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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

69) Portrait of a Dead Guy by Larissa Reinhart

The Blurb :

In Halo, Georgia, folks know Cherry Tucker as big in mouth, small in stature, and able to sketch a portrait faster than buckshot rips from a ten gauge -- but commissions are scarce. So when the well-heeled Branson family wants to memorialize their murdered son in a coffin portrait, Cherry scrambles to win their patronage from her small town rival.

As the clock ticks toward the deadline, Cherry faces more trouble than just a controversial subject. Between ex-boyfriends, her flaky family, an illegal gambling ring, and outwitting a killer on a spree, Cherry finds herself painted into a corner she’ll be lucky to survive.

My Thoughts :

Somehow I managed to read the third and fourth books in this series and now I am listening to the first and second books in the series so I can cross the series off my list.  I have no idea if there will be a fifth book but I enjoyed the others and wanted to see how things all began.

The audio version was nicely read.  I loved the accent of the narrator and her voice fit Cherry's attitude and personality even if she did sound a little bored now and again.  I have to admit that if I kept putting the book on my to be read pile I most likely wouldn't have go to it any time this decade but the audio version was a blessing and also very cheap.

As mysteries go this wasn't a bad one.  As a debut in the series it was great.  I had to keep reminding myself that this was the first book and that my previous experience with this author/series was more mature. There were parts of the story that made my mind wander and there were others that stood out and got my attention.  Funny, sad and sometimes crazy this was a Stephanie Plum kind of experience without the car explosions.

I already have the second book ready to listen to and hope to get to it soon.  This is a nice series and despite there being some artistic tangents and lots of references to that thing in Vegas, I like this quirky bunch of people and the town.

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Amberkatze's Book Blog

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

68) Lethal Letters by Ellery Adams

The Blurb :

Everyone’s got their hands full in Oyster Bay, North Carolina. Aside from two upcoming weddings, there’s also the historical society’s annual fund-raiser: the Secret Garden Party and Candlelit Ball. Adding to the excitement, Olivia witnesses the discovery of a time capsule in the foundation of a local church. The historical society president hopes to display its contents at their party, but when the items are finally revealed to the public, Olivia notices one of them has vanished.

After a frightening find beneath the pier—the body of Ruthie Holcomb—Olivia is certain there’s a connection between the young woman’s death and the missing piece from the time capsule. With the help of her fellow Bayside Book Writers, Olivia sets out to uncover some clues and ensure a killer has no reason to celebrate…

My Thoughts :

I have been following this series since it began and even though I had this sixth book on pre-order, it somehow got lost on my Kindle among all the other to be read books.  So while I could have read this back in November I have finally read it now, over six months later.  It isn't a bad thing though.  Now I won't have to wait as long for book seven.

Once again Olivia does a great job of accidentally getting involved in a murder case.  With her fiancĂ© doing the legal route of investigation, Olivia has the time and means to go around asking questions in all the right places and piece together a motive and find the killer.  There are always some interesting twists and turns along the way and the Bayside Book Writers are eager to help.

However this time around I was pretty sure I knew the solution straight away and I was actually right.  It didn't take me long to solve the case and it was quite frustrating to see everyone looking for more answers when I found it was all right there in front of them.   The mystery was good though.  The time capsule was a great start to things and despite figuring things out quickly it was nice to see the history of everything unraveling.  I knew who but the why wasn't completely clear till later in the book.

On the other side of things there was some wonderful developments with the regular characters and some new ones.  The on-going story of the Bayside Book Writers is very compelling and the visit to Oyster Bay is always a lovely getaway.  The writer always manages to make me want to visit Oyster Bay and her fun doggy character Haviland nearly has me turning into a dog lover.

A great series and a must read cozy mystery.  Ellery Adams is one of the best in the genre and I can't get enough of her books.  I am looking forward to the next installment and will make sure to keep catching up with her other books while waiting.

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Amberkatze's Book Blog

Monday, June 29, 2015

Currently Reading & To Be Read

It hasn't been very busy here lately and there are a lot of reasons for that!

One of the biggest reasons was a technology problem...my iPod fell and shattered to the point of no return and then my earphones decided to die on me too!  So my quest to listen to my audio book took some big hits but I have ordered new earphones and moved over to the Audible App on my phone!

Other reasons are going to a three day festival, the end spurt of the year at work and other little bits and bobs.  However I am back on track now and hopefully I will have more time to read and more time to post about it ;)

Currently Listening to :

I messed up with this series and read book #2 & #3.  Now I am trying to read the others and finally get the complete picture.

Portrait of a Dead Guy is the first book in the series and I snapped it up on Audible for cheap and have been listening to it since last week and have about an hour left of the book.

The story isn't bad and the narrator is ok too.  Not overly amazing but still a good listen and I am looking forward to finding out who 'did it'.

Currently Reading :

I have been enjoying this series and have been lucky enough to always get a review copy of the new installments.  However with my schedule lately I haven't been able to get to this one in time for the release date.

Next on the pile and not yet started, I will reading this one as soon as time permits and look forward to finding out more about the 'Tourist Trap' people!

The Dreaded 'To Be Read' Pile :

There are still a few ARC's on the pile but there release dates are still a few weeks or months away. So I am catching up on some other books in the meantime.

I really need to get some of the physical paper books read but they aren't as practical and easy to pick up and carry around as the Kindle.

Monday, June 22, 2015

67) Not a Monster of a Chance by Denise Swanson

The Blurb :

Not a Monster of a Chance is a short story set in Scumble River, once again featuring Skye Denison. It is set during her summer vacation where she has taken a job as a lifeguard to supplement her income and a drowning victim disappears. What happened to the woman? Is she a victim of the Scumble River Monster?

My Thoughts :

I started the Scumble River Mysteries last month and so far I am really enjoying the series.  So when I was checking out which book was next in line, I saw that there was a short story between books two and three.  Keeping to the order I decided to read this quick novella and stay on track.

There isn't much to say about this short tale.  It was a nice quick read and entertaining enough.  The mystery was fun and it was nice to see Skye during her vacation even if she is working.  It was also good to see how things are going with the other characters.

Well worth reading if you are following the series and certainly a nice short story to read if you want to get a feel for the series in general.  However don't forget that his series is already 17 book in and this is only #2.5 so it is a little older and not as technologically advanced as the cozies you read these days!

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Amberkatze's Book Blog

Sunday, June 21, 2015

66) Final Exam by Maggie Barbieri

The Blurb :

St. Thomas, the college north of New York City where Alison teaches, has had its share of scandals involving its students, staff, and Alison herself, so when a Resident Director goes missing they keep it quiet by tapping Alison as a replacement. A stay in the dorms is like hard time and she will do anything to avoid it. Her way out: Find the reluctant resident and drag him back. Luckily, she doesn’t have to look further than the drugs he’s hidden to get her boyfriend, Detective Bobby Crawford, on the case.

My Thoughts :

The Murder 101 Mysteries is another series I am trying to catch-up on/finish.  I switched to listening to the series because I wasn't making much progress on the books and they were hard to get/expensive in other formats.  Audible has all of the series and I am slowly but surely making my way through them and I think there are two or three more in the series.

As themes for cozy mysteries go this one isn't a bad one.  I have enjoyed the series since the beginning and despite sometimes finding Alison a little annoying, I do find her to be funny and interesting.  However this fourth book in the series was not as good as the previous books and unless the next books in the series are really bad then I will be naming Final Exam the worst in the series.

I still give this book three stars because it wasn't bad enough for me to give up.  I just found the story to be a little all over the place, repetitive and sometimes boring.  From the beginning I just couldn't get my head around Alison's situation.  I just couldn't believe that her boss could make her move onto campus and take over a students job.  Of course it set the scene for the mystery but it wasn't plausible enough.  But then again the mystery itself wasn't very exciting.

Then there was times in the story where I felt like Alison was repeating herself.  Sometimes I am pretty sure she was finding new information that she actually already knew.  Although on saying that maybe I just made the connections quicker than she did because I have to say Alison comes across as a little stupid in this installment and definitely doesn't seem like a professor.  There were other things that bothered me in this book.  Alison's Detective boyfriend was very uninteresting and her best friend Max was just annoying.

Despite these little moans and groans I did finish listening to the book and will be continuing with the series.  However if the next book doesn't have something special going on it may make me quit while I am ahead.  Also I hope the narrator improves herself as the series continues.  I like her voice but now and again her pronunciation seems wrong.  Maybe it is the American vs. British English (which has never been a problem for me before) but it comes across to often for me to believe that.

A nice series so far despite this not so good Final Exam.  Will be interesting to see what the next book has to offer and what developments the regular characters make after the problems that occurred in this book.

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Amberkatze's Book Blog

Saturday, June 20, 2015

65) Flipped Out by Jennie Bentley

The Blurb :

Avery and her hunky handyman boyfriend are renovating a house belonging to a local news anchor who's thrilled to be filmed as part of a home renovation show. But cable television fame proves fleeting when the man is murdered and Avery faces the task of nailing the killer. Fast.

My Thoughts :

This series on my list of series I need to catch up with/finish.  Seeing as there are only seven books in the series I think I am doing well with my goal because this is book five!  I actually plan on finishing the series off within the next month so I can cross it off my list.

Now it may sound like I am pushing or forcing myself to complete the goal I set myself but to be honest I am really enjoying the series and can't wait to read the final two books.  It will be sad to see things come to an end but I hope the series ends in a good way.

This fifth installment was just as good as the previous books.  Great characters and location with a well thought out mystery.  The theme is always the same with Avery and Derek 'flipping' a house.  However this time they are taking part in a TV series and the renovation and decoration has to be done in record time.

There may not have been as much location candy this time and there also wasn't much history to delve into but the story was good and I enjoyed getting to meet some different characters.  I was also happy to see some of the regular characters making some progress in their relationships.  So the on-going story made some progress.

What else can I say?  The series is definitely worth checking out if you like cozies.  Home improvement aside this is a great series mostly because of the characters and location.  The theme just makes things more interesting even if all that DIY stuff isn't your thing.

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

June Pre-Orders & Recommendations

This post has been sitting in my drafts folder for the last couple of weeks.  Amazon was playing up and the widgets just weren't working so I decided to try again another day and suddenly two weeks have gone by.   Oh and I actually wanted to post a review today but Goodreads is playing up ;)

Anyway,  another month is upon us again and that means it is time to look back at some of the best books I read lately and to take a look at which books I am highly anticipating.

The "My Recommendations" widget lists the books I really enjoyed over the last month or so and I highly recommend you read. Of course there will always be something you don't fancy and there may even be an ARC or two thrown in there but you can quickly click over to Amazon and see what the book is about or when it releases.

The Pre-order list is exactly that!  A Selection of the books I have on pre-order. If you are looking forward to a certain book on the list you may want to go pre-order it yourself. It also gives you an idea of what books I am planning to read and which ones I really want so much that I order them in advance.  Some of the books on this list may already be on my Kindle because I was lucky enough to get an Advanced Copy.

Every month I try and update the lists and post them on the blog so you can all see they have been updated and what is on them.

Take a look at this months My Recommendations and Pre-orders! Let me know if you see something you like! Or maybe there is something you think I have forgotten!?