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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

58) Eight Grave After Dark by Darynda Jones

The Blurb :

With twelve hellhounds after her, pregnant Charley Davidson takes refuge at the only place she thinks they can’t get to her: the grounds of an abandoned convent. But after months of being cooped up there, Charley is ready to pop. Both metaphorically and literally since she is now roughly the size of a beached whale. Fortunately, a new case has captured her attention, one that involves a murder on the very grounds the team has taken shelter upon. A decades-old murder of the newly-vowed nun she keeps seeing in the shadows is almost enough to pull her out of her doldrums.

Charley’s been forbidden to step foot off the sacred grounds. While the angry hellhounds can’t traverse the consecrated soil, they can lurk just beyond its borders. They have the entire team on edge, especially Reyes. And if Charley didn’t know better, she would swear Reyes is getting sick. He grows hotter with every moment that passes, his heat scorching across her skin every time he’s near, but naturally he swears he’s fine.

While the team searches for clues on the Twelve, Charley just wants answers and is powerless to get them. But the mass of friends they’ve accrued helps. They convince her even more that everyone in her recent life has somehow been drawn to her, as though they were a part of a bigger picture all along. But the good feelings don’t last for long because Charley is about to get the surprise of her crazy, mixed-up, supernatural life….

My Thoughts :

There are so many things I want to say about this new Charley Davidson installment but every detail would be a complete and utter spoiler for anyone who hasn't read the book already.  What I can say is OMG!  This book is a total game changer.  There are twists and turns that hold all other twists and turns to shame.  There are things that happen in the last few chapters of this book that will test your faith in the whole series and also make you wonder if you really understood what just happened.  Eight Grave After Dark is, as I already mentioned, a complete game changer.

This series has kept me laughing for years now and eight books in there is no turning back.  I am not sure if I am extremely happy with how the book ended things but I have to say that it has left me even more eager to read the next installment.  There has always been some little cliffhanger but this book has a couple of chapters filled with cliffhangers.  If you have been following the series then watch out for spoilers because one false glance at a review could ruin it all.

Once again there was everything you have come to expect from the author and characters.  The quirky quotes at the beginning of each chapter.  Charley's witty and sarcastic comments and thoughts.  The support of her family and friends.  Just everything and then so much more.  This one will not only make you laugh but it will also make you want to cry.  Charley goes through so much that all the other events before this book look harmless.  I wonder what will happen to her next.

Read this series in order, read it as soon as possible and if you haven't already read it I highly suggest listening to the audio versions.  The narrator is amazing and even though I could get the Kindle copy on the day of the release and binge read it I prefer to get the audio and enjoy the wonderful performance Lorelei King puts into this series.  She is the best narrator and this is best audio series I listen to.

Can't wait for Nine, Ten and yes...Eleven!!!  The author interview at the end of the audible book includes some great news for fans.

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Amberkatze's Book Blog

Monday, May 25, 2015

57) A Killer Collection by Ellery Adams

The Blurb :

In the world of antiques and collectibles, it helps to have a sharp eye for quality, a good ear for gossip, and a nose for murder.

Molly Appleby is a young writer for Collector’s Weekly, and when the attractive reporter isn’t covering auctions and antique shows all over the South, she’s trying to get her new relationship with a coworker off the ground. When her latest assignment takes her to North Carolina pottery country to cover an exclusive kiln opening, she’s certain the show promises surprising offerings and rare finds. What she doesn’t expect to find is a dead body.

George-Bradley Staunton is known throughout the antiques world as a very wealthy and very ruthless collector, and when he drops dead just after the opening, there are all too few mourners and a seemingly endless list of suspects. When the local police are stumped, Molly steps in to put her journalist’s nose to work sniffing out the culprit. But no sooner does she start collecting clues than another dead body falls into her lap.

As Molly digs beneath the genteel surface of antiques and collectibles, she finds a world filled with backstabbing and competition, and what started as a story about rare collections might leave Molly with nothing more than a collection of corpses.

My Thoughts :

When some authors finally make a name for themselves their previous books will often get re-released. This is what seems to be happening for Ellery Adams.  Her Hope Street Mysteries have already been released again and now her Collectable Mysteries are also back out. So J.B. Stanley is just a blast from the past and the name Ellery Adams is showing up on more books.

Even though Killer Collection was originally released nearly ten years ago this new edition released just after Christmas and I will admit it has taken me a while to get around to reading it. I was looking forward to trying another series by this author and was interested to see if this is as good as her other works.  She has proven to me that she used to write great cozies before changing her pen name but would this series also hold the same tantalizing twists and turns that make a good mystery.  Would the amateur sleuth manage to be as likable as the other characters I have had the pleasure of solving mysteries with?

While Killer Collection was a fascinating read it didn't manage to rise up to the heights of my previous encounters with the author.  I am not saying this was bad but it isn't the best offering I have read by this author.  I found it hard to keep track of the characters and was confused by some of the time frame.  Also the storytelling wasn't as fluid and well thought out as I am used to.  The characters were ok and I did enjoy the mystery. The pottery theme was interesting enough but I hope the next book isn't just about those kinds of antiques/collectibles.

All in all it wasn't a bad read but it came across as not quite as polished as I am used to.  A good start to the series but one that could put off people from reading further into the series.  Now that there are so many cozies out there to choose from this one seems of low standard.  If people realise this is a re-release then they will hopefully understand the slight amateur feeling to this one but I fear anyone trying Ellery Adams for the first time may not continue to read her books and will miss out on the really amazing mysteries she has written.

I will check out the next in the series at some point.  I am intrigued to see how this series develops and if it manages to find its feet.

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Currently Reading & To Be Read

Anyone else finding it hard to pick up a book during the week?  Weekends are always easy but weekdays are just Audio books for me.

So here is what I am currently listening to and what I will be reading this weekend! :)

Currently Listening to :

This is the best series ever and is very much a must listen!   The narrator really brings this series to life and I couldn't even think about reading them even if it means I would be finished faster!

Another installment and another round of witty, funny and scary events.  Charley is about to pop and Cookie is about to tie the knot.  It is all go in the sacred grounds where Charley and Reyes are hiding from the hellhounds.

I am about a third of the way in and I pretty sure I will end up listening to this over the weekend as well.  I just can't wait to find out what will happen next and don't want to wait till my next workday to listen to more.

If you haven't tried this series then you are missing something very special and unforgettable!

Currently Reading :

When some authors finally make a name for themselves their previous books will often get re-released.  This is what seems to be happening for Ellery Adams.

Her Hope Street Mysteries have already been released again and not her Collectable Mysteries are also back out.  So J.B. Stanley is now out of the closet so to speak and Ellery Adams is showing how she used to write great cozies before changing her pen name.

I am looking forward to trying another series by this author and am interested to see if this is as good as her other works.

The Dreaded 'To Be Read' Pile :

Quite a few ARC's have been added to the pile.  I didn't want to take on anymore but there were so many from series I already enjoy and therefore I couldn't resist!

I plan on getting some serious reading done over the next couple of months and the review books will of course go to the top of the pile depending on release date.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

56) Murder of a Small-Town Honey by Denise Swanson

The Blurb :

When school psychologist Skye Denison left Scumble River after high school, she swore she would never return to such a small minded town. But when credit card and boyfriend trouble caused her to slink home, she tries to blend in unnoticed. However inconspicuous has never been one of Skyes attributes, as the small-town busybodies try to bring her out in the public eye whenever they can. When she stumbles upon a dead TV personality, the police accuse her brother and she is forced to prove him innocent. This proves to be a daunting task, but Skye is up to the task. She is bright, persistent, gutsy and the perfect amateur sleuth.

My Thoughts :

This audio book has been in my library for a while.  I have wanted to try this author/series for a long time now and this first installment has been waiting for my attention.   So when I needed something to see me through till the new Charley Davidson book released I looked in my Audible library and saw this was the shortest (time wise) book and decided to finally take the plunge.

It turned out that this book didn't see me through till the release.  I enjoyed this one so much that I ended up listening to most of it over the weekend and finished it Monday morning a day too early.  It wasn't as if the story was something overly exciting or different to many other cozies but it was very well written and somehow interesting.  I don't know what made this one so good but I devoured it quicker than expected.

What I can say is that I didn't especially enjoy the whole school system ramblings.  I don't need to know how things work and it was too much information.  It was nice enough to get a feel for the work that Skye does but it ended up being too much and the explanations meant nothing to me and were boring.

However the whole plot and setting was nice.  I really liked the characters and the mystery kept me guessing till the end.  The narrator was good although the into music made me giggle and the sound quality sounded very tinny.  Like the narrator was in the back of a truck recording the book.  Most of the time I got used to it but every time I paused and started the book again there was always a minute or two where it bugged me again.

An amusing aspect of this series being so old (this first installment is over 15 years old) is that the technology and way of live is completely different to today.  A blast from the past and fun for me but I can see this actually being a really weird series to start reading if you are too young to remember how things used to be ;)

All in all a nice listen/read.  I don't really need to start a new series but this has been on my list for a while now so I will be continuing with this one when I have the chance.  I will definitely keep listening to the series because the narrator was nice to listen to and because the series already has 17 books and I won't manage to catch up/make any progress if I try and read them.  Looking forward to the next book!

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

55) Spirits, Stilettos and a Silver Bustier by Deanna Chase

The Blurb :

All Pyper Rayne—medium and coffee shop owner—wanted was the perfect vintage dress. What she got was a dead shop owner and a sexy ghost who’s suddenly everywhere—at her shop, in her car, and even lounging in her bedroom. But he’s not just any ghost. He’s a witch and able to appear in solid form…sometimes. If only he'd stop disappearing on her.

And Pyper needs his help. When she becomes target numero uno and the prime suspect in the shop owner’s death, it appears her ghost holds the key to solving the murder. In between stolen kisses, Pyper will need to get to the bottom of all of his secrets if she wants to stay alive and out of jail…and maybe finally get that date he keeps promising her.

My Thoughts :

The last thing I need is to start a new series.  I already have so many I am too involved with and a lot more I need to catch up on.  So why did I request this ARC?  Well I have always been curious about this author and finally saw the opportunity to try one of her books.  What I didn't realise was that this was a spin-off from another series by the author.  Not a huge problem but it bugged me a little and I am sure there are quite a few readers who would prefer to read this in order.  In the end it I decided not to let it bother me and you will find out why by the end of my review.

Firstly let me start off by saying that this wasn't a bad read. While the story and concept felt familiar there were little bits and pieces that made it slightly different.  The mystery aspect of the book kept me guessing and the paranormal content was good enough to keep me reading.  While I originally thought it was a mistake to read this before trying the Jane Calhoun series I found that this could of stood alone.  It was a nice well thought out book and a quick read.  A nice quickie for a Sunday morning in bed.

Now comes the rest.  I can't say I liked the book.  As mentioned above it wasn't a bad read but I just couldn't find myself liking it.  I couldn't stop myself from thinking Pyper's name was a spelling mistake and I really didn't warm to her character at all.  The typical romance/mystery story was nothing new or exciting and quite boring.  I felt like I have read this book a hundred times before but with different packaging.

I didn't hate this book but I didn't like it and even though I am pretty sure that Deanna Chase has some really good books on her writing shelf, this book hasn't left me eager to continue this particular series.  I may in the future try her other books but as I said before, I have way too many other things to read.

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

54) Some Like It Witchy by Heather Blake

The Blurb :

The Enchanted Village is abuzz when the old Tavistock house finally goes up for sale. Darcy’s friend Curecrafter Cherise Goodwin is hoping she will have the winning bid on the home, but Darcy can’t shake the feeling that something bad is about to happen—and her magical instincts are usually right.

Sure enough, while Darcy and Cherise are looking at the property, they discover real estate agent Raina Gallagher stone-cold dead on the floor. Clutched in her hand is a gemstone amulet and, on the wall above her, a large red A. While Raina had no shortage of enemies, there’s also a dark legend about the house itself. To track down the killer, Darcy must unlock the secrets of both the deceased and the estate—and she’ll need to act fast, because revenge is a deal that never closes.…

My Thoughts :

The fifth installment in the Wishcraft Mysteries arrived on my Kindle when it was released.  This is a pre-order series and once I had caught up with some other reading I couldn't stop myself from starting this one.  The trip back to the Enchanted Village was an easy one and I quickly found my bearings and was happy to cozy back up with the characters I have come to know and love.  In no time at all there was a murder to be solved and Darcy was on the case.

The mystery this time around was just as good as the previous ones.  It kept me guessing till the end and there was some really nice twists and turns along the way.  Following Darcy as she investigated the people and the history of events involved in this mystery was not only compelling but enjoyable.  It made for great reading and the story was wonderfully weaved from start to finish.

Darcy's on-going story is the one of reasons I knocked off half a star and didn't give this book full points.  I just can't believe that Darcy hasn't put certain things together by now.  There are little bits and pieces that I can see coming and have seen since the first book but Darcy isn't solving those mysteries as quickly or investing enough time into it.  She does get some surprises this time around but I really feel she should know all the answers by now.

The other reason this one didn't get 5 stars was the ending.  Suddenly the mystery was solved and even though we get a couple of chapters explaining everything I still felt the critical moment was all a bit abrupt and over too quickly.  The clues were fast and furious towards the end and it would have been nice to have more time to process them and put things together.  However it was more of a boom and we get to see the aftermath.

Despite those two little items this book was a pleasure and joy to read.  The concept alone makes this series worth reading. If you love cozy mysteries with a paranormal twist then you really need to look to the best and Heather Blake is certainly one of them.  I can't wait to see what happens next and hope Darcy finds more answers to her questions.

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