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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

42) Prom Queen of the Undead by Shannon Duffy

The Blurb :

no exception for the students at Littleton High; especially one student in particular named Stormy Knight who's a half vampire queen and half mortal being struggling to find her place in the human world. Overall, Stormy thinks she's doing a pretty decent job of fitting in, at least until the undead begin popping up around her school and her mom, Candi the Vampire Queen (who enjoys eating ghosts way too much), suddenly decides to start dropping into her life too.

With all of the chaos that ensues, Stormy soon realizes that it's up to her and her friends, Marco and Corey, to figure out who's bringing back the dead-but will Stormy, blessed with super-human powers, be able to decide between what's right and what she's willing to sacrifice soon enough to stop the ghosts before they take over the world?

My Thoughts :

The blurb didn't sound so bad and therefore, for some reason, this book ended up on my kindle.  While I was looking for something older on my Kindle to read (try and get through some of the stuff that has been on there for ages) I came across this and decided to finally give it a try.  After all it was short and hopefully it would be sweet.

However within a few chapters I was ready to give up.  Actually I should have but it wasn't a very long read so I stuck with it.  The names of the characters were the first thing that annoyed me.  Stormy Knight was one I could have accepted but Rosey Cheeks was taking things a little too far.  Also who has ever heard of a Vampire Queen called Candi?  Are Young Adult readers really that young and stupid?

Maybe I am too old to enjoy this one but I have to say I have read some amazing Young Adult books over the years and could always find my inner child.  However this book was just high school nonsense with some magic and vampire stuff thrown in.  It felt like it should be a comedy sitcom but there was nothing to laugh about.

I could continue to rant and rave but the story wasn't that long and I don't see the point in going on and on about it.  Just be warned if you had your eye on this one.  It isn't really worth it but if you have someone in your life who is a younger reader then they may enjoy it a lot.



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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

41) Final Sail by Elaine Viets

The Blurb :

To catch a jewel smuggler on a luxury yacht, Helen needs to pose as the ship’s new stewardess—but between serving drinks to the snobs, scrubbing floors, and cleaning up after seasick passengers, she’s starting to miss dry land almost as much as she misses Phil.

While Helen’s cruising to the Bahamas, Phil’s got his own job—trying to catch a sexy gold digger who may have killed her elderly new husband for his fortune. Good thing he’s a self-proclaimed master of disguise, playing it cool as everything from an air-conditioning repairman to a Rastafarian.

Helen’s a help to Phil in his case, but when she’s on her own on the high seas, Helen needs to watch her step as she searches out the smuggler—or she may end up going from undercover to overboard..

My Thoughts :

Elaine Viets is one of my all time favourite cozy mystery writers and I have to admit that I am a little behind when it comes to the Dead-End Job mysteries.  The main and only reason is the price of the new releases in this series.  Even the next installment, that has been out nearly a year, is priced at seventeen dollars.  However much I love an author, this is a ridiculously high price for a cozy mystery and in Kindle format.  Sorry.  I will be waiting for the price to drop.

So I am a book behind and a new release is coming soon.  Two books behind but I am still happily following the interesting and never boring life of Helen who is now a proper P.I but still works the Dead-End jobs undercover to catch the killer, thief or cheating partner.  It is a great concept and no two stories are ever the same.  The different plots and angles each time are refreshing and exciting.  I love reading along and trying to unravel things before Helen and sometimes I do.  In this eleventh episode I managed to figure out who the smuggler was but not how the killer managed to murder her husband.  You see this time around there was two mysteries and a small snippet of a third.

Any cozy mystery lovers really need to check out this series.  It has everything you need from a cozy and there is never a dull moment.  Things have really progressed over the series and I like the way the author has kept things going and kept the series worth reading.  Make sure you read this one from the beginning though!  There is a nice continuing story that follows the series and reading this out of order will ruin some surprises.

As long as this series keeps going I will keep reading!  I just have to try and find a cheaper version of the books or wait until the price gets lower.  I feel bad for the long time fans like myself who are being put in this position.  Wait and maybe things get spoiled or cough up and read the book as soon as it is released.  I would definitely pre-order this series if it was a reasonable price.



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Monday, April 21, 2014

40) Burning Bones by Christopher Golden

The Blurb :

"It's quite a mystery, isn't it? I mean, how do you burn someone to death in public, and not have anyone notice?" Two people burst into flame, burned alive in front of plenty of eyewitnesses with no obvious cause. Spontaneous human combustion is a bizarre phenomenon, but according to published accounts, it happens. Could that be what occurred here? Or is it murder?

As Jenna Blake turns nineteen, she is getting over a recent breakup and is rekindling an old flame. Between her personal life and college, she has enough on her hands. The last thing she nees is another nasty little puzzle.

But the burn victims' clothes weren't flammable, the crime scenes reveal no evidence of arson, and nome of the various witnesses can provide anything resembling a clue. In fact, she and Slick are just beginning to re-evaluate their faith in rational, scientific explanation when the fire claims another victim, and an incredible explanation presents itself. Even as they struggle with their discovery, the danger hits far too close to home...

My Thoughts :

This series has been sitting on my bookshelf for years and every now and again I manage to pull myself away from the Kindle and pick up a paperback and this is one series I always try and grab.  This is actually the last paperback in the series I have and is the seventh installment.  Young Adult and more forensic than mystery, this is a set of books that have been around for a long time and are quite out-dated (they still watch videos...) but they are still nice quick and interesting reads.

In this installment Jenna is getting over her break-up and trying to keep busy.  Of course she gets involved in a case but the amount of time she really spends on it is minimal compared to the two detectives who also feature strongly and tell their side of the story.  While I like the concept and characters this episode was a little bleh for my liking and the ending was too quick and easy.  There was a certain something missing from this installment but it may have something to do with the author sharing the writing with another writer.  Who knows how much he really put into the book.

With only three more books to go in the series I will be making sure I get copies of the other books.  I have come this far and I want to finish what I have started.  It will be interesting to see what trouble Jenna can still get herself into, how the detective gets on and of course how things end.  Well worth reading if you like forensic mysteries and a nice gift for any younger readers who like this genre.  At least they will see that not having a mobile phone wasn't that bad! ;) For anyone who is interested :The series is actually available on Kindle and the books aren't that expensive!





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Sunday, April 20, 2014

39) Eternally Yours by Cate Tiernan

The Blurb :

After 450 years of living, Nastasya Crowe should have more of a handle on this whole immortal thing....

After a deadly confrontation at the end of Darkness Falls, the second Immortal Beloved novel, Nastasya Crowe is, as she would put it, so over the drama. She fights back against the dark immortals with her own brand of kick-butt magick...but can she fight against true love? In the satisfying finale to the Immortal Beloved trilogy, ex-party-girl immortal Nastasya ends a 450-year-old feud and learns what "eternally yours" really means.

My Thoughts :

Cate Tiernan is a wonderful author and her imagination never ceases to amaze me.  Her books are always a pleasure to read and this trilogy, while not my favourite, was still very special and unforgettable.  The concept alone is enough to make this series stand out with the idea of immortals that are not your usual vampires or other paranormal being.  Just a normal human being, that in reality, could exist among us.

What I really enjoyed in this trilogy and in this last installment was the historical flashbacks.  The stories of another place and time were well thought out and were very detailed.  I believe the author really took her time and researched the various backgrounds of the characters she had created and this made them come to life even more.  In the end I wasn't too concerned about the on-going plot but more about who Nastasya was and where she had been, who she had met and what she had done in her long life.  Her worries about the dark immortals was just a boring add on to a rich history lesson.

The romance between Natasya and Reyn was nice but seemed too quick and was a done deal from the beginning.  It was just a matter of how long it would take for them to get over themselves and get together.  Her projects was an interesting past time but I wanted her to have more interaction with the locals and the people she had befriended.  It would have been nice to see a little more of what happened next and to find out more about the family that Natasya had lost all those years ago.

All in all this was a nice trilogy that actually has an option of doing some spin-offs.  Maybe a short story or two.  I am not sure if the author is really into that kind of thing but I would certainly love to read more about the immortals.  For now I will happily wait to see what the author surprises us with next.  She has some great ideas and I am sure the next project will be just as good as her previous.  Of course her best was the Sweep Series but her other work has been well worth reading.

If you want something a little different with depth and interesting tales about a 450 year old who has travelled the world and seen so many things, then you will love this.  You may not enjoy her naive ways and her neurotic thoughts but the story is amazing and well written.






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Saturday, April 19, 2014

38) That Touch of Magic by Lucy March

The Blurb :

Stacy Easter has seen better days. Being a librarian is a labor of love—if only paying her bills were half as much fun. What’s a single, bookish beauty in sleepy Nodaway Falls, New York, supposed to do?

To make ends meet, Stacy decides to develop her special…powers. Everyone can use a touch of magic now and then, right? Soon she’s got clients lining up to receive her signature potions—until a few of them go awry. Meanwhile, her own life has just taken a storybook turn: Leo North, the official One Who Got Away, is back in town.

Stacy’s best friends, Peach and Liv, are more concerned about the state of her heart than the side effects of a few rogue magic spells. But someone with dark intentions is crossing magical wires all over Nodaway Falls, and those closest to Stacy are at risk. Can Stacy conjure up a way out of this mess with her life—and maybe even her love life—intact?

My Thoughts :

I remember reading the debut book in this series, 'A Little Night Magic', and wanting to read more straight away.  However it seems the author or publisher didn't want us to have more until two years later.  'That Touch of Magic' was over due and when I saw it on Audible I decided it was worth a credit.  What made it more inviting was the narrator.  The same voice that does the Molly Harper books.  It is worth listening to this book for that talent alone.

Anyway, a two year gap is too long.  At first I couldn't remember anything about the previous book and decided I must have gotten it mixed up with something else.  The references to the previous story did little to jog my memory and in the end I went and looked up the first book and read the blurb.  Thats when the penny dropped, this book is from another POV.  Stacy was not the lead character in the last book but just a part of the story.  Things started to make a little bit more sense with the help of the blurb and this information.

Despite the slight confusion and memory loss I still liked the story and the paranormal element was somehow fun.  I wonder if I would have liked the story if I had read it because the narrator really did make this one enjoyable to listen to.  At some points the story dragged a little and I felt like Stacey spent a lot of time running around in circles.  By the end I was pleased with how things worked out and was happy that I had picked this one to listen to.

There were some minor problems I had with the story and some of the characters but I managed to turn a blind eye (or in this case, ear) to them.  Spoilers ahead : Stacey often mentions her lack of money but she always seems to have enough to waste.  She tells Leo on many times that she doesn't want him but easily, without any qualms, gets back together with him.  The whole Desmond night and how she seems to forget it so easily was weird.  Especially with everything he did.  Oh and Leo and his priesthood thing?  Ran off to join the circus would have been a better story.

I am hoping the author/publishers don't make us wait too long for book number three in the series.  I wouldn't mind visiting Nodaway Falls again and catching up with the magically community and seeing what other trouble they can get themselves into.  Nice read, definitely worth listening to and one of those feel good, giggle and enjoy stories.






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Friday, April 18, 2014

37) A Deadly Grind by Victoria Hamilton

The Blurb :


A Hoosier to die for?

When vintage cookware and cookbook collector Jaymie Leighton spies an original 1920s Hoosier brand kitchen cabinet at an estate auction, it’s love at first sight. Despite the protests of her sister that the 19th-century yellow-brick house they share in Michigan is already too cluttered with Jaymie’s “junk,” she successfully outbids the other buyers and triumphantly takes home her Hoosier.

But that night on the summer porch where they’ve left the Hoosier to be cleaned up, a man is murdered, struck on the head with the steel meat grinder that is part of the cabinet. Who is this stranger—and what was he doing on their porch? Does his death have anything to do with the Hoosier?

As the police struggle to determine the man’s identity, Jaymie can’t help doing a little digging on her own, accompanied by her three-legged Yorkie Poo, Hopalong. But in her bid to uncover the truth about the hidden secrets of the Hoosier, Jaymie may be the one who ends up going, going…gone.

My Thoughts :

On my cozy mystery binge I decided to finally start this series.  I actually have book number three on my Kindle to review.  It has been there for a while but I didn't know when I accepted the book that it wasn't the first in the series (don't you just hate it when that happens?).  So now I am trying to get hold of the previous books so I can read and review the third installment.  I don't like reading books out of order.

I have already read another book by Victoria Hamilton so I knew she wasn't a cozy mystery newbie.  However I think this book was her first cozy mystery because I have to say it felt like it.  There were little signs of first time clue grabbing and trying to make the plot more complicated that it should be.  I enjoyed the book a lot but there were times when I felt myself speed reading through some of the 'boring' parts.

The theme was interesting enough.  I found myself looking up 'Hoosier' within a couple of chapters because I couldn't understand what all the fuss was about.  I have to admit I wouldn't mind having one myself and quite like the idea of one of these vintage items standing in my kitchen.  It actually made me wonder where the author takes this series in the upcoming books because I don't know what other vintage kitchen items could be mixed up murder mysteries.

As for the characters, they were nice enough.  I don't feel like I really got the chance to get to know anyone else very well other than Jaymie and I found it extremely hard to remember that she was a lot younger than she kept behaving/sounding.  There is a lot of potential regular characters that I think could turn out to be very likable and interesting.  I think the next couple of books will have to build up the other cast to make this series more readable.

All in all this wasn't bad and I am looking forward to part two.  The location, history and details were a nice touch and it was obvious that the author put a lot of thought into making it all believable and real. Hopefully I will get to book two as soon as possible so I can move on to the third installment and finally review the book.  I love a good cozy and I think I have found another one to add to the ever growing list of ones I enjoy reading.




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Monday, April 14, 2014

36) Bookplate Special by Lorna Barrett

The Blurb :

Tricia Miles, owner of Haven’t a Clue mystery bookstore, is still settling into Stoneham, New Hampshire, the kind of town where everybody knows your name—and where everyone’s quick to lend a hand, even when murder is afoot . . .

The kinder folks of Stoneham might call Pammy Fredericks a free spirit. The less kind, a freeloading thief. Tricia has put up—and put up with—her uninvited college roommate for weeks. In return, Pammy, has stolen $100, among other things. But the day she’s kicked out, Pammy’s found dead in a dumpster, leaving loads of questions unanswered. Like what was she foraging for? Did her killer want it too? To piece the case together, Tricia will have to dive in head-first.…


My Thoughts :

After reading the first two books in this series I was ready to keep going.  I am in a cozy mood so this was the natural choice of series to grab for because I really enjoyed the previous stories.  However it seems that this series is getting very mixed reviews over on Goodreads and I am happy that I didn't read any of them beforehand because they really could make you hate this series.  I think people forget that this is a cozy mystery and is supposed to be over the top and sometimes unbelievable.  That is one of the good things about cozies.  Great plot but questionable themes, deduction processes and characters.

Unlike the cozy I read before this one, this series is really set in a bookstore and it features the said bookstore quite prominently throughout the story.  After two books in the series I really feel like my time in Booktown is a like a murder mystery weekend.  A short break and a fun murder mystery to solve.  I like Tricia, her cat and this time around her sister Angelica also made herself seem more likable.  However Ginny the bookshop assistant lost a lot of my respect and was like an annoying teenager who kept moaning and groaning.  I hope Tricia toughens up on her instead of making her life easier.

There are some aspects of this series that are starting to make me wonder.  Tricia seems to have enough money to throw around because she is extremely generous in some respects.  However when she really needs something she tries to save.  This is shown to us a few times in series and in this third installment it is practically pointed out to us with a big neon sign.  So what is the deal?  Rich or not?  Too generous?  I hope that Tricia doesn't give a certain person too much of her money.  Anyone who has/does read this book will know who I am talking about.

Anyway, the plot this time around was a little boring at first.  I didn't see how anything would fit together and I wasn't sure if the author knew either.  There were some characters involved who seemed to be a waste of time and there were other characters drawn in that changed the pace of the series somewhat.  A very weird mixture of change that seemed strange for a third book in the series.  It is like the author didn't think things would get this far and decided she needed to change aspects of the story to be able to keep the series going for another few books.

Despite all of this the story was still good.  Easy to follow and well worth reading.  I am happy to say I have the next two books in the series and with some of the events this book brings I am quite eager to see how things continue to develop.  Even for some of the characters who I think need a good slap ;)  Expect to see the next book reviewed very soon.  After all I have the next books in paperback and really need to get some paperbacks read and moving along.





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