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Thursday, May 26, 2016

41) A High-End Finish by Kate Carlisle

The Blurb :

Shannon’s home-renovation and repair business is booming, but her love life needs work. On a blind date with real estate agent Jerry Saxton, she has to whip out a pair of pliers to keep Jerry from getting too hands on. Shannon is happy to put her rotten date behind her, but when Jerry’s found dead in a run-down Victorian home that she’s been hired to restore, the town’s attractive new police chief suspects that her threats may have laid the foundation for murder.

Determined to clear her name, Shannon conducts her own investigation—with the help of her four best friends, her eccentric father, a nosy neighbor or two, and a handsome crime writer who’s just moved to town. But as they get closer to prying out the murderer’s identity, Shannon is viciously attacked. Now she’ll have to nail down the truth—or end up in permanent foreclosure.…

My Thoughts :

Let's start off by saying I really liked this one.  I don't know what I liked about it but I really enjoyed listening to this one and I found myself listening to the book as often as I possibly could.  Which meant I finished it pretty quick too, an achievement because lately I haven't been having much luck with Audios.

This first in a series has been on my radar for a while and I believe I was gifted the Kindle version by someone and then it popped up really cheap for me on Audible (always check Audible prices if you have the Kindle version.  Sometimes the book is a lot cheaper than the original price if you buy both).   I decided the chances of me getting to the book were higher if I listened to it and so I snapped this up and started listening.

I really liked the setting, the characters were nice and the mystery was good.  The main character was very likable and I enjoyed her chatter and observations.  The narrator had a nice voice so that helped too.  I didn't really put things together until the end although I had my suspicions of who the murderer was.  It was a nice easy plot to follow even though there were a few too many characters to keep track of at times (Shannon's friends).

All in all I really enjoyed this one and already used an Audible credit and got the second book in the series.  This was a great cozy and I am looking forward to see what happens next and get to know the other characters and the location better.  Although I could do without the really bad Scottish accent and the cliche character it belongs to I am really excited about listening to more of this series.

Amberkatze's Book Blog

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

40) Fate of the Fallen by Ellery Adams and Elizabeth Lockard

The Blurb :

Welcome to Hope Street Church, where friendships are formed, fresh starts are encouraged, and mysteries are solved.

Cooper Lee and her friends in the Hope Street Bible Study Group are enjoying a glorious summer day in the park, complete with picnic, hiking, swimming, and a local bluegrass band. But Cooper knows that no good day goes unpunished, and when a man turns up dead in the nearby woods—and the sister of Cooper’s fiancĂ© is named as the prime suspect—the group may have to trade in their prayers of thanks for pleas of divine intervention.

Cooper knows her future sister-in-law is innocent, so when the police arrest her for the murder, the Bible study group must step in to catch the real killer and prevent a grave injustice. Following a twisted trail of clues that leads to a hit-and-run driver, a homeless veteran, and a park full of suspects who may hold more secrets than solutions, Cooper must hold firm to her spiritual convictions before an innocent woman faces a conviction of a more earthly nature.

My Thoughts :

The Hope Street Church Mysteries have been a pleasure to read and the first four books were well written with great plots.  However this fifth book in the series, while enjoyable enough to read, lacked some serious skills which left me wondering if Ellery Adams really had any input in this book because I know from experience that she can write much better mystery plots.

So the story wasn't that bad and the plot wasn't too much of a stretch.  A day in the park, running into the sister of Cooper's fiance, having fun and then finding a body.  It all went like you expected with the main suspect being connected to the Bible Study group and them having to get involved to find the real murderer.  However there were huge clues, clues that were mentioned with great emphasis and they still weren't followed by the group.  

It was frustrating that a huge song and dance was constantly made about a certain tracking item but nobody, none of the clever mystery solvers, even thought about check it out in more detail. There were other things that stood out in this fifth installment and it had me mentally screaming at the characters to finally figure things out.  Especially with the authors plainly pointing out the obvious for the reader to see.  It went on for practically the whole book.  

Other than this difference to the mystery dynamic, I did enjoy the book.  It is  full of nice, interesting and unusual characters who constantly keep you entertained as a reader.   Despite the Church angle there is hardly any religious references in this cozy mystery with the aspect centered around a Bible Study group and their involvement in the mysteries.   So anyone who feels put off by the Religious series twist shouldn't be.  It is hardly there.

Well worth reading if you are a fan of Ellery Adams.  I am not sure how much she really offers to the series now that she has taken up a partner to write with but she invented the series and founded the basis so there is a lot of her work still in there.

I hope there will be at least one more book in the series and look forward to seeing how things pan out for Cooper.  I hope she gets a nice happy ending even if there is a murder mystery to solve while getting it.

Amberkatze's Book Blog

Sunday, May 22, 2016

39) Watch for the Dead by Sheila Connolly

The Blurb :

Looking to take a break from busy home renovations, Abby and boyfriend Ned Newhall jump at the chance to vacation on Cape Cod. Not only do they plan to get away from the dust and grime, but since Abby has no known ancestors in the area, the trip promises to be free of the unsettling ghostly appearances that have darkened her recent days.

Dreams of a relaxing vacation are soon dashed, however, when a storm blows in and brings with it a scene from the past more disturbing than any Abby has ever experienced. The long-dead woman who appears to Abby is someone she’s met before, but this time her presence defies any explanation at all.

Determined to unravel the mystery of the woman’s recurring appearances, Abby follows a trail of family history and upheaval that spans generations and may yield the biggest revelation of all, not just about Abby’s ancestors but about her living relatives as well.

My Thoughts :

I have been enjoying this series ever since I came across it on Netgalley.  This fourth installment has been on my Kindle for a while but for some reason or another has continuously been bumped down my to be read pile.  So yesterday I finally decided it was high time to read this one and read it within a day.  I just couldn't put it down.

What I really love about this series is how unusual it is.  There is a amazing well thought out paranormal twist that I haven't come across before.  This aspect of the series has been developing with each book and this fourth part in the series offers up even more interesting and strange revelations in regards to the appearances that Abby and the others witness.

The other part of this series that I love is the genealogy.  Keeping track of everyone is sometimes a little hard and confusing but with each book I find myself always remembering everything from the previous installments.  Which is definitely due to Sheila's wonderful writing skills because this is something that I usually have trouble with.  The mystery of Abby's gift tied with the family history is an addictive story and I can't get enough.  Also the way that Ned and other the characters involved twist into the story is just wonderful reading.

I can't wait to see what happens next and look forward to discovering more about Abby's gift and her ancestors.  I hope the author doesn't make us wait long for the next part especially because this one felt like it ended very abruptly.  I just wasn't prepared for that to be it.  I am really hooked.

This isn't your usual cozy mystery but it is an amazing trail of clues that Abby is following.  Historical aspects included this is a must read series for me and definitely like nothing else I have read.  I hope one day to have more time and to read some of the authors other books/series.  She really is a talented writer.

Amberkatze's Book Blog

Saturday, May 21, 2016

38) Unwanted by Jennifer Estep

The Blurb :

The fallout from his disastrous “family reunion” in Bitter Bite has left Finn feeling hurt, angry, and depressed. He can barely stand to look at himself in the mirror, much less eat any of the delicious barbecue from Gin’s famed Pork Pit restaurant.

But when the funeral for a slain security guard at his bank turns into a showdown with some nasty underworld giants, Finn knows that he must act in order to protect an innocent family.

Finnegan Lane might be the most unwanted man in Ashland these days, but he’s determined to try to make amends for his past mistakes...

My Thoughts :

Unwanted is a novella set in the Elemental Assassin series and is told from Finn's perspective.  This short story picks up things from where Bitter Bite ended and releases in July.  Due to the wait for everyone else to read this I won't go into too many plot details.  I don't want to spoil anything!

What really stood out in this novella is that Jennifer Estep is a great storyteller.  After the events in Bitter Bite we would have usually just moved on to the next full length book with Gin taking the reins as always.  However here we have a wonderful, if somewhat slightly depressing, short story about how Finn is dealing with everything he went through.  This is a delight for readers of the series and offers a chance to see how Finn is coping.

It takes a great author to write a short story that doesn't feel rushed or low on details and Jennifer Estep manages this without a doubt.  There is good balance of information in Unwanted and there of course there is a good plot.  I was hooked from the moment I started reading and the story progressed at a nice and steady pace with the emotions and mystery building up until the very end.  Then just when you think things are over there is a nice little twist in the tale.

Any fans of the series will love Unwanted even if it is a little bleak at times.  It is a pleasure to read about Finn from his perspective but he isn't his usual happy go lucky self that readers of the series will be used to.  However there is all the usual action and excitement there with a nice interesting continuation of the story.

Well worth reading and definitely a must read for anyone following the series.  Missing this short story most likely won't make a difference in the whole scheme of things but it definitely has some interesting tidbits that will surely come up in the next full length Elemental Assassin's book.  A quick read to curl up on a nice day this Summer.

Amberkatze's Book Blog

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

37) War Horse by Micheal Morpurgo

The Blurb :

A powerful tale of war, redemption, and a hero's journey.

In 1914, Joey, a beautiful bay-red foal with a distinctive cross on his nose, is sold to the army and thrust into the midst of the war on the Western Front. With his officer, he charges toward the enemy, witnessing the horror of the battles in France. But even in the desolation of the trenches, Joey's courage touches the soldiers around him and he is able to find warmth and hope. But his heart aches for Albert, the farmer's son he left behind. Will he ever see his true master again?

My Thoughts :

I guess the first thing you are wondering when you see this book is why on Earth did she read this?  Yes it isn't my usual style of book but I am taking part in a Book Club and this was the book that was picked.  So it was read!

War Horse was a quick read and doesn't even reach two hundred pages.  It is a young adult book which has also been made into a film.  This story is very historical and somewhat educational.
It was a nice story, well thought out and interesting but it was also a little slow, somehow cliche and somewhat weird due to the horse perspective.  I managed to keep my feelings in check but I can imagine it being a really sad and emotional film to watch.

Not a bad book but definitely not something I would have picked to read myself.  Maybe when I was younger I would have appreciated this one more.

Amberkatze's Book Blog

Monday, May 16, 2016

36) Gone With The Witch by Heather Blake

The Blurb :

Darcy and her dog Missy are determined to put their best foot forward at the Enchanted Village’s annual Pawsitively Enchanted pet contest. She’s happy to lend a hand when the show’s organizer hires Darcy to keep an eye on things among growing suspicions that someone is sabotaging the event. But Darcy’s quest for justice is thrown off the scent when her lead suspect is found dead at the competition.

As if a murder weren’t bad enough, someone begins snatching up prize-winning pets right from under their owners’ noses. Darcy is determined to protect the pampered participants at whatever cost. But she’ll have to work fast to sniff out the thief before she becomes the next victim of a killer determined to stop her dead in her tracks...

My Thoughts :

I have been throughly enjoying this series since it started and this sixth installment was just as good as all the previous ones.  With some very interesting twists and turns, all fans of this series will be excited about the surprises this new release in the series holds.  I have known for a while who the Elder is, and maybe you have too, but this book sees the reveal being made and there are some other interesting developments too.

Now I won't go into the plot or spoil any of the surprises.  I will just say that this one is well worth reading if you have been enjoying the series.  The character development continues and the magical aspect widens.  The story flows and the mystery is interesting.  I found that I couldn't put this book down for long and finished it in record time and it was finally one of those books that really enjoyed and couldn't be distracted from.

Anyone who likes cozy mysteries and enjoys a paranormal twist will love this series.  Start from the beginning to follow the on-going story and magic.  If you just like cozies then still give this one a try.  Heather Blake writes intriguing mysteries and the magic isn't too over the top.  Actually this Wishcrafter installment was lacking in wishes but that doesn't mean there was enough spells going on.

Can't wait for the next installment and any other cozies this author releases.  She has a lovely style and great characters.  One of my favourites.

Amberkatze's Book Blog

Sunday, May 15, 2016

35) Final Catcall by Sofie Kelly

The Blurb :

Small-town librarian Kathleen Paulson gets plenty of entertainment from her extraordinary cats, Owen and Hercules. But when a theatre troupe stumbles into more tragedy than it bargained for, it’s up to Kathleen to play detective....

With her sort-of boyfriend Marcus calling it quits and her ex-boyfriend Andrew showing up out of the blue, Kathleen has more than enough drama to deal with—and that’s before a local theatre festival relocates to Mayville Heights. Now the town is buzzing with theatre folk, and many of them have their own private dramas with the director, Hugh Davis.

When Davis is found shot to death by the marina, he leaves behind evidence of blackmail and fraud, as well as an ensemble of suspects. Now Kathleen, with a little help from her feline friends Owen and Hercules, will have to catch the real killer before another victim takes a final curtain call.

My Thoughts :

Final Catcall is the fifth installment in the Magical Cats Mysteries.  While the fourth book wasn't my favourite of the bunch, I have to say that this one was even worse.  Now it wasn't bad, should have given up and I am writing a bad review but the series started off better, the plot this time around was boring and I kept losing interest.

As this series continues I have to wonder why this is labeled with the series name 'Magical Cats' because despite there being two cats that are a little magical, they are absent most of the story and hardly do anything.  The whole magical cat angle hasn't been explored, in my opinion, to its full potential and the series title is slightly misleading.  There are two things that have kept me coming back for more, one being the 'will they or won't they' in regards to Kathleen and Marcus and the other is the expectation regarding the Magical Cats.

This time around the murder mystery plot was slightly boring but it was nice to have Kathleen's mother come visit.  Although I felt the story ended without closing that aspect of the story.  Also the appearance of someone from Kathleen's past was interesting, especially with her decision of whether she wants to stay Mayville Heights or not still not decided.  There was enough in the story to keep me going but Final Catcall was weak plot wise

I will keep up with the series, I do enjoy listening to this one,  However I think I will take a little break and come back in a few months.

Amberkatze's Book Blog