Header Menu

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

81) The Harvesting by Melaine Karsak

The Blurb :

It's all fun and games until someone ends up undead.

Layla Petrovich has spent her whole life running away from her hometown of Hamletville. Raised by the town's medium, and dubbed the "weird" girl for her fascination with swords, the last thing Layla wants is to go home.

But when she receives a desperate call to return just as a mysterious outbreak sweeps the country, Layla's instincts urge her to go. Good thing, because the dead are rising.

Layla, however, isn't entirely on her own. With her psychic powers growing, surely everything will turn out okay, right?

Not so fast. Just when Layla believes she might survive the apocalypse, a sinister and ancient force rises from the shadows to finish mankind for good.

Because the truth is, we were never alone in this world.

My Thoughts :

I don't know why I picked this book up.  Maybe I saw it recommended somewhere or it was just on sale at Audible.  However I come across it, I know I would have checked the ratings on Amazon and/or Goodreads which both show 4-5 star average reviews.  This confused me a slightly because while the first half of the book was really good, the second half went off into crazy, weird and desperation land and didn't seem to want to let go.

Things started off so well, a nice female character, strong, well educated with a nice background story you could relate to.  The fact that she just happens to know a thing or two about weapons is just an added bonus as soon as the zombies appear.  Which is still where the story was actually interesting, somewhat the usual thing but still keeping a bit of the unique.

Where did things start going pear-shaped?  I guess the New Years party.  I think anyone who has read the book will understand.  Because up until then it was all ok.  The story was keeping me hooked enough and even though there was a feeling of 'When will something else happen?' I wasn't quite expecting that.  What was that?  It was vampires, spirits and other things thrown in what felt like a desperate attempt to make the story go somewhere.  I got the feeling like the author had taken a break from writing and came back with a whole new idea that she just had to work into this story.  It was surprising and like someone switched films while you weren't looking.

However I am not saying it was that bad.  While the story suddenly became the 'second part' and changed all the rules and scenery, there was still something about it that kept me listening to the audio book.  Now if I had been reading this one I may have stopped reading but the audible kept going as I was walking along and I kept listening.  Things got very sexual, weird and violent (yeah even more than killing zombies) and the story got a wee bit confusing.  Yet all the time I wondered where the author was going with it all and also if she actually has a plan.

Which is why I am most likely, despite the semi bad review, going to try the next book.  I want to know what the author does next.  The ending was a total cliffhanger and while I know it won't keep me awake at night, I do need to know what happens next.  Not straight away, because there is some parts of this book that I still need to digest...but soon.  

Amberkatze's Book Blog

Sunday, October 16, 2016

80) The Witch and the Dead by Heather Blake

The Blurb :

When Darcy moved to Salem, Massachusetts, she never expected her life to change as drastically as it did. But within a short time, the Enchanted Village has become her home, its mystical residents have become her family, and As You Wish, the personal concierge business formerly run by her Aunt Ve, has become her calling. Still, the time has come for change—and for Darcy to move out of Aunt Ve’s house.

Darcy’s belongings are stashed in Aunt Ve’s garage, alongside a mess of memories, forgotten possessions, and, to both Ve and Darcy’s horror, a pile of old bones. It turns out they belong to Ve’s long missing second husband. Now Darcy must unpack old secrets to solve a cold case—and make sure her aunt isn’t looking at a spell behind bars.

My Thoughts :

The seventh Wishcraft Mystery was a wonderful, compelling and satisfying a read as the previous six books in the series.  Everything I have come to know and love about the Wishcraft books was there and the story continues to make me excited and happy about the next instllaments.  Darcy and the other characters that make this series a joy to read were all out in force and it was spellbinding and magicial.  I enjoyed it all.  I love it all.

Murder and mystery once again finds its way to Salem and once more Darcy is given the task of finding out who the killer is.  This case is a little more close to home when the body is found in her Aunt Ve's garage but as things progress it is clear that the secrets surrounding this mystery are not Ve's.

Once again I was sucked into the lovely little village atmosphere, the unique magical elements and the on-going story.  I enjoyed every moment even if I did, at times, find it hard to keep track of who was who in the case.  With so many characters, a long break between books and trying not to mix this series up with Heather's other amazing Paranormal Cozy Mystery Series, It is easy to have some moments of 'huh...'

I can't wait for more.  I love everything there is about this and I am really happy that things are progressing the way they are.  I am also continuously intrigued by the on-going story and the little cliffhangers and secrets that are unveiled in each installment.  Well worth checking out even if don't like cozies and also worth checking out if you aren't a paranormal fan.  This series is just too magical not to try!

Amberkatze's Book Blog

Thursday, October 13, 2016

79) Grave Secret by Charlaine Harris

The Blurb :

Lightning-struck sleuth Harper Connelly and her stepbrother Tolliver take a break from looking for the dead to visit the two little girls they both think of as sisters. But, as always happens when they travel to Texas, memories of their horrible childhood resurface...

To make matter worse, Tolliver learns from his older brother that their father is out of jail and trying to reestablish contact with other family members. Tolliver wants nothing to do with the man - but he may not have a say in the matter.

Soon, family secrets ensnare them both, as Harper finally discovers what happened to her missing sister, Cameron, so may years before.

And what she finds out will change her world forever...

My Thoughts :

I read the whole Harper Connolly series back when it released.  However I have a thing with Charlaine Harris and always end up reading her books again but via Audible.  Why?  One reason is that she has been graced by the audio book gods and always has amazing narrators.  Another reason is that her books are just so good they are worth reading again.  Especially when the series is over and you can binge listen to them.

The Harper Connolly series was always hard to get hold of on Audio but I noticed a while ago that they had become available and I couldn't wait to revisit the series.  Despite having read the whole series I found that I had forgotten so much about all the books.  I knew the general story about Harper and the lightning strike, what happened after, her abilities, her family and so on but the details that I had completely disappeared were the mysteries from each book.  The plots came across, in most instances as completely new.  Sounds bad in a way but it meant that this second visit to the series was even more fun.

This fourth and last book in the series tied up the loose ends.  As everything started to come together there is a sense of shock but relief as Harper finally finds out what happened to her sister all those years ago and more surprisingly finds out she lost another family member around the same time.  She just didn't know.

In Grave Secret is all about family.  Harper and Tolliver go back to their hometown to visit some family, both welcome and unwelcome.  People get hurt and people die.  It is dim at times but the story is compelling and has a story you can't give up on.  Especially if you have read the rest of the series.

Charlaine Harris recently released a new Aurora Teagarden Mystery and I have to wonder if she will do the same for her other series.  It would be nice to catch up with Harper and Tolliver.  See how they are doing.  Maybe a collection of short stories.  Other cases they have worked on.  I feel like Harper's ability keeps filling their lives with mysteries.

A great series, interesting characters and an unique paranormal twist.  Well worth reading.  Definitely worth listening to.

Amberkatze's Book Blog

Sunday, October 9, 2016

78) Murder of a Cranky Catnapper by Denise Swanson

The Blurb :

With her morning sickness finally abated, Skye Denison Boyd is ready to pounce on the pertinent problems she faces as Scumble River School’s psychologist. After trying almost every trick in the book to aid a handful of socially awkward fourth grade boys, Skye opts for the innovative approach of pet therapy with the assistance of the local vet, a Siberian husky, and a Maine coon cat.

Unfortunately the first session only breeds disaster and draws the ire of cantankerous school board member Palmer Lynch. But Skye’s worry over the episode changes to dread after Lynch is found dead in his home with the therapy cat hidden in his garage. With a clowder of questions unleashed, Skye finds herself dealing with a killer who isn’t pussyfooting around...

My Thoughts :

I basically binge listened to the Scumble River mysteries and when I was done with installment eighteen I was annoyed that I had to wait for a new addition to the series.  So when this nineteenth book finally released I was even more annoyed to find that there was no audio book version available.  Despite wanting to read the new release straight away I have listened to the whole series and wanted to listen to this new part.  Then finally nearly a month after the book released, an audio version appeared!

After the wait I was eager to start this book and actually finished it pretty quick too (Did you know you can speed up books on Audible?  If you can put up with it...).  I enjoyed every minute even if things were a little less exciting due to Skye's pregnancy.  However on the other side I am happy the author didn't decide to put her through some kind of crazy chase or injury while she is expecting.

Things progress nicely in the on-going story and it was great to catch up with all the usual characters.  The plot and mystery weren't as good as some of those in the previous books but it was still interesting and compelling.  It was nice that the author kept to the usual style and didn't decide to fast forward too far into the future or change things completely now Skye is married and with child.

Now the wait begins again.  I am pretty sure the series still has a few more books in it but how the author will keep things exciting is the question.  I feel happy for Skye for everything she has achieved during the series but I wonder if she is now too weighed down to go out amateur sleuthing.  It certainly will be a challenge for the author.  I can't wait to see what happens.

Amberkatze's Book Blog

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

77) Dirty Little Secret by Liliana Hart

The Blurb :

J.J. Graves has seen a lot of dead bodies in her line of work...

She's not only in the mortuary business, but she's also the coroner for King George County, Virginia. When a grisly murder is discovered in the small town of Bloody Mary, it's up to J.J. and her best friend, Detective Jack Lawson, to bring the victim justice.

The murders are piling up...

The residents of Blood Mary are dropping like flies, and when a popular mystery writer shows up on J.J.'s doorstep with plans of writing his new book about the Bloody Mary Serial Killer, J.J. has to decide if he might be going above and beyond the call of duty to create the spine tinglers he's so well known for. It only clouds the issue and puts her reputation on the line when the attraction between them spirals out of control.

And passions are rising...

J.J and Jack are in a race against time. They discover each victim had a shocking secret, and the very foundation of J.J.'s life is in danger of crumbling when it turns out she’s harboring secrets of her own—secrets that make her the perfect victim in a deadly game

My Thoughts :

I had already listened to Liliana Hart's Addison Holmes Mysteries and picked this first in the series book up sometime while it was on sale at Audible.  After it taking up space for quite some time I finally got around to listening to it and found myself getting hooked pretty quickly.  Which was good because the audio version was quite short compared to the usual length of books I listen to.

This wasn't very cozy, there was some romance but this was mostly mystery.  The plot was interesting and compelling and I liked the characters too.  There is obviously still a lot to learn about them, the town and everything else but this start was good enough to keep me intrigued and putting the second installment on my wishlist.

However I do think this one had a couple of minor flaws.  One thing was the self-confessed nearly a virgin again J.J jumping into bed with a guy so easily and falling so hard for him.  Also her wild exploits, while thankfully not shared in any length, sounded a little too over the top for someone so unexperienced as she kept saying she was.   Also what bugged me was her casual mention of vital evidence whenever needed.  Seeing as the story was being told by her I would have thought she would have mentioned some of the findings much sooner.

Anyway, despite those little weak areas I really liked this debut in the series and will definitely be checking out the second installment.  Maybe not for everyone due to the violence mentioned but definitely a great mystery with a good plot.

Amberkatze's Book Blog

Sunday, October 2, 2016

76) Faux Paw by Sofie Kelly

The Blurb :

Normally, the arrival of an art exhibition at the Mayville Heights library would be cause for celebration. But thanks to the overbearing curator and high-tech security system that comes with it, Kathleen’s life has been completely disrupted. Even Owen and Hercules have been affected, since their favorite human doesn’t seem to have a spare moment to make their favorite fish crackers or listen to Barry Manilow.

But when Kathleen stops by the library late one night and finds the curator sprawled on the floor—and the exhibition’s most valuable sketch missing—it’s suddenly time to canvass a crime scene. Now Kathleen, her detective boyfriend Marcus, and her clever cats have to sniff out a murderous thief, before anyone else has a brush with death…

My Thoughts :

Another Magical Cats Mystery made it on to my audible listening list and this seventh installment actually brings me up to date with the series.  Although the next part releases this week so I will, technically, be behind again.

This series is very easy to listen to and the narrator is one I am used to and can actually switch to double time.  Which means I finish the book quicker and the speed I would most likely read it.  These books are never hard to follow or have too much information.  Maybe sometimes it feels like it but when I think about others in relation to this one, this series is very easy on the ears and brain.

It is nice to see things move along for Kathleen.  Her job, her relationship with Marcus and of course her place in the community have been slowly but surely making her feel at home and is, I am sure, a huge reason for people to keep reading.  I only wish that the cats had more of a presence and something new would happen on their end.  It is slowly becoming less magical and the series could just be called the Mayville Heights Library Mysteries.

I am looking forward to solving another murder with Kathleen soon.  I doubt I will be able to stay away from the series for long but I will try and keep the new release away from my shopping cart for as long as possible and listen to something else from my pile.  I do love everything about this series and therefore I want to make it last.  If I read the new installment straight away I will have to wait a whole year for the next one.  So I will resist!

A wonderful cozy mystery series and not just for cat lovers.  

Amberkatze's Book Blog

Saturday, October 1, 2016

75) All The Little Liars by Charlaine Harris

The Blurb :

Aurora Teagarden is basking in the news of her pregnancy when disaster strikes her small Georgia town: four kids vanish from the school soccer field in an afternoon. Aurora’s 15-year-old brother Phillip is one of them. Also gone are two of his friends, and an 11-year-old girl who was just hoping to get a ride home from soccer practice. And then there’s an even worse discovery—at the kids’ last known destination, a dead body.

While the local police and sheriff’s department comb the county for the missing kids and interview everyone even remotely involved, Aurora and her new husband, true crime writer Robin Crusoe, begin their own investigation. Could the death and kidnappings have anything to do with a group of bullies at the middle school? Is Phillip’s disappearance related to Aurora’s father’s gambling debts? Or is Phillip himself, new to town and an unknown quantity, responsible for taking the other children? But regardless of the reason, as the days go by, the most important questions remain. Are the kids still alive? Who could be concealing them? Where could they be?

With Christmas approaching, Aurora is determined to find her brother…if he’s still alive.

My Thoughts :

A decade after the last installment in the Aurora Teagarden series, Charlaine Harris has delighted and surprised us all with a new story!  This ninth book in the series starts a few weeks after the last book finished but the author manages to bridge the ten years difference very well making this one feel more up to date but not too advanced.  Aurora is as pleasant and inquisitive as always and all the regular cast of characters are either mentioned or play a part in the story.  All The Little Liars was a reunion and an update of sorts and it was a wonderful read.

I have read and enjoyed every single book in the Aurora Teagarden series and then, like all of Charlaine's other books, I read them again via Audible book.  So when I saw All The Little Liars pop up I couldn't believe that fans of her series were being so blessed!  It was always a little annoying how the series ended.  A nice happy cliffhanger but not the place I felt it should have been left.  Thankfully it seems many more readers of the series also had the same attitude and the author managed to make something happen.

The mystery was a complicated one that wasn't too confusing but mostly mind-boggling.  This is just the way Harris does things.  A great twisted plot that keeps you guessing until the end.  You may think you know what has happened but you really only get there when the amateur sleuth does.  The author does a great job of keeping the reader hooked and offers up a good amount of information to keep you in the know and not confused or overwhelmed.  This series is one of the best cozy mysteries out there and it shows even in this new release years after what we thought was the end.

So many things could be said about the plot and I could write a lot more about the story.  However I don't want to give away all the surprises to fans who have been waiting for this new addition or spoil things for anyone who haven't gotten this far into the series yet.  All I can say is that it was worth the wait.  All The Little Liars was not a disappointment and I read it all in a few hours.  I was completely and utterly hooked from the first chapter.

Now I hope that there will be more Aurora books.  It would make me really happy to have a few more stories but maybe one more would be enough.  However if there aren't any more I could handle it.  After all this ninth book was a surprise I wasn't expecting and am very grateful for.  I wonder if the author has plans for any other of her series to get new installments. I wouldn't mind catching up with Lily Bard or Harper Connolly but for now I will just say thanks and well done for All The Little Liars.

Amberkatze's Book Blog