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Saturday, August 30, 2014

96) Memory Zero by Keri Arthur

The Blurb :

For Sam Ryan, life began at age fourteen. She has no memory of her parents or her childhood. In a decade of service with the State Police, Sam has exhausted the resources of the force searching for clues to her identity. But all mention of her family seems to have been deliberately wiped off the record. Everything changes the night Sam’s missing partner resurfaces as a vampire... and forces her to kill him in self-defense. Now Sam is charged with murder. Suspended from the force, and with no one left to trust, Sam accepts some unexpected help from Gabriel Stern, a shapeshifter who conceals startling secrets.

While investigating the circumstances surrounding her partner’s strange behavior, Sam discovers that Garbriel’s been involved with a dangerous organization that’s planning a war on the human race. More immediate, someone is guarding the truth about Sam’s past—someone who’d rather see her dead than risk her knowing too much. To stay alive, Sam must unravel the threads of her past—and find out not only who she is but what she is.

My Thoughts :

Keri Artur is one of the first authors I started reading in the Paranormal genre.  Her Riley Jenson series was the werewolf story that made me pick up others instead of sticking to vampires and witches.  So I knew from research that Keri's writing career didn't start with that series but a few others that had mostly gone out of print.  Luckily, now that she has become a big name, her older books are being re-released and fans can now get there hands on the early works of a great Paranormal and Urban Fantasy writer.

Memory Zero is the first book in the Spook Squad series (trilogy as far as I know) and has been on my Kindle for a while.  I wanted to read it before the release date this week but I kept putting it off and before I knew it Memory Zero was back on the shelves again and I was running late!  So I curled up with it over the last couple of days and dived into another interesting and unique Australian based tale filled with paranormal wonders.

What surprised me at first was that this series is Sci-fi.  Well it is based in the future and there is mention of futuristic gadgets but the Science Fiction is not over bearing.  The Supernaturals elements are somewhat unusual but there are familiar types with some twists to make them Arthur's own.  It isn't easy getting to grips with the lay of the land but the author helps you find your way as the story progresses. The style is exactly what I have come to expect from Artur and it is easy to sink into the story and feel at home.

The fact that this was first released over ten years makes the depth and originality of this concept really special.  I may not be a huge Sci-fi lover as far as reading is concerned but this one was interesting enough to keep me reading till the end and wondering about how things will continue.  I don't want to give the plot away but it was a nice change to have two characters end up together in a non romantic and sexual way.  It may come to that in the next book or further down the line but anyone who has read any books by this author will know what I mean because she really does like her hot and heavy scenes and writes them really well.

Definitely worth checking out if you like this author and didn't get to read this series the first time around.  The second book Generation 18 is due out next month and the third book in October.  So there is hardly any waiting around and you have the chance to read them all in one go if you want to.  If you haven't already had the please of reading anything by this author then you can't go wrong with starting here with Memory Zero.  A well thought out adventure with lots of promise and enough unanswered questions to have you eager to read the sequel.

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Friday, August 29, 2014

To Be Read & Currently Reading

So I have been making a huge effort to read more and even though I know I could do more there is always something else taking up my time.  However work starts again on Monday and I will be back into a normal routine of sorts...hopefully more time to read!

Currently Reading :

Keri Artur is an author I have followed for years and it is great to see her books from way back when being re-released.

Memory Zero isn't exactly my usual read because it is quite Sci-fi but I am getting past that because once again the author does a nice Paranormal angle.
The characters are good, the plot is interesting and I am not exactly hooked but I am nearly done with the book.  Definitely one worth reading if you have been a fan of the author since the Riley Jenson books made you go wow!
Currently Listening :

Just like I couldn't resist the second and third booky in the Mudbug series I couldn't resist the fourth one.  I am really enjoying this series so I downloaded the next installment straight away as well as the fifth ;)

I haven't started this fourth installment yet but it is ready and waiting for me on my iPod.  I didn't read the blurb so I have no idea who will be the lead character in this book so I am looking forward to being surprised!

I still can't believe I didn't come across this series earlier.  I hope to get this one listened to quickly so I can listen to book five.  The I believe I am all caught up.

The Dreaded 'To Be Read' Pile :

There are a few books on this list that are ARC's I need to read and review but because they don't release for another couple of months/weeks.

Last week a few new releases I had on pre-order appeared on my Kindle!  I have already read a couple of them but I still have a couple on my pile.  It is really hard not to just read the new books and forget the rest of the 'To Be Read' Pile!

Portrait of a Dead GuyHot ButtonThe Midnight WitchDeath by the Dozen

Quick Study

Thursday, August 28, 2014

95) Murder on the Half Shelf by Lorna Barrett

The Blurb :

Stoneham, New Hampshire, is a haven to bookstores, including Tricia’s own mystery shop, Haven’t Got a Clue, but is sadly lacking in bed and breakfasts. Pippa and Jon Comfort’s Sheer Comfort Inn opens its doors to the public in a week and the couple has offered some locals a free night as a trial run.

But what should have been a pleasant overnight stay for Tricia becomes a nightmare when she makes two startling discoveries: Pippa’s murdered body in the backyard, and the fact that her husband Jon is actually Harry Tyler, a man Tricia loved—and believed dead—for nearly twenty years.

Now Harry is the prime suspect, but Tricia doesn’t believe him capable of murder, regardless of her own feelings toward him. And even though Harry’s led a life of lies, Tricia’s learning that Pippa had her share of secrets that some people may have not wanted revealed…

My Thoughts :

I have been itching to pick up the next installment in the Booktown Mystery Series for a while now and I managed to stop myself for a good few weeks..  Murder on the Half Shelf is #6 in the series and I think I am nearly all caught up.  I am finding it hard to resist reading the  the next part straight away but I have to do some reading from my To Be Read pile before it gets out of hand.  However there is something about this cozy series that has me addicted.  I don't think it will be long before you all see a review for the next book here on the blog.

This time around the murder lands Tricia on the suspect list when she finds the body herself.  With an old flame returning from the dead and some kind of stalker sending her strange packages she has enough going on as far as relationships are concerned.  So being a suspect means her actual love interest, who is the law, is keeping his distance until the murder is solved.

Once again Tricia's snooping manages to dig up all kinds of information but nothing concrete and it isn't until the very end that everything comes together and the real murderer is caught.  There was no way anyone, not even the reader, could have known who it was until the big moment because the person never really came under suspicion or had a motive until they confessed.  This somehow ruins the mystery but also somehow makes it even better.  While you have no idea who did the deed for the whole book you have a great story of Tricia following clues, making assumptions and getting into situations she shouldn't.

Book number six sees less changes in the town of books.   Ginny was missed while Russ, despite appearing briefly, wasn't.  Angelica becomes even more likable and I am still waiting for Bob to be the next victim.  Mr Everett was more present this time and there were a couple of new characters that should spice up the upcoming books.

I really enjoy visiting Stoneham and can't wait to go there again especially after the ending in this sixth book.  The plots are always interesting but the characters are the pulling point.  Such diverse and unusual people are hard to leave alone and not get involved with.  I certainly can't wait to see what they all get up to next time.  I also look forward to finding out how Tricia's relationship with the detective continue after the interesting cliffhanger.

This series is well worth trying especially if you are a big book lover because well it is based in a town full of books!  Otherwise just take a look in and check out the small town life.  It isn't boring in Stoneham and you will definitely find something you will like.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

94) Showdown in Mudbug by Jana DeLeon

The Blurb :

Who killed Helena Henry? The shorter list may be who didn’t want her dead.

Psychic Raissa Bordeaux thought she’d left her former life behind, but when a child is kidnapped, she risks her secret identity by offering the police help with the case.

New Orleans Detective Zach Blanchard doesn’t believe in psychic hooey and is certain Raissa didn’t get her facts about the case from a crystal ball. He suspects her of something besides being the most intriguing and attractive woman he’s ever come across. But when Raissa’s secrets put her in danger, can Zach convince her to trust him with the truth before it’s too late?

My Thoughts :

I continue to enjoy my visit to Mudbug while listening to this third installment!  I am absolutely loving it!  Once again I was not disappointed in the continuing story of the Mudbug residents and all the secrets they hold.  The Ghost-In-Law twist is just the icing on a very delicious story that changes POV in each book.  Now I wonder who the fourth book will revolve around.

This time around the plot centered around Raissa as her past catches up with her.  The other characters from the previous book were all present as she drops her cover to help look for a kidnapped girl.   The new guy on the scene for this story was Zach, a detective, and it was fun following his and Raissa's mystery filled adventure.

There was also some other bits and bobs thrown into this third book.  Mainly Helena's continuing search for her killer and her finding out why and how Hank isn't her son.  There was also alot of Hank appearances with some developments in his story.  Which leads me to believe that he may have one of the main roles in the next book.

I loved the plot with its very interesting and dramatic twists and turns.  It could be seen as over the top but it made for great reading.  The author manages to make the story light and fun but also keep it serious.  I find myself shocked and amazed and then giggling the next as I listen to this well narrated audiobook.

My stay in Mudbug, Louisianna isn't over!  I am, as I type this, already putting the fourth and fifth installments onto my iPod.  I am loving this series so much that I can't stop myself from continuing.  This cozy paranormal mystery is a hoot and if you like Molly Harper's books then you will also love what Jana DeLeon has going on in Mudbug.  Well worth checking out and definitely worth listening to with Johanna Parker (Sookie Stackhouse Audibles) reading this story like a pro!

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

93) How to Blackmail a Ghost by Audrey Claire

The Blurb :

Liberty "Libby" Grace came to herself in her home, with no idea how she got there. She's a ghost, but Ian McClain--dare she call the vampire "friend"--has assured her somewhere her body is still alive. Libby must find out what happened to her. Solving the mystery surrounding the murder of the hardware store owner only brought Libby more questions.

While she's pretending to be a living person by going out on a date with the chief of police, someone murders the town busybody. Worse, someone in Summit's Edge wants to pin the murder on Libby. If Libby doesn't take the wrap, her secret will be revealed. Libby must find out who killed Sadie Barnett before everyone learns the truth. As if her troubles weren't enough, now Ian tells her she's running out of time. Wherever it is, her body is losing the fight for life. Now she stands to lose more than she ever thought possible as Death is on her heels.

My Thoughts :

The first book in this series was quite interesting and original and I was eager to read this second book because I wanted to know how the author would explain everything.  After reading this second book I am just as in the dark as Libby is and wonder how the author manages to talk her way out of this storyline she has started.

Where is Libby's body?  How can she still be 'alive' after all this time and why is she a ghost?  Are just a couple of unanswered questions.  In the meantime she is finding out she can make herself visible and work, take care of her kid, start a relationship and also solve murders.  How long this can go on is unsure but I find it hard to believe that her body has been kept somewhere all this time and that she is still able to go back to it.

If I wasn't so curious I would give up now but I need to know how this all works out.  There is a third book in the series and hopefully it is the last installment that answers all.  The mystery of Libby Grace has me intrigued but the small town of Summit's Edge and the murders are not really exciting me very much.

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

92) Brain Trust by Christopher Golden

The Blurb :

Spring break is prime time for R&R, fun in the sun, and all things low-key. So when Jenna Blake goes to Florida with her roommate, Yoshiko, the last thing she's expecting to find is another mystery. Well, you can take the girl out of the ME's office, but...

A series of seemingly natural deaths turn out to be suspicious when each of the bodies proves to have mysterious growths of some kind. Needless to say, despite Yoshiko's concerns that her roommate is missing the point of a vacation, Jenna can't stay away from this case.

After autopsies, another common denominator among the victims presents itself. And when further research reveals similar deaths in other states, Jenna starts to wonder if the deaths were indeed natural. As the body count climbs, Jenna's break gives way to a dangerous chase. With Slick and Danny back in Massachusetts, Jenna has only herself to rely on...for survival.

My Thoughts :

I began reading this series a long time ago and even though the series is old and over I can't help myself from continuing.  The books are easy reads and are well written but the way Jenna Blake keeps getting into trouble and not really getting upset about the amount of bodies that are piling up because of the investigations she gets involved in is becoming a little weird.

However I am still enjoying the medical investigations and the strange plots that the author is thinking up.  The fact that Jenna must be as hard as nails and without emotion is just a small problem in this nice series that revolves around a girl working part time at the ME's office.

The story takes us to Florida this time around and it isn't just a break for Jenna and her friend but also for the reader.  A different location makes a nice change and offers a lot of logistical problems that the author manages to handle quite well.  After all this is the eighth book in the series and it needed something a little different and sending Jenna off with her friend for a week was a good call.

With only a couple more books left in the series I will at some point end up reading them so I  say goodbye to this series.  If this story had been earlier on in the series I may have given up on The Body of Evidence thrillers because the main character seems to be way too detached from the crazy and weird circumstances that surround the events in this plot.  I am not saying that she shows absolutely no emotions but they are so quick and are mentioned more in passing that you can tell that this series is being written by a guy who has no idea how a young woman would deal with the stuff this one is going through.

Well worth checking out if you like ME thrillers and also if you like a good mystery.  The characters are well developed and if you can see beyond the fast and furious writing and lack of emotional depth then you will be happy with what this series has on offer.

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Friday, August 22, 2014

91) Visions by Kelley Armstrong

The Blurb :

Omens, the first installment in Kelley Armstrong’s exciting new series, introduced Olivia Taylor-Jones, daughter of notorious serial killers, and Gabriel Walsh, the self-serving, morally ambiguous lawyer who became her unlikely ally. Together, they chased down a devious killer and partially cleared her parents of their horrifying crimes.

Their success, however, is short-lived. While Olivia takes refuge in the old, secluded town of Cainsville, Gabriel’s past mistakes have come to light, creating a rift between the pair just when she needs his help the most.

Olivia finds a dead woman in her car, dressed to look like her, but the body vanishes before anyone else sees it. Olivia’s convinced it’s another omen, a sign of impending danger. But then she learns that a troubled young woman went missing just days ago—the same woman Olivia found dead in her car. Someone has gone to great lengths to kill and leave this young woman as a warning. But why? And what role has her new home played in this disturbing murder?

Olivia’s effort to uncover the truth places her in the crosshairs of old and powerful forces, forces that have their own agenda, and closely guarded secrets they don’t want revealed.

My Thoughts :

Omens blew my mind last year and it was definitely in the top three of my favourite reads of 2013.  I have been eagerly awaiting the release of the second part, Visions, and even had a sniff of an ARC copy but little old me in Europe couldn't have one!  So I patiently waited and as soon as the pre-order arrived on my Kindle I started reading and had to stop myself from devouring the book in one go.

I could have easily read Visions in one sitting but I wanted to savour it.  I wanted to take it all in and be sure I was following the twists and turns this story is taking.   I took my time with the book so I could understand everything that was going on and to process the events that mean so much to the story of Olivia, Gabriel and Rick.  Sure there are other characters involved but these main three are the ones that you need to pay attention to as events unfold.

The plot this time around was as interesting and exciting as in Omens. The originality and wow factor from that first book continues in Visions and I couldn't believe how good this second installment was.  There are some huge changes in this book and there are also some amazing events. It was hard to stop reading and take a break because the whole concept is so unusual and addictive.

One of the aspects of this series I am really enjoying is the Welsh folklore that is Incorporated into the story.  I am Welsh and love it when my homeland, language and history is weaved into stories and especially when it is done so well.  I am in awe of the research the author has done and her ability to make it all come together so nicely.  I am more than eager to find out how things continue.

While Visions does offer some really important information regarding what has been going on in Cainsville, there are still so many questions that need to be answered and the town definitely has more secrets to tell.  Everything must be connected but is everything really connected?  A good conspiracy theorist would have a field day with the story Kelley Armstrong is weaving in this series and I am sure all her readers have there own ideas about how this will all play out.  I have to say that the story is so compelling that I don't care how it all ends.  All I care about is reading the next installment because this is turning out to be such a terrific read!

Five stars, a must read and another best read as far as this year goes.  If you like Kelley's previous work then you really need to visit Cainsville and if you haven't read her work before but want to give something good a go, well all her work is worth five stars but this series should actually get a bonus star for being even bettert than the rest.  My only moan is the wait till book three arrives!  Another year of waiting lies ahead!  Boohoo!

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