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Sunday, November 27, 2016

88) Body on the Bayou by Ellen Byron

The Blurb :

The Crozats feared that past murders at Crozat Plantation B&B might spell the death of their beloved estate, but they’ve managed to survive the scandal. Now there’s a très bigger story in Pelican, Louisiana: the upcoming nuptials between Maggie Crozat’s nemesis, Police Chief Rufus Durand, and her co-worker, Vanessa Fleer.

Maggie, inexplicably tasked with being Vanessa's Maid of Honor, quickly discovers why everyone else refused the assignment when the Bridezilla hands her a long list of duties — the most important of which is entertaining Vanessa’s cousin, Ginger Fleer-Starke, a mysterious woman with dangerous secrets. But just days before the wedding, Ginger’s lifeless body is found on the bayou behind Crozat Plantation and the Pelican PD, as well as the Crozats, have another murder mystery on their hands.

There’s a gumbo-potful of suspects, including an ex-Marine with PTSD, an annoying local newspaper reporter, and Vanessa’s own sparkplug of a mother. But when it looks like the investigation is zeroing in on Vanessa as the prime suspect, Maggie reluctantly adds keeping the bride-to-be out of jail to her list of Maid of Honor responsibilities.

My Thoughts :

I really enjoyed the series debut, Plantation Shudders, and had this book on my pre-order list as soon as it showed up on Amazon.  Unfortunately I got behind with my reading and didn't get to it straight away and then when I did start it I kept having to put it down as I couldn't concentrate or didn't have enough time.  I was enjoying it but with life throwing other things at me I just wasn't getting far.

Finally I finished this one and have to say that I really liked it.  It wasn't as good as the debut but it was still a great book.  The mystery kept me guessing and there are some wonderful characters involved in the series.  This time around it seems they got a little crazier than I remembered them to be but it all made for good reading so I don't care one bit.

Some of the plot was a little annoying in a way.  The whole wedding debacle was slowly getting on my nerves but I wasn't the only one.  Even Maggie had had enough and I felt it brought us a little closer.  Sometimes the Bo angle frustrated me but I think that was intended.  After all there is nothing like a romance problem to keep people reading.

All in all this series got off to a great start and is continuing to shine in this second installment.  I can't wait to read part three and hope that there are many more Cajun Country Mysteries to come.  I will definitely be picking them up and checking out what Maggie gets mixed up with next and how things progress with her guy and all the other wonderful characters in her life.





Amberkatze's Book Blog




Saturday, November 26, 2016

87) Turbo Twenty-Three by Janet Evanovich

The Blurb :

Larry Virgil skipped out on his latest court date after he was arrested for hijacking an eighteen-wheeler full of premium bourbon. Fortunately for bounty hunter Stephanie Plum, Larry is just stupid enough to attempt almost the exact same crime again. Only this time he flees the scene, leaving behind a freezer truck loaded with Bogart ice cream and a dead body—frozen solid and covered in chocolate and chopped pecans.

As fate would have it, Stephanie’s mentor and occasional employer, Ranger, needs her to go undercover at the Bogart factory to find out who’s putting their employees on ice and sabotaging the business. It’s going to be hard for Stephanie to keep her hands off all that ice cream, and even harder for her to keep her hands off Ranger. It’s also going to be hard to explain to Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, why she is spending late nights with Ranger, late nights with Lula and Randy Briggs—who are naked and afraid—and late nights keeping tabs on Grandma Mazur and her new fella. Stephanie Plum has a lot on her plate, but for a girl who claims to have “virtually no marketable skills,” these are the kinds of sweet assignments she does best.

My Thoughts :

It has been way too quiet around here and I apologise.  I won't bore you with the details but will just say that life got in the way and there hasn't been much reading going on.  It hasn't been from lack of trying though and when I realised the new Stephanie Plum book was out I got an Audible copy and started it straight away.  Finished it quickly and then didn't get around to coming here until today to write about it!

So another Stephanie Plum!  Twenty-Three books in and sometimes you have to admit it feels like deja vu.  Stephanie goes out to get a bail skip, finds a dead body, gets sucked into the investigation and finally after madness and mayhem she solves the whole thing.  Insert Morelli and Ranger problems and sex, include some craziness from Lula and Grandma Mazur then wait for the typical jokes, wit and sarcasm.  It sounds monotonous but to tell you the truth I love each and every installment as much as the last.

Stephanie never ceases to amaze me.  She gets into some really unbelievable and funny predicaments while making some very stupid decisions but there are always laughs and the plot keeps you hooked.  Despite following more or less the same pattern, each book manages to stand out and be different in some way.  Even though the whole Morelli vs. Ranger angle is one of the things you finally want solved, you know that it would be extremely boring it that chemistry and indecision was gone.

Kudos to Evanovich for another Plum success.  I only wish that they would come out more often.  After all they don't seem like much and I sure she could get out two or three a year.  Maybe that would ruin things but I just want more of the funniest and most relaxing series there is out there.  I love visiting Trenton and catching up with the crazy characters.  I could do with more of this getaway in my life.

If you have the chance make sure to check out the audio version of the books.  Lorelei King, the best audio book narrator there is, lends her voice to this series and she does it as well as she does to all the others she brings to life.  She is amazing.



Amberkatze's Book Blog




Monday, November 14, 2016

86) Pressed to Death by Kirsten Weiss

The Blurb :

Perfectly pressed. Perfectly proper. Perfectly deadly.

Paranormal museum owner Maddie Kosloski thinks she has the perfect paranormal exhibit for the harvest festival—a haunted grape press. But before she can open the exhibit, she’s accused of stealing the antique press. And when her accuser is found murdered, all eyes turn to Maddie.

Solving the crime is the last thing on Maddie’s mind, but her mother insists she investigate. Does her mother have a secret agenda? And why has the local charity, Ladies Aid, seemingly gone gangster?

In this light, cozy mystery, haunted houses, runaway wine barrels, and murder combine in a perfect storm of chaos. Facing down danger and her own over-active imagination, Maddie must unearth the killer before she becomes the next ghost to haunt her museum.

My Thoughts :

Sorry for the silence.  I had to go on a business trip and it was all very short notice and not a lot of internet.  Also didn't get to read much either!  However I did finish this book before I left but I just didn't get a chance to write about it.  So after nearly two weeks I am finally able to write a little about the book. Not much though, because I realised now that this one doesn't release until next year!  For some reason I thought it released this month so I was a little premature with reading this and don't want to give anything away!

I really enjoyed the first book in this series, A Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum, and was really looking forward to the next installment.  However I have to say straight away that this sequel, although good, wasn't as good as the debut.  I can't really put my finger on why but there was something that didn't sit right the whole time I was reading it.

Once again there was an interesting enough mystery.  It was a little far fetched but the plot was ok and kept me interested.  The whole Ladies Aid angle seemed a little unnecessary but it gave the reader a chance to get to know some of the characters better and added some strength to the story.  I really was annoyed with the Mason plot.  It may have added another mystery to the story but in my honest opinion it was too soon in the series to go that route already.

While the paranormal aspect of the series is still a little 'up in the air' I found that this time it wasn't as well written.  I liked the whole idea but there wasn't much of the paranormal to deal with and it was all circumstance.  The murder mystery was readable and nice and cozy but I expected something better after the debut book.  This one seemed like it was patch worked together from many ideas without having a clear decision on how it would look in the end.

I still want to keep reading this series.  There are some great cozies out there and there are always room for more.  Especially paranormal ones.  I look forward to seeing what the author comes up with for book three and hope that she finds another interesting story to base a murder mystery and paranormal mystery on.  Maybe less drama and more stability is needed but for now I am happy and will keep reading.





Amberkatze's Book Blog




Tuesday, November 1, 2016

85) Otherworld Chills by Kelley Armstrong

The Blurb :

Embrace the obscure. In the final installment of the Otherworld anthology series, New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong once again opens the gates to the Otherworld. This collection of rare and never-before-published novellas and short stories brings the clever wit, dark twists, and intense suspense Otherworld readers have come to expect. Favorite characters return, secrets are revealed, and several important storylines reach their conclusions.

My Thoughts :

Once again there is another collection of tales from the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong.  Once again I rush around hoping to get a copy because I really miss this series and love this author.  While I usually hate anthologies this is an exception to the rule because the stories are all by Kelley, are all from the Otherworld and are all short stories.  No this isn't just a bunch of really short stories these are stories that actually have chapters because they are so long.  This is a book you can get your teeth stuck into and enjoy.  This author gives the fans the good stuff.

BRAZEN

This story is all about Nick.  The threat of Malcolm is topic of the story but the romance aspect seemed to take front stage most of the time.  This one was a little flat and a poor choice for the first story in the collection.  I spent the whole story just hoping that things will get better because this one, while not boring, wasn't exactly exciting either.  Nice to see things from Nick's perspective but sadly not as good as the other stories in the book.

CHAOTIC

A tale about Hope and Karl and how they met. It felt familiar and I had the feeling throughout the story that I have read it before somewhere.  Maybe I have.  Despite that 'I've been here before' déjà vu I still read the story until the end.  It was action packed and interesting but not the best of the bunch.

AMITYVILLE HORRIBLE

I really like Jamie so this one was one of my favourite stories.  Being tricked into taking part in a haunted house reality show, the necromancer manages to find more ghosts that expected.  With Jeremy around for support it was a great read.  I like their relationship and combined with the ghostly mystery I was hooked.  Creepy and definitely putting the chills into the book title, this was definitely my favourite of the bunch.

SORRY SEEMS TO BE THE HARDEST WORD

A vampire story.  It seems the author tried to cover every character or at least every Otherworld supernatural.  Cassandra and Zoe were always around somewhere but they never really got to tell a story like the other women. However this still wasn't their chance.  The story was the shortest of all and disappointing.

OFF-DUTY ANGEL

You can't have an Otherworld collection of stories with one about or featuring Eve Levine.  She is one of the well known and prominent characters in the series and it was a done deal about her being in here somewhere.  However the story wasn't the best of the bunch and not my favourite about her.  It was ok but I wouldn't have missed the story, although I would have missed Eve, if this one had been left out of the book.

THE PUPPY PLAN

So I am very sure I read this one before somewhere and skipped most of this story.  A tale about Elena and Clay's twins and of course, as the title suggests, a puppy.  A nice read and one that all fans of the series will appreciate.  It is always great to check in with Elena and Clay. They really made the series and nearly everything revolved around them.

BABY BOOM

The other characters that took up a lot of the series is Paige, Lukas and Savannah.   So it was a nice surprise to have this story come in at the end.  A good story and a good end to the book.  It's all about pregnancy and may not be the best plot but it was a nice read and I loved catching up with them all.

All in all this is a nice book that fans will appreciate and enjoy.  I really would prefer more full length books in the series but I know that this is most likely never going to happen.  It also sounds like this is the last time any of the characters will be seen again.  Such a shame but it was an amazing series and one I will be re-reading sometime soon.





Amberkatze's Book Blog




Monday, October 31, 2016

84) Menagerie by Rachel Vincent

The Blurb :

When Delilah Marlow visits a famous traveling carnival, Metzger's Menagerie, she is an ordinary woman in a not-quite-ordinary world. But under the macabre circus black-top, she discovers a fierce, sharp-clawed creature lurking just beneath her human veneer. Captured and put on exhibition, Delilah in her black swan burlesque costume is stripped of her worldly possessions, including her own name, as she's forced to "perform" in town after town.

But there is breathtaking beauty behind the seamy and grotesque reality of the carnival. Gallagher, her handler, is as kind as he is cryptic and strong. The other "attractions"—mermaids, minotaurs, gryphons and kelpies—are strange, yes, but they share a bond forged by the brutal realities of captivity. And as Delilah struggles for her freedom, and for her fellow menagerie, she'll discover a strength and a purpose she never knew existed.

My Thoughts :

I really like this author and have enjoyed so many of her books over the years.  This one was on my wishlist quite a while until I grabbed it in a sale on Audible.  The last couple of days I have been listening to it as much as possible whenever I had time.  There was something about this one that made it very addictive even if, at the end, I didn't think it was a five star book.  Because while this was well written, unusual, exciting and definitely worth reading, I have to rate it against Rachel's other books and this one just doesn't reach that high standard.

A great concept.  One that may or may not of been done before but definitely has an unique twist to it.  I liked the idea from the beginning, even if I couldn't completely follow what the 'Reaping' was and what exactly happened (I think it was harder to follow via Audible).  Delilah was a wonderful character, like so many more from this author.  Strong, fierce and fearless.  Another character to admire and root for.

The first half of the book was very exciting and I was addicted but as things started to get into the end stage I didn't find the story as compelling.  For some reason it turned into what I had expected all along and the lack of surprise or a twist in the tale make me a little disappointed.  Also the book ended like it was a one off but looking around I see that this is at least to be a trilogy.  So now I am left unsure about my feelings for the book altogether.

Definitely worth reading, please don't let me put you off with my ramblings.  This was a great read and a nice audible.  There was some very good storytelling in this book and it was exactly what I expected from the author.  I look forward to seeing what the rest of this trilogy involves and what the author has in store for the Menagerie.





Amberkatze's Book Blog




Saturday, October 29, 2016

83) Staked by Kevin Hearne

The Blurb :

When a druid has lived for two thousand years like Atticus, he's bound to run afoul of a few vampires. Make that legions of them. Even his former friend and legal counsel turned out to be a bloodsucking backstabber. Now the toothy troublemakers—led by power-mad pain-in-the-neck Theophilus—have become a huge problem requiring a solution. It's time to make a stand.

As always, Atticus wouldn't mind a little backup. But his allies have problems of their own. Ornery archdruid Owen Kennedy is having a wee bit of troll trouble: Turns out when you stiff a troll, it's not water under the bridge. Meanwhile, Granuaile is desperate to free herself of the Norse god Loki's mark and elude his powers of divination—a quest that will bring her face-to-face with several Slavic nightmares.

As Atticus globetrots to stop his nemesis Theophilus, the journey leads to Rome. What better place to end an immortal than the Eternal City? But poetic justice won't come without a price: In order to defeat Theophilus, Atticus may have to lose an old friend.

My Thoughts :

I remember when I started this series and I couldn't get enough of it.  I loved the Iron Druid Chronicles so much that I believe I even binge listened to them.  So when I got to the last installment that was available I waited for the next part and it was a really long wait.  I read somewhere that the next book was going to take a little longer than usual but waited patiently to hear something.  So imagine my surprise when I came across this new installment last week.  Totally by accident.  Amazon and Audible didn't even recommend it to me and it has been out since January!  I couldn't wait to listen to it.

Since the series started this have grown so much that the books started to be narrated by three different druids.  Now at first I forgot about this and when Granuaile took over it totally confused me and I have to start that chapter again.  However when I got back into this I remembered most of what happened in the previous books and caught up.  There was the same witty banter, fun characters and very magical storyline.  Everything was there that I expected and I enjoyed the book until the end.

However I have to say there were certain parts of the book that made me zone out a little.  The narrator is amazing but I am not one for fighting and action scenes and even though he does a great job bringing them to life I just couldn't keep up with that aspect of the story.  The rest was great but the battles and fights just kind of washed over me and I was only interested in the result.

Staked ended like it was the end of the series.  I haven't looked this up but despite enjoying the series a lot I wouldn't be too sad if this book was indeed the last installment.  It has been a hell of a ride but I feel like the druids need a break.  So much has happened and it is time for them to have some rest.

Great series, unusual and unique.  One that I would also re-read at some point but definitely one to listen to on audio.  Great narrator and well worth listening to.






Amberkatze's Book Blog




Wednesday, October 26, 2016

82) Dangling by a Thread by Lea Wait

The Blurb :

Hermit Jesse Lockhart lives alone on King’s Island, three miles east of Haven Harbor, Maine, where he’s created a private sanctuary for the endangered Great Cormorants. But when a wealthy family wants to buy the island and Jesse’s cousin Simon petitions for power of attorney to force him to sell, Jesse is the one who becomes endangered.

Mainely Needlepointer Dave Perry, who befriended Jesse in the VA hospital, rallies the group to his defense. Angie Curtis and the ravelers stitch “Save the King’s Island Cormorants” pillows and sell T-shirts to pay for Jesse’s legal counsel. But tragically, on a visit to the island, Angie and Dave find Jesse dead. Now the search is on for a common thread that can tie the murdered man to his killer . . .

My Thoughts :

It hasn't been a good month, reading wise.  Despite having some great reads lined up and a huge selection of books on my to be read pile, I am constantly struggling to read as fast as I usually do.  Distracted or just busy, I am not getting enough read quick enough.  I hope that as Winter comes along I will be more prone to curl up in bed and read.  Especially if they are books like Dangling by a Thread.

I have really enjoyed this series so far and couldn't wait to start this fourth installment.  Not much time has passed story wise since the third book, Thread and Gone.  Angie is still in Haven Harbor and things are going well.  So well that she is thinking of staying longer than the six months she has promised.  Unfortunately this book also sees Angie getting involved with another murder investigation but once again there is a great location, some interesting facts and a nice plot.  I enjoyed it as much as the previous books.

However there were some little minor problems I had with this installment.  One thing was that I can't believe it has only been three months since Angie arrived back.  A lot has happened and this is the fourth book and therefore fourth murder investigation.  It seems all a little too much in such a small amount of time.  Also I find the whole premise that Angie is only staying for six months completely unnecessary.  She has had the house signed over to her, gets a pet, is running the business, getting involved in everything and can even carry her gun because the laws changed.  Does the author think we are stupid?

This time around I also had a problem with how the characters spoke to each other.  It is hard to explain but there were so many conversations that sounded sarcastic, unsure, a little nasty...Sometimes it felt like there was a tone that wasn't all nice and friendly even when the characters involved have been great friends.  Especially between Angie and Dave but also with others.

All in all I am still loving this series.  I may have figured out who the murderer was before everyone else and I did think the ending was a little too quick but I enjoyed it and look forward to more.  I really like the little needlepoint references and history at the beginning of each chapter and only wish there were some pictures attached to them as they are hard to imagine.

Well worth checking out if you are looking for a nice welcoming cozy series.  This fourth part in the series may have had, in my opinion, a few little bumps but it was still a great read and continues to be a good well though out and well written series.






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