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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Currently Reading & To Be Read

Summer is nearly over and I am looking forward to some cooler weather.  I expected to have more time to read the last couple of months but I have been too busy and distracted.  However I am way ahead as far as my reading goal goes.  I am definitely going to hit that 100 book mark before the year is over.

Hopefully things will be a little busier around here soon!  More reviews and maybe some other posts in between so you know I am still around ;)  For now here is my currently reading and to be read info.

Currently Reading :

I feel like I have fallen into a rabbit hole with this third installment in the Cainsville series.  I definitely needed a 'previously in Cainsville' intro because Kelley just jumped back into things with no concerns for us people who have been busy with other books for the year since book two came out.

Despite the disorientation I managed to get back into things but keep having 'oh yeah' moments when I remember the reasons and connections to everything going on.

This third book is starting to feel completely different to the last two and I am really not sure how my review is going to look.  Right now it could go either way but I feel like I am waiting for a  huge shoe to drop and have everything make sense.

I am halfway through but I admit I am struggling.  I really liked the series so far but Deceptions hasn't totally grabbed me yet and I don't know if it will.

Currently Listening To : 

There hasn't been much audio book action lately and it is mainly due to the irregular hours I have had at work.   I always listen to books on the way to and from work but there have been a couple of half work weeks. I didn't want to start a new audio when I knew I would only get to listen to it for a couple of days and then not get to it again for a week.

However I am back in work tomorrow and I can't wait to start this fourth book in the Scumble River Mysteries.  I am really looking forward to finding out what happens to Skye in this next installment.  I am really late starting this series and I am really trying hard to catch up!

The Dreaded 'To Be Read' Pile :

There are so many books on this list that are not getting read!  Why?  Arrgggh!  Frustrating!

I really want to say that I am going to spend September catching up with some of the books that have spent too long on this list but who am I kidding?  I would be happy to get one of them read!

Friday, August 28, 2015

86) Threads of Evidence by Lea Wait

The Blurb :

It's hard to imagine anything bad ever happening in picturesque Haven Harbor, Maine--until a famous face rolls into town and unthreads some very dark secrets. . .

Angie Curtis and the Mainely Needlepointers are all too familiar with the Gardener estate. The crumbling Victorian mansion, known as "Aurora," has been sitting vacant for nearly twenty-five years--and some say it's haunted by the ghost of Jasmine Gardener, the teenage girl who died there in 1970 under mysterious circumstances...

Harbor Haven is abuzz with excitement when Hollywood actress Skye West decides to buy Aurora and sell off its furnishings. And Angie is intrigued when Skye asks her to appraise the estate's sizable collection of needlepoint pictures. But the more she examines the pieces, the more they seem to point toward Jasmine's murder--and the murderer--and it's up to her to stitch the clues together. . .

My Thoughts :

I have been looking forward to this second installment in the Mainely Needlepoint series after throughly enjoying the debut.  The first book, Twisted Threads was a great read and I really liked the location, characters and theme.  This time around was no different.  Within a few pages I was back in Maine enjoying the scenery and imagining being a part of the lovely community that the author has created.  The needlework theme could be boring for some but it isn't over bearing and actually is quite interesting.  Especially the information at the beginning of each chapter.

The mystery this time around starts off, once again, as a cold case.  Of course things progress to bring the mystery into the present and evolves into much more.  The plot kept me guessing until the very end and even though I was pretty sure I knew who the murderer was there was a little twist in the tale that I didn't see coming.

Angie is a nice leading lady and she is the kind of character you wish you had as a friend.  The other characters and the on going plot are coming along nicely despite this only being the second installment and I really can't wait to see what happens next with Angie's life and what other mysteries will come to Harbour Haven

I don't know if the series will continue to start things off with a cold case but it is definitely a nice refreshing change of pace.  Usually the lead characters in cozies find a dead body but Angie seems to be finding cold cases.  Something that is not only different but unique.  I wonder what book three will bring?

Well worth checking out even if you don't like Needlepoint.  This one reminds me of some other great cozies I have on my reading list and is going on my must read list.

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Sunday, August 23, 2015

85) Killer Run by Lynn Cahoon

The Blurb :

Jill Gardner—owner of Coffee, Books, and More—has somehow been talked into sponsoring a 5k race along the beautiful California coast. The race is a fundraiser for the local preservation society—but not everyone is feeling so charitable…

The day of the race, everyone hits the ground running…until a local business owner stumbles over a very stationary body. The deceased is the vicious wife of the husband-and-wife team hired to promote the event—and the husband turns to Jill for help in clearing his name. But did he do it? Jill will have to be very careful, because this killer is ready to put her out of the running…forever!

My Thoughts :

I am a little behind on my review book reading and didn't get around to this one before it released.  However I have to admit I got myself a little confused.  It felt like only last month when I read the previous installment in the Tourist Trap Mysteries and thought this one wasn't due for release yet.  For some reason I was sure this was a November release and of course it actually came out last week.  So apologies to lovely publishers and author.

Killer Run is the fifth installment in the Tourist Trap Mysteries and once again South Cove has a murder to solve.  Of course that isn't the only thing going on and within a few chapters there is enough plot and intrigue to have you addicted and in for the long stretch.  Jill's sleuthing isn't too over the top and her life is a nice steady stream of friends and Aunt.  All the characters are like family now and I really enjoying my trips to the beach town even if there seems to be a lot of criminal activity.

The mystery this time around was just as good as the previous books.  However this time I have to admit I guessed who the killer was quite early on.  How Jill didn't put two and two together was a little annoying but then again she was busy with a lot of things and even I got a little confused now and again.  Murder, vandalism, food truck, ill people, book clubs, decorating and a race are just a few of the things going on in Jill's life this time around.

All in all Killer Run was another great read in this series that is well worth reading.  As cozies go this is a nice one, well thought out, interesting and a lovely cast of characters with a great location.  You really start to feel at home in South Cove after the first two books and now with book five I feel like part of the furniture.  As long as there are more Tourist Trap Mysteries to read I will be reading them.

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Saturday, August 22, 2015

84) Whiskey, You're the Devil by Liliana Hart

The Blurb :

Things are looking up for Addison Holmes. She's about to take her P.I. exams, she's living in sin with the man of her dreams, and she hasn't had a phone call from her mother in three whole days. But she should have known things were too good to last.

When Rosemarie Valentine's fingerprints are found on the murder weapon used to kill a sex shop owner, it's up to Addison and the gang to clear her name before Rosemarie is thrown in the pokey with no hope of getting out again.

With the help of Nick, Savage, Kate, and Addison's mom and sister, what could possibly go wrong?

My Thoughts :

I listened to this series a while back but the newest installment wasn't available on Audio yet.  I kept looking for it and kept looking for it and now a year after the release an audio version has finally appeared and I couldn't wait to listen to it.  It may not have been totally worth the wait but it was a fun listen and a nice installment.  It also seems to be the last.

Despite the story being a little too quick at times and the conclusion of the mystery being a little bleh, I have to admit that this series is just hilarious.  Think Stephanie Plum but without things blowing up all the time.  Addison is sassy and funny with some interesting ideas on how everything should work.  I really like her and the weird and wonderful family and friends.

The audio version is well read but I think the narrator sounds too old to be Addison.  She does however make the story nice to listen to and brings the story to life.  I enjoyed this fourth book mainly because of the audio version and doubt I would have bothered with this series if I had read another version.  Sometimes narrators just make the series better.

If you have already started listening to this series then you will be happy to see this fourth installment finally available.  If you haven't tried the series at all then I can only highly recommend the audible over the physical version.  A nice fun series and I hope there will at least be one more.  The ending made it sound like there could be another book but on the other hand it could also end on that note.

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Monday, August 17, 2015

83) Picking up the Pieces by Denise Grover Swank

The Blurb :

While Rose might be reeling from the news that Joe’s ex-girlfriend is pregnant, she’s got bigger issues to deal with. One, putting her business back together albeit with a new partner and into two separate entities; and two, trying to keep the Fenton County Sheriff’s Department from figuring out the true identity of the Lady in Black.

My Thoughts :

While the Rose Gardner series is one of my favourite audio series and I refuse to waste an Audible credit on a novella.  This short story follows the fifth book and as the title suggests, it is all about Picking up the Pieces.  Anyone who has ready Thirty-Two and a Half Complications will know that the title has a lot of meaning.

I really like the concept of this series but this short story doesn't embrace Rose and her visions of the future at all.  If anything the novella is a rehash of past stories with a little piece of new information thrown in now and again to keep it from going stale.  There are some revelations that any fan of the series will want to know but this isn't the right short story to read to get a feel for the series or just to give it a try.  This short story will ruin the whole series if you don't read it in the proper place.

There is no mystery in this book, just an extended epilogue to the fifth installment.  What makes this one worth reading is the change in POV with not only Rose telling the story but also Joe and Violet sharing their side of things.  While I thought this would help me understand these two characters better and maybe like them more (I have been slowly building up some major dislike for them both for the last couple of books) I actually found myself liking them even less.  If the author was attempting to get them some sympathy votes or explain their actions better then she failed in my view.  I may have liked Joe's decision at the end but Violet is my least favourite character at the moment.

So if you are a fan and are following this series then you really need to give this one a read.  Don't go into hoping for too much but go into it knowing that you already know a lot of the content and there are some interesting developments here and there and some vital information to store away for the next books in the series.

I will be heading back to see what happens next with Rose as soon as possible.  I am really enjoying this series and the audio books are well worth checking out.

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Sunday, August 16, 2015

82) Plantation Shudders by Ellen Byron

The Blurb :

It's the end of the summer and Prodigal Daughter Maggie Crozat has returned home to her family's plantation-turned-bed-and-breakfast in Louisiana. The Crozats have an inn full of guests for the local food festival--elderly honeymooners, the Cajun Cuties, a mysterious stranger from Texas, a couple of hipster lovebirds, and a trio of Georgia frat boys. But when the elderly couple keels over dead within minutes of each other--one from very unnatural causes-- Maggie and the others suddenly become suspects in a murder.

With the help of Bo Durand, the town's handsome new detective, Maggie must investigate to clear her name while holding the family business together at the same time. And the deeper she digs, the more she wonders: are all of the guests really there for a vacation or do they have ulterior motives?

My Thoughts :

I am sucker when it comes to cozy mysteries and I keep collecting more and more review copies because they look so good.  Sometimes this backfires on me but Plantation Shudders was one of the best debut in a new series I have read this year.

Plantation Shudders has everything a good cozy mystery needs.  A super location, quirky characters and a great mystery plot.  The location, the Crozat Plantation, opens up some very nice angles that make this book stand out.  The Louisiana history and culture are very high on that list but also the general feel of the location and for instance the food, makes this location not only stand out but makes the story even more enjoyable.

There are lots of interesting characters to be found in this first installment in the Cajun Country Mystery series and they all have their own little quirks and special personalities.  Maggie's family and the rest of the characters met in this book cover a lot of variety but the guests in the B & B offered and will continue to offer more diversity in the series.  There is never a dull moment due to the different kinds of characters that come together in this book.

A huge thumbs up to the mystery and plot.  The author kept me and Maggie guessing right to the end and there were some lovely twists and turns along the way.  A few red herrings had me coming to the wrong conclusions but when the big reveal came along it all made sense.  Sure it was a little over the top but aren't all good cozy mystery plots?

I am extremely happy I picked up this book and wish I had managed to read it before the release date. There is no doubt that I will be picking up the next book in the series and can't wait to go back to the Crozat planation for another visit.  It will be interesting to see what happens next with the regular characters and also what the kind of trouble the next lot of guests will bring with them.  Plantation Shudders was a wonderful and enjoyable read.  Well worth checking out!

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Thursday, August 13, 2015

81) Thirty-Two and a Half Complications by Denise Grower Swank

The Blurb :

There’s no denying trouble finds Rose Gardner like a divining rod finds water, especially when Rose lands in the middle of a bank robbery. But after the robbers steal her deposit bag—containing a large amount of cash—she soon finds out that trouble is threatening her business as well, thanks to her sister Violet’s financial mismanagement.

To top it off, Rose’s ex-boyfriend, Joe Simmons, has moved back to Henryetta to fill the chief deputy sheriff position. Rose’s involvement as a witness is the perfect opportunity for Joe to reinsert himself into her life. But Mason Deveraux, Fenton County Assistant District Attorney and Rose’s new boyfriend, has waited too long for Rose to give her up without a fight.

Rose’s pregnant best friend, Neely Kate, suggests they find the robbers using Rose’s visions and Neely Kate’s knowledge about everyone in town. The women are soon hot on the trail of the stolen money, but Rose is caught off guard when Neely Kate’s snoopiness detects the biggest complication of all: Rose might be expecting a baby of her own.

My Thoughts :

The Rose Gardner series is one of my favourite audio series and I am slowly getting to the newest installment.  This fifth part is one of the most dramatic yet and if this was a TV show I would have thrown something at the TV at some points and if I had read this I may have given up because it was sometimes too much to handle.  However listening to the story is amazingly good and very addictive.

I love the concept of this series.  The idea that someone has visions of the future is a nice supernatural twist.  The fact that the 'gift' Rose has is so clumsy and unreliable is just an added bonus.  Rose herself is a nice character and it has been great to see her grow and change into the person she is.  She keeps getting stronger but her life keeps getting more and more complicated.  It is real.  It happens.  Her problems are problems we can relate to and although some of the situations she gets into are more over the top than normal everyday life it makes you realise that there are other people out there that are having a worse day/life than you.

The mysteries are always well thought out and keep me guessing.  I like the twists and turns the author builds in to keep you muttering 'crappydoodles' along with Rose till the very end.  This time around the danger wasn't as life threatening as in the previous book.  However it was a situation that had Rose very close to losing everything.  Things definitely spiral a little out of control in this one and there are some very huge relationship problems and dramas involved.  Not everything is resolved and it has you looking for the next installment before you are even finished with this one.

I have to say that the drama in this one was a little irritating at times.  The whole Joe aspect was really starting to annoy me.  I wanted Rose to say so many things to him or take different actions but dragged on throughout the book and frustrated me.  Also the drama with her sister Violet was getting on my nerves a little.  Especially at the end with the revelation of what she had done.  The character just keeps making decisions and doing things that are not hers to make and shouldn't be made without Rose and I can't believe Rose hasn't done more about it legally.

Yeah, I know this is all a work of fiction but this is a series that you can really get your teeth into and can't help but fall in love with.  There are some amazing characters and quirky, funny and exciting moments.  The story is always interesting and well thought out with you always wondering what will happen next.  There are sides to be taken, clues to watch out for and problems to be solved.  Sometimes you won't like the outcome but on the other hand there will be times when you will be over the moon with what happens.

This is a series that is well worth trying out.  It is very addictive and emotional but in a very good way.  I always want to listen to the next book straight away but manage to at least listen to one book in between.  Oh and any worries I had about the change in narrator are long gone ;)

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