardly got mud in her spokes and Flavia was given a very short leash in this book.

Despite the seemingly dull start there was some extremely exciting revelations by the end of this book.  The twist this story has made me, if possible, love the series even more.  It was obvious that something pretty big would need to happen due to the problems at Buckshaw but everything that came to light in this sixth book made sense and totally changed the dynamic of the series.

I can't wait to listen to book seven.  Flavia is a delight to sleuth along with and the narrator does an amazing job bringing her to life.  The young lady has some more tales to tell and I am eager to find out what affect her new direction in life will have on her and everyone else.  So expect the next book to be read very soon!

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Amberkatze's Book Blog

Monday, March 23, 2015

36) Life Sentence by Kelley Armstrong

The Blurb :

A duo of zombie tales by best selling author Kelley Armstrong.


As other Cabals look to vampires for the cure to mortality, Daniel Boyd sets his sights on the “other” undead: zombies. Of course, finding volunteers for his experiments proves a bit of a challenge, but when a man only has six months to live, he’s willing to break a few rules.


In the aftermath of a zombie virus outbreak, a troop of soldiers fights to save their people from extinction. But there’s something a little different about this particular group of survivors...

My Thoughts :

There is something very satisfying when curling up with than a Kelley Armstrong story!  I am trying to satiate my hunger for more full length novels by collecting and reading the many short stories that are available.  Life Sentence is one of those novellas and has two tales of the Living Dead inside.

Life Sentence is the first story in the duo and is a semi scary read with some great twists.  A story with a situation you could relate to and some strange and weird ways to extend life.  The story has some ties to the Otherworld series but doesn't really mention anything or anyone from the series, A nice short read that is enjoyable but over too quickly.

Last Stand must be one of my least favourite read by this author.  I believe there is only one other time I didn't really enjoy a story by Kelley Armstrong and this now makes two.  It wasn't that it was bad or not worth reading but there was just something about it that didn't make me wish the story would keep going.  I was glad when it was over and totally uninterested in the characters and plot. Which has never happened in relation to this author.

A nice small collection.  A definite read for the fans and a nice way to get to know the author if you haven't already had the pleasure.

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

35) Muffin but Murder by Victoria Hamilton

The Blurb :

Muffin maker Merry Wynter hopes to find a buyer for the castle she’s recently inherited. But when she throws a party to draw interest, she finds someone who’s bought the farm instead…

Merry’s career as a New York City stylist has crumbled, but her passion for muffins has helped her rise upstate in Autumn Vale. Everyone in town loves the tasty treats. Still, she would like to return to her glamorous life. Besides, the upkeep of Wynter Castle is expensive, and Merry’s cup isn’t exactly overflowing.

So in order to bring some prospective buyers into the mix, Merry whisks together a spooky soiree and decorates the castle with dashes of fabric and a sprinkling of spider webs. Friends new and old are invited, and everyone has a blast. But as the revelers empty out, Merry notices one partygoer who isn’t leaving—or breathing. Now Merry must hurry to unmask a killer before her perfect plans turn into a recipe for disaster…

My Thoughts :

I remember liking the debut in this Merry Muffin Mysteries and was looking forward to this sequel.  However when I finally got around to sitting down with this one I instantly felt a little 'meh' about the whole thing.  The first chapters in the book were basically a rehashing of the first book with some new bits and bobs thrown in to confuse.  I kept going, waiting for the murder mystery, but the wait was a long one and I have to say I was tempted to give up.

The one good thing about this sequel is the concept.  It is a nice enough idea despite being a little unrealistic at times but most cozies are.  However there are so many little annoying things inside this second book that really make me wonder if I would read a third installment.  The muffin aspect isn't really that big and doesn't make much sense this time around.  I find it hard to believe that after inheriting this amazing castle that Merry hasn't explored it all.  Maybe she hasn't see all of the grounds but the fact that she went into the attic for the first time in this book was very weird and laughable.

I think the main pain in this book is the amount of characters.  I tried to keep them in their place and know who they all were and how they were connected but it was impossible.  Even the main characters who all seem to be living in the castle were hard to keep track of.  Either there was just too much information or the author didn't manage to explain things properly.  I am too confused to know for sure.

What else?  Well the sudden announcement that there was another probable heir was confusing.  Merry's dithering about it was also confusing.  I think the majority of people would insist on an instant DNA test.  Yet she decides to have people search for clues and interview people who knew her uncle.  A waste of time.  Oh and the party also seemed like a big waste of time.  I don't understand how one grown woman with so many supposedly clever friends around her can't come up with a better way to make money and keep the castle.

I could keep going but at the end of the day I finished the book despite the many problems I had with the story and characters.  The murder mystery plot wasn't that bad but all the twists and turns the author put in the book to make it possible and plausible really ruined the general concept and make things too complicated.

If there is a third book in the series I may read it.  I do like Victoria Hamilton's Vintage Kitchen mysteries and will definitely be catching up with them soon.

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Currently Reading & To Be Read

It has been a long busy week with no time or energy for reading.  Quite a good week audio book wise but the Kindle hasn't been opened much.

I am still ahead on my reading challenge this year and I am making some progress on my other challenges.  Just looking forward to having some more time to actually pick up some more books!  I'm dreaming of a Summer holiday of reading....

Currently Listening to :

I couldn't stop myself!  I had to get the next installment in the Flavia de Luce series.  After the cliffhanger ending in the previous book I just had no choice!  I am so glad I am behind on the series and had the option to jump straight into the next book.  It must have been awful for all those readers who had to wait for the next part to release!

Of course I suspected the cliffhanger was going to play out the way it did.  Maybe not as grand but still I knew it couldn't happen the way I would have liked it to.  So far things are a little slow but I think Flavia is just a little off her game due to the circumstances.
Loving this series and can highly recommend it.  It didn't sound like anything I would be interested in but it has turned out to be one of the best audios.  The narrator really makes the stories come to life.

Currently Reading :

This book has been on my Kindle and To Be Read list for a while.  I finally decided to get to it because I remember really enjoying the first installment.

However it has been a bit of a struggle getting into this sequel.  I am not really enjoying it as much as I thought I would and now I am already halfway through I don't want to give up.

I hope to finish this one tomorrow.  I would have finished it today but when I am reading a book that isn't making me very excited, I end up finding other stuff to do instead of sitting down with my book.

Maybe things will get better in the second half of the story!  Positive thinking may help! ;)

The Dreaded 'To Be Read' Pile :

There aren't many ARC's on here anymore but I do have some waiting for me.  The release dates are for April and May so I am spending some time on other books this month.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

34) Speaking from Among the Bones by Alan Bradley

The Blurb :

"A churchyard in the March moonlight should be enough to give anyone the ging-gang-goolies, but not this girl." Chemist Flavia de Luce 11 finds masked body of angelic church organist Mr Collicott hidden in the tomb of St Tancred. Magistrate Quentin Ridley-Smith, adult son Jocelyn damaged, tries to stop the opening. Adam Tradescant Sowerby is a helpful flora-archaelogist.

My Thoughts :

I have been spending quite a bit of time with Flavia de Luce of late.  I even find myself talking like her!  She is a very special child who is wise beyond her years and more smart that an university degree holder.  Flavia's love of mysteries and poisons often get her into trouble and this time a Saint is involved.

As always the plot was interesting and well written.  The events that take place in Speaking from Among the Bones see the whole story of the de Luce's and Bishop Lacey progressing along with some nice twists and turns.  There is a very surprising cliffhanger ending that has left me very eager to download the sixth installment straight away.  The series is very addictive and the unusual mixture of young girl, mystery and location actually works wonderfully.

I am not usually a fan of books set in another era but this post World War Two UK is not too overwhelming and a lot of fun to spend time in.  While this series is told from the perspective of an eleven year old girl there is no girly talk and certainly no childlike events (unless Flavia is using her age to her advantage).

This is a series that you have to try and decide.  It has so many different aspects and too many great attributes that it is hard for me to even describe how good it is.  However despite this not looking like it would be my cup of tea, I am now ready to listen to book six!  I am totally and utterly hooked!  Although I have to say the narrator is amazing and I may have not bothered with the series if I was reading it.  Jayne Entwhistle has brought Flavia and the whole series to life like no other could!

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

33) Branded by Kelley Armstrong

The Blurb :

Rayne and Braeden live in a world decimated by war and famine, a world where survivors take refuge in fortresses, protecting themselves against a land overrun by hybrids—the horrific results of wartime genetic modifications—and the branded—roving bands of supernatural outcasts. When Rayne exposes Braeden as a werewolf, she’s lauded as a hero. But it’s actually just the first step in their desperate bid for freedom.

My Thoughts :

Ever wondered what could of happened to the Otherworld?  Branded is a short story that shows a post-apocalyptic view of the Otherworld series which will leave you with goosebumps.

After all the years of Otherworld stories I have to admit that I didn't see this future coming.  Maybe this novella is only a possibility of what could happen but it really makes you wonder what Kelley Armstrong could do with this series in the future.

Branded is an interesting story that packs a punch despite its small size.  A definite read for any fans of the series and a very interesting twist on the whole series. What else can I say?  Just try it.  You will either love it or hate it but with so many other books being all post-apocalyptic these days it may just be the read you need to see how it really should be done.

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Monday, March 16, 2015

32) Hunt by Rachel Vincent

The Blurb :

It’s been more than four years since Abby Wade survived capture and torture by a quartet of rogue shifters. Back then she was a scared kid, just trying to survive.

Now Abby is all grown up, and if she’s learned anything from training with Faythe Sanders, the world’s first female Alpha, it’s that she can take care of herself—and anyone else who comes along. So when her college roommate is abducted from a campsite deep in the Appalachian woods, Abby knows exactly how to get her back…

The rules of the hunt are simple. Kill or be killed.

Abby Wade is not ready to die.

My Thoughts :

Back in the early days when I started reading Paranormal Urban Fantasy there was this amazing series about shifters from Rachel Vincent.  I may have cried when it was over but now I am rejoicing because there is a new spin-off series coming and I know it is going to be amazing!  Hunt is a novella that is a prequel to the new Wildcats series.  I believe it has been released before but finally it has a place and purpose in the series.

There isn't any messing around in this short story and the action starts straight away and just keeps going till the end.  Expect blood, action and some very crazy men doing very nasty things but feel safe in the knowledge that Abby isn't your ordinary shifter.

Well worth checking out and definitely a must read before starting the new series.  I am really wondering if there is any way I can revisit the Shifter series before the new Wildcats series begins.  Although I doubt that will not be happening it would be nice to do a little revision before being thrown back into the Shifter world after all these years.

Any fans of Vincent will be excited about this new series and should really go check out this short story.

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