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Sunday, November 29, 2015

117) Murder in the Paperback Parlor by Ellery Adams

The Blurb :

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, Jane Steward is organizing a week of activities for fans of love stories at her book-themed resort. But her Regency readers barely have time to brush up on their Jane Austen before tragedy strikes Storyton Hall. Rosamund York, one of the most celebrated authors in attendance, is killed.

Rosamund had as many enemies as she did admirers, including envious fellow novelists, a jealous former lover, and dozens of angry fans. It’s up to Jane, with the help of her book club, the Cover Girls, to catalogue the list of suspects and find a heartless killer quickly—before the murderer writes someone else off…

My Thoughts :

I think I need to stop pre-ordering books.  Why?  Because it isn't worth having them arrive asap on my Kindle.  This newest addition to the Book Retreat Mysteries releases back in August and I pre-ordered it...and only just got around to reading it.  Oh and I only read it because I was too lazy to go check which book was up next on my review reading list.

All that said and done, this was a nice read.  I love the concept and like the fact that the leading lady has children amongst other responsibilities.  All too often the leading character has no dependents or ones they can just ignore.  With Jane actually invested in everything it means she comes across as more realistic than many of the characters we meet in so many other books.

Murder in the Paperback Parlor is only the second book in the series and despite there being a nice helpful map at the front of the book it didn't help me really envisage how the village looks.  Also I am finding it really hard to decide how Storyton Hall looks with all the secret places.  The author does a great job of describing it all but obviously my imagination is keeping things to small because the places seems to be huge.

The plot was interesting enough and well thought out just like any Ellery Adams mystery.  The author is a pro and knows how to write a great cozy, after all she has quite a few of them under her belt already.  The continuing story of revolving around Jane and Storyton will keep me coming back for more from this series but I have to say this isn't my favourite series by this author.

Ellery Adams continues to be one of my favourite cozy mystery writers and I look forward to reading more of her books.  There are still a couple on my Kindle and I can't wait to catch up with her other series I enjoy so much.    I also look forward to the next Book Retreat installment.  It will be interesting to see where the author takes this series and how many murders the place can suffer before it starts losing guests....

Amberkatze's Book Blog

Saturday, November 28, 2015

116) Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich

The Blurb :

Something big is brewing in Trenton, N.J., and it could blow at any minute.

Stephanie Plum might not be the world's greatest bounty hunter, but she knows when she's being played. Ken Globovic (aka Gobbles), hailed as the Supreme Exalted Zookeeper of the animal house known as Zeta fraternity, has been arrested for beating up the dean of students at Kiltman College. Gobbles has missed his court date and gone into hiding. People have seen him on campus, but no one will talk. Things just aren't adding up, and Stephanie can't shake the feeling that something funny is going on at the college - and it's not just Zeta fraternity pranks.

As much as people love Gobbles, they hate Doug Linken. When Linken is gunned down in his backyard it's good riddance, and the list of possible murder suspects is long. The only people who care about finding Linken's killer are Trenton cop Joe Morelli, who has been assigned the case, security expert Ranger, who was hired to protect Linken, and Stephanie, who has her eye on a cash prize and hopefully has some tricks up her sleeve.

My Thoughts :

Twenty-two books into the series and some readers may think that things in Plum Land are getting old and boring.  Sure you know that Stephanie is going to save the day and solve the mystery but the question of how she will do it is always open and it is always entertaining.

This new installment keeps the entertainment level high with all your favourites and more.  Lula is being Lula with her outrageous outfits, comments and actions. Grandma Mazur is promising people she doesn't have a gun and using Stephanie's details to do some catfishing.  Morelli is acting strange and Ranger is being as strange as always.

There is a certain amount of done deals in every Plum books.  Cars are ruined, Cluck in a Bucket gets a visit and Vinnie is locked in his office.  Some things don't change but the how, who and why is always fresh and funny.  You will roll your eyes, laugh out loud and do some giggling.  You can't help it.  Evanovich and Plum are a great team

I will always pick up another chapter in this series because not only is like visiting an old friend, it is also one of the funniest series I have read.  I love the humour and the characters are each hilarious in their own way.  There was a little action from Stephanie's mother this time around and it may even look like Stephanie has picked a guy and will settle down.  Although I won't hold my breathe on that one!

Keep writing these and I will keep reading.  Things maybe seem a little boring after twenty-two installments but this is way too funny to miss.

Amberkatze's Book Blog

Saturday, November 21, 2015

115) Murder of a Botoxed Blonde by Denise Swanson

The Blurb :

A health spa complete with tofu turkey and "Dress for Sexcess" lectures is the last place school psychologist Skye Denison wants to spend Thanksgiving. But when her best friend, Trixie Frayne, convinces her to take a complimentary weekend at the new Scumble River Spa, Skye accepts her fate and prepares to be slathered, wrapped and roasted.

Then an annoying quartet that includes both Skye's mom and her ex-boyfriend's mother impulsively joins her for a girls-only holiday, and Skye wonders just how bad things can get. She soon finds out - when she's confronted with treatments only a masochist would enjoy, a diet plan fit for a Barbie doll, and a troublesome trespasser searching for a cache of jewels supposedly hidden in the spa seventy years ago. Worst of all, a famous former model turns up dead in the Miracle Mud bath. It looks like no one will be leaving the spa until Skye can identify which of the eccentric guests, pesky local protesters or sneaky treasure hunters is also a killer deserving of special treatment; in the county jail.

My Thoughts :

Murder of a Botoxed Blonde was my audio book this week and is the ninth installment in the Scumble River Mystery series.  I have been enjoying this series a lot over the last few months and have made great progress in catching up with the series which is eighteen books long.  So now halfway through, I finally came across one installment that I didn't particularly like.

It wasn't that this book wasn't good or interesting.  There was all the usual characters, a great murder mystery and some surprising twists.  However there were a couple of things about this one didn't sit right with me and make the book less enjoyable.  Thee Spa setting was a little over the top and unbelievable at times.  The Simon vs Wally aspect?  I like the change in Skye's relationship but Simon has totally gone weird.  Then there is the constant talk about her weight and clothes.  I thought she is happy with herself the way she is?  The references to expensive clothes from fashion magazines and the reoccurring food talk is really getting annoying.  

Still a great series and I am sure there are more good installments to come but this was finally the bad one in the bunch for me.  I look forward to the next part and am really eager to see what happens next in Skye's life but I really hope she doesn't go to the Spa again , that Simon becomes a thing of the past and that the author also stops having a problem with her leading lady being over weight.

Amberkatze's Book Blog

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

114) Murder at Redwood Cove by Janet Finsilver

The Blurb :

Bed, breakfast…and a body!

If it weren’t for the fact that she’s replacing a dead man, Kelly Jackson would love her new job managing the Redwood Cove Bed and Breakfast on the coast of Northern California. But Bob Phillips did plunge off the cliff to his death…and Kelly’s starting to think it may not have been an accident. Bob’s retired friends—The “Silver Sentinels”—are also on the case, especially when Kelly is attacked…and another body turns up. Kelly has her hands full with overseeing the B&B’s annual Taste of Chocolate and Wine Festival, but she’s also closing in on the killer…who’s ready to send Kelly on her own permanent vacation…

My Thoughts :

Murder at Redwood Cove caught my eye due to the lovely cover and I really knew I shouldn't even request a copy because I already have way too many review books on my pile.  However I like to give new authors a chance and am always interested to see how the writer has tried, and maybe managed, to make her cozy that little bit different.  There are already so many cozies out there and it seems to me that at some point the 'theme' is going to be one that has already been done.

So what was the twist this time around?  I can't really decide.  A bed and breakfast murder mystery isn't anything new and someone coming to take over for the manager isn't a long shot and was plausible.  Actually there wasn't anything overly special or memorable about this mystery that made it stand out from any others I have read.  Although on saying that it was still an enjoyable read.

The murder mystery was interesting enough and I had my suspicions about a certain character from the beginning and it turned out that I was right to be wary of them.  The story and characters were nice, the story quick and easy, there wasn't much I can give fault to but this was still missing that little something to make it stick out.

I will be checking out the next installment when it comes around.  Just because this one was a nice easy read.  While at first I thought I would get confused by all the different characters, I found that it was easy to keep up with everything and liked the concept of the close knit community and Silver Sentinels.  The Bed and Breakfast was a nice location and Kelly was a lovely leading lady.  I finished the book with a smile and look forward to going back to stay at Redwood Cove some day.

Amberkatze's Book Blog

Monday, November 16, 2015

113) Thirty-Four and a Half Predicaments by Denise Grover Swank

The Blurb :

Rose Gardner hates seeing her normally flamboyant best friend Neely Kate struggle with depression. So when Rose stumbles onto a piece of evidence indicating her birth mother might have been involved in a crime, she does the one thing guaranteed to cheer Neely Kate. She convinces her friend to help her solve a mystery. Though their penchant for investigating has gotten them into plenty of pickles in the past, what can go wrong if they’re looking into a case that went cold a quarter of a century ago? But the deeper they dig, the more dirt they unearth.

While she’s busy unraveling the past, Rose must also reprise her role as the Lady in Black as part of her ongoing agreement with the king of the Fenton County underworld. In so doing, she discovers a mysterious enemy is intent on attacking her friends, and her assistant DA boyfriend might be next on the list.

As both situations reach a boiling point, Rose must face the possibility that certain secrets were meant to remain buried and not even her special talent can get her out of every predicament.

My Thoughts :

I have been looking forward to listening to this seventh installment in the Rose Gardner Mysteries for a few weeks now.  I am practically all caught up with the series with the eight book already out this month but not yet available on Audio.  I have to admit that I had completely forgotten the majority of what happened at the end of the previous book and it shocked me to find Neely Kate in such a bad place.  She has always been a joy to spend time with and it made the book a little dull without her usual mouthy attitude.

Despite the duller tone to this installment there was a lot of action, revelations and twists.  If you haven't read the previous books then you really don't want to start here.  You also need to make sure you read the novellas in between to get the full picture.  There are some little bits and pieces you learn in those short stories that make the full length novels even more interesting than they already are.

I find myself not liking Rose as much as I used to.  I don't know what has made me find her slightly annoying but it may have something to do with her friendship with Skeeter Malcolm.   Things have been very interesting between them and it was thrilling to see what unfolded as far as the Lady in Black was concerned.   However in this book Rose had a chance to get out of her dealings with him and she didn't take it.  I couldn't totally agree with her reasoning and thinking and it left me feeling disappointed with her.

There are so many secrets in this series that it is getting a little confusing.  However in this installment we finally find out more about Rose's real mother and why she got killed.  This however opens up even more questions and problems, something that keeps the series alive but it is also making things a little heavy.  There isn't any fun and laughter and things are getting bleaker and bleaker.  I miss that little touch of lightness the series had at the beginning.

Don't be put off by my ramblings.  I am totally and utterly addicted to this series and can't wait for the next installment to come out on Audio.  The author has already done some nasty cliffhanger endings during this series but this one was a worrying one.  A confusing one.  A wow! one.  I am actually contemplating getting the Kindle version of the next book but I just love listening to the series and it wouldn't be the same.

The paranormal aspect of this series, Rose's visions, are in full force again in this book and she is starting to use them to help her on many levels.  I only wish she would use them more in other situations and more often.  I am sure they would have helped her see what was happening around her and stopped her from making so many mistakes.

This is a series you really need to check out if you enjoy cozies and don't mind getting tangled up in a web of so many stories and mysteries that you can't see the next twist coming.  Everything is somehow related and the deeper the series go the more incredible the story gets.

Amberkatze's Book Blog

Sunday, November 15, 2015

112) Ghost of a Potion by Heather Blake

The Blurb :

With all the ghosts that haunt her at this time of year, Carly doesn’t exactly rush to celebrate Halloween. Even a costume ball organized by her boyfriend Dylan's mother, Patricia Davis Jackson, holds little allure. But to please Dylan, who wants peace between the two women, Carly reluctantly agrees to go.

Gossip around town is that architect Haywood Dodd plans to make a big announcement at the party. But before he can address the crowd, he’s found dead with Patricia standing over him, holding the murder weapon. Anxious to clear Patricia’s name and perhaps broker a truce with her, Carly would love to use her snooping skills to find the real killer. Only she has bigger problems to deal with—ghosts are flocking to her for help, including a very persistent Haywood Dodd…

My Thoughts :

I have so many new releases (well actually they aren't new anymore) on my Kindle but I just don't seem to be getting around to them very often.  Audio books are so much easier lately and review books keep me too busy but this weekend I decided to ignore everything else and picked something new form a favourite author of mine.

Heather Blake is one of the best paranormal cozy writers out there.  She has been keeping me happy for a few years now and I love her ideas and adore the mysteries she weaves.  This latest potion mystery wasn't all about the potions but as the title suggests, ghosts.  Carly being about to see ghosts for a few days was an interesting concept and well thought out.  If there is anytime of year that the dead could be seen it would be the days around Halloween.

Of course the murder mystery was also interesting and was a joy to try and unravel.  It kept me guessing till the end despite managing to put some of the pieces together before Carly.  When the murderer was revealed it was a little shocking but made complete sense.  I couldn't believe I missed the clues and it reminded me why I love this author so much.

Paranormal and cozy is a great combination and Heather Blake it mixing it up really well.  I can't wait for another installment in this series and any others the other is writing.  She has a great talent and I love her work.

Amberkatze's Book Blog

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

111) Murder of a Real Bad Boy by Denise Swanson

The Blurb :

Still recovering from breaking up with her boyfriend and alienating half the people in town, Skye Denison has sworn off men—but she hires sexy contractor Beau Hamilton to renovate the old house she inherited. After all, who can ignore his qualifications? Golden hair, bronzed chest, muscular thighs—he’s just too good to be true.Sure enough, he has a reputation for conning the ladies. But before the not so na├»ve Skye can fire the hunk, he turns up dead. Since even bad boys deserve justice, Skye has to juggle more than a passionate police chief, a cagey brother with a secret, and a possibly haunted house. She’s got a killer to catch.

My Thoughts :

I am making up for lost time with this series and I just can't keep away from Scumble River.  I am already up to book eight and at the rate I am going I am pretty sure I am going to be all caught up within the next couple of months.  I am really making myself listen to another audio book in between each Scumble River Mystery but it is getting harder and harder to keep to that rule!  I don't know what it is about this series that makes it so addictive but I am really hooked.

This time around there are some new developments in Skye's love life.  Although there were hints at this in the last book and a nasty cliffhanger, it wasn't sure where Skye would be in this next book.  So this installment is interesting enough due to the ups and downs in Skye's private affairs without the murder mystery.

Skye, as usual, gets involved in the murder of a local.  This time she is even a suspect.  As the case unfolds it seemed pretty obvious to me who the murderer was but I was sure what motive that character had.  It was also clear to me what Skye's brother was up to and with whom....and I am pretty sure I know what a certain 'cheater' was up to as well.  I was slightly disappointed in Skye's long lasting search for her cat.  I thought she would have figured that out sooner.  I certainly had.  Anyway, this is still a great read and another great story.

I am really enjoying the audible versions of this series and highly recommend listening to the series if you like Audio books.  The narrator does a great job and I really have to wonder if I would enjoy the books as much as I do if I was reading them.

Amberkatze's Book Blog