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Monday, March 30, 2015

39) The Curious Case of the Copper Corpse by Alan Bradley

The Blurb :

Murder! the letter says, Come at once. Anson House, Greyminster, Staircase No. 3. How can Flavia de Luce resist such an urgent plea? After all, examining a dead body sounds like a perfectly splendid way to spend a Sunday. So Flavia hops upon her trusted bicycle, Gladys, whose rubber tires hiss happily along the rainy road, and arrives at her father’s mist-shrouded old school.

There, a terrified boy leads her to the loo where, sitting in a bathtub, is what appears to be a statue. But, no: To Flavia’s surprise, the thing is in fact a naked dead man. Save his face, he seems to have been carved out of copper. Never one to shy away from the macabre, Flavia gets to work—only to find that when an investigation begins with a metallic cadaver, ever more curious twists are to be expected.

My Thoughts :

I have been throughly enjoying the Flavia de Luce series and this short story was next up.  To make sure I didn't miss anything important I made sure that I read this one in the order it is placed but have to admit I am now slightly disappointed because this short story could be read at any time in the series.  It doesn't mention anything that would spoil the series as a whole and is actually quite dull.

The Curious Case of the Copper Corpse only shows that Flavia de Luce's amazing talents and unusual ways, can not be confined to a novella.  There was no room in this story to show how great this young lady is at what she does and she has no chance to shine.  There is hardly a story to read in this short offering and if you have read the blurb then you can skip the first half of the book.

This is not a good novella to try the series before heading to the full length versions.  This short installment offers no good impression of the special characters the author has been working on for years.  The plot is nothing compared to the stories already told and there is no Bishop's Lacey or Buckshaw delights.

Also this was my first time reading anything from the series on another format other than Audio book.  I have to say I doubt I would be enjoying the series half as much if I was reading it on Kindle.  The audio version really brings things to life and this story may have been better in an audio format but I highly doubt it.  Quite disappointing but it won't be putting me off the series!

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Amberkatze's Book Blog

Sunday, March 29, 2015

38) Jinn & Juice by Nicole Peeler

The Blurb :

Cursed to be a jinni for a thousand years, Leila nears the end of her servitude—only to be bound once again against her will. Will she risk all to be human?

Born in ancient Persia, Leila turned to her house Jinni, Kouros, for help escaping an arranged marriage. Kouros did make it impossible for her to marry—by cursing Leila to live a thousand years as a Jinni herself.

If she can remain unBound, Leila's curse will soon be over. But Ozan Sawyer, a Magi with the ability to See, Call, and Bind jinn has other plans.

Oz needs Leila to help him penetrate Pittsburgh's steel-soaked magic, a juice potent but poisonous to supernatural creatures, in order to find a missing girl with her own mysterious connection to Kouros. Unfortunately for Leila, becoming Bound to Oz may risk more than just her chance to be human once more—it could risk her very soul...

My Thoughts :

When I saw that Nicole Peeler had a new series coming out and it was about Jinn I was very excited.  I actually had this book on pre-order and it appeared on my Kindle back in Autumn but then this other version appeared on Netgalley with a release date for April.  Anyway I decided it would kill two birds with one stone.  I would finally read the book (which had disappeared on the very long to be read list on my Kindle) and I could write a review for Netgalley.

So I finally sat down with this one and within a few chapters my excitement was in full swing.  Lots of usual paranormal elements, a sassy leading lady and a mystery worth solving.  However as the book progressed my excitement waned and I struggled to keep interested.  And the worst thing about it?  I don't know why!

There was some great stuff going on in this book and there was lots of action.  However after the initial wow factor it just kept feeling so lala.  Too much was going on at some points and it was hard to keep track of everything.  A lot of the story was predictable and I started to find the characters a little over the top.

So this is like the thing you have always wanted, you get and then realise you could have lived without it.  It is a disappointment and an anti-climax of sorts.  I have to admit that a sequel isn't really sounding worth it right now but maybe when it comes I will give it a go.  After all this author has done some great things, has a wonderful imagination and really delves into the unusual supernatural stuff.

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Currently Reading & To Be Read

It has been another long week but the weekend is finally here and I intend on getting some serious reading done!

I have some really nice review books on my TBR pile at the moment and I think I will have to read a couple of them this week and just enjoy some great authors and ARC's!

Currently Listening to :

This Audible boo was on pre-order and I made sure I finished my previous audio book in time to start this one when it released.  I timed it perfectly and started this new Half-Moon Hallow story as soon as I had it on my iPod.

The story revolves around Gigi and a very nice Russian vampire who can't remember anything about his previous meetings with her.  So far things are just as quirky, sassy and intriguing as the previous books in the series and of course as good as all Molly's books!

The weekend is here and I usually only listen to my audible books on the way to and from work but I am pretty sure I will be sneaking in some time with this one over the weekend.  I may even finish it!  The narrator is amazing and love the fact that she reads all of Molly's books!

Currently Reading :

I actually ordered this book back when it released in Autumn.  Somehow it disappeared into the list of books on my Kindle and I forgot about it!  Which happens a lot!

Then the book popped up on Netgalley and the release date was set for April.  A little confusing but it reminded me that I already had the book on my Kindle! :)

So this is going to be the book I read next!  I hope I will enjoy it because I actually now have two copies.  One bought and one ARC.

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 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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Amberkatze's Book Blog

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.