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Monday, October 5, 2015

Currently Ready & To Be Read

Well I have nearly reached my 100 books read aim for this year with still over two months to go.  It actually surprises me that I have read so much despite not really reading, in my opinion, a lot.

I haven't been feeling so good lately so my reading has suffered a little.  Plus my to be read pile got all messed up again when I came across a couple of review books I hadn't read in time for their release dates so I am playing catch up again!

Currently Reading :

This book released this week and I haven't started it yet.  It is next up after I finish another review book.

I love Kelly Armstrong and look forward to checking out this book.  The blurb says it is two brand new tales so I hope they really are new.  However the page count looks like these two tales are pretty long.

Hope to have this one read by the end of next weekend.  I have way more time to listen to books than sit down and read them this year.

Currently Listening To : 

I have gotten really addicted to this series and seeing as I am really behind I have no problem listening to another.  I would probably binge the whole series if it wasn't for some other books I have that need to be listened to.

The Scumble River series is long running and pretty old.  This is the sixth book and I think there are about eleven more I need to read to be all caught up.  It is really amusing to pick up this series and have everyone looking for phones because mobiles are a big thing yet.  There are other quirky aspects in there too and I am enjoying a little look back to the past.

Pretty sure this book will be finished by the middle of the week, if not sooner.

The Dreaded 'To Be Read' Pile :

There are so many books on this list that are not getting read!  Why?  Arrgggh!  Frustrating!

I haven't really updated the list but not a lot has changed.  I need to do a bit of cleaning up this month!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

97) The Scam by Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg

The Blurb :

Nicolas Fox is a charming con man and master thief on the run. Kate O’Hare is the FBI agent who is hot on his trail. At least that’s what everyone thinks. In reality, Fox and O’Hare are secretly working together to bring down super-criminals the law can’t touch. Criminals like brutal casino magnate Evan Trace.

Evan Trace is running a money-laundering operation through his casino in Macau. Some of his best customers are mobsters, dictators, and global terrorists. Nick and Kate will have to go deep undercover as high-stakes gamblers, wagering millions of dollars—and their lives—in an attempt to topple Trace’s empire.

It’s a scam that will take Fox and O’Hare from the Las Vegas strip, to the sun-soaked beaches of Oahu’s North Shore, and into the dark back alleys of Macau. Their only backup—a self-absorbed actor, a Somali pirate, and Kate’s father, and an ex-soldier who believes a rocket launcher is the best way to solve every problem. What could possibly go wrong?

My Thoughts :

The fourth installment in the Fox & O'Hare series was one of the better ones.  Maybe I am just used to the characters now or maybe I understand the con better with each experience, whatever the reason, I liked The Scam more than I thought I would.

My other experiences with this series have also been good but I was a little curious about how the series would continue and if it could continue to have that spark that was there in the first couple of books.  I also wasn't sure if I could put up with Evanovich's usual style of 'should she or shouldn't she' with Fox & O'Hare's relationship.  However it may turn out that Goldberg is a good influence on her or is just writing more of the book than she is.

The con this time around was as elaborate as the previous ones with a personal aspect slipped in to keep things interesting.  Once again the con takes the reader around the world and shows them a side of life that is usually reserved for mobsters and terrorists.  If the side the authors are showing is a true picture of what really goes on is not for me to comment on but it makes for great reading and comes across as realistic.

While this series could sound serious and more thriller than cozy mystery, it does have that air of mystery and definitely has the humour and hint of romance that a cozy usually has.  While the humour isn't the constant laugh out loud kind it is a subtle giggle kind.  The romance is part of the humour and isn't too in your face but very present and underlying.

I like the characters and enjoy the situations they get themselves into.  Over the last four books I have gotten to know them all pretty well and look forward to meeting up with them again.  Especially after the cliffhanger ending that the book left me peering over hoping to find at least one more chapter.  It seems the authors have some good ideas that will keep this series from getting boring and will have the readers coming back for more.

Amberkatze's Book Blog

Thursday, October 1, 2015

96) Still Life in Brunswick Stew by Larissa Reinhart

The Blurb :

Cherry Tucker’s in a stew. Art commissions dried up after her nemesis became president of the County Arts Council. Desperate and broke, Cherry and her friend, Eloise, spend a sultry summer weekend hawking their art at the Sidewinder Annual Brunswick Stew Cook-Off.

When a bad case of food poisoning breaks out and Eloise dies, the police brush off her death as accidental. However, Cherry suspects someone spiked the stew and killed her friend. As Cherry calls on cook-off competitors, bitter rivals, and crooked judges, the police get steamed while the killer prepares to cook Cherry’s goose.

My Thoughts :

This is the second book in the Cherry Tucker Mystery series but the fourth book I have read.  You see I read the third and fourth books first and then went back to the first two.  A silly thing to do but sometimes review books are offered/look very good and you don't know or are not informed that the book is not the first in the series.  I have fallen into this trap way too often!

Anyway, I am finally up to date with the series and even though I read these in the wrong order I don't think it made a huge difference.  To be utterly honest I had forgotten the details of the on-going story despite remembering the mysteries.  So there wasn't much for me to get confused about.  I knew who all the characters were and felt very at home with the location and general feel of the series.

This installment came across as slow.  I am not sure if the narrator was purposely slow but I felt she  could have sped up a little.  It all felt very drawn out and it was frustrating and off putting at times.  The mystery was also a little slow but then again I thought it was pretty obvious right from the beginning what had happened.  The when the details came out about the various suspects I also thought it was obvious who had committed the crime.

Cherry came across as slightly annoying in this book in regards to her art work.  I really just wished she would just get her painting done and stop using the excuse of not having a model.  I admit I am not an artist and know nothing of their process but to me it came across as procrastination.  

Still Life in Brunswick Stew was a nice mystery but a poor audio book.  I don't think I would have ever gotten around to getting up to date with this series unless doing so via audio so I am not saying it was the worst but I definitely wouldn't recommend listening to the books.  I think reading them is more fun.  And this series is certainly fun and quirky.

Amberkatze's Book Blog

Sunday, September 27, 2015

95) About a Vampire by Lynsay Sands

The Blurb :

With immortal good looks and scorching charisma, Justin Bricker has yet to meet a woman he can't win over. His potential life mate should be no different. But instead of falling into his bed, Holly Bosley runs away and ends up mortally wounded. To save her, he has to turn her. And then Bricker learns the shocking truth: Holly's already married.

Holly wakes up with a bump on her head, a craving for blood, and a sexy stranger who insists they belong together. She needs Bricker's help to control her new abilities, even as she tries to resist his relentless seduction. Choosing between the world she knows and the eternity he offers is impossible. But Justin is fighting for his life mate—maybe even his life—and he'll break every rule to do it.

My Thoughts :

About A Vampire is the 22nd book in the Argeneau series and while you may read that and think 'wow the series must be getting old by now', I am here to tell you that it just keeps getting better!

There are always certain aspects of an Argeneau novel that you can rely on.  There will be immortals made, a life mate will be found and there is definitely going to be some sex scenes.  While you can expect all of these three things happening in every book two questions remain unanswered.   How will all come about?  and who will be involved?  The answer is the exciting part of some amazing stories that keep me coming back for more.

Each story seems familiar but no two are the same.  The author manages to come up with new situations, people and challenges that made each story different and special.  Fans of the series have been waiting for Bricker's story and it is just as original and exciting as the other previous twenty-one books.  Less violence that is some of the previous books and not a lot of mystery this time around but the romancing and decisions involved that dominate this story are fun and interesting thanks to Lynsay's wonderful writing style.

If you haven't read any of the books in this series then you really need to give at least one book a go.  I remember thinking I would hate the series when I picked up the first one, many years ago, but I was addicted within a few chapters and haven't missed an installment since.

Going to give these a go? Make sure you start at the beginning because even though each book is told from another characters perspective, the characters from previous books do pop up in other books.  That means you may come across some spoilers if you don't follow the right reading order.

Already a fan?  Make sure you get this one as soon as possible!  It releases this week and is worth adding to your Argeneau collection.

Amberkatze's Book Blog

Saturday, September 26, 2015

94) Murder of a Barbie & Ken by Denise Swanson

The Blurb :

In search of a social life in Scumble River, Skye Denison has revently joined the GUMBettes-the ladies auxiliary of the men's Grand Union of the Mighty Bulls. Now she and her boyfriend Simon hobnob with the upwardly mobile professionals in town. But when a seemingly perfect couple is murdered, Skye discovers that success doesn't equal survival...

My Thoughts :

My fifth visit to Scumble River was just as interesting as the previous four.  This series may be a little old and I am definitely far behind in the story, but it is very well written and very addictive cozy mystery series.

This time around there are some interesting developments in the on-going story when Skye gets a house guest who knows Simon very well.  There are also some little advances in her relationship with Simon but nothing dramatic.

There isn't really anything new to say about this book or the series that hasn't been said already.  This book is thirteen years old and there are many more for me to catch up on.  So all I will say is that this is a solid series, well worth reading if you haven't already and definitely worth listening to if you like audio books.

I am looking forward to the next installment and will most likely start listening to it very soon.  Yes it is already on my device!

Amberkatze's Book Blog

Saturday, September 19, 2015

93) Ripple of Secrets by Denise Grover Swank

The Blurb :

After her assistant DA boyfriend’s near brush with death, Rose Gardner hopes to make it through the holiday season with a minimal amount of drama. But she can’t forget the promise she made to the king of the Fenton County underworld in exchange for Mason’s life. What’s worse, she’s not the only one keeping secrets—Mason has been working on a hush-hush case in his private time, Joe is grappling with the sudden reappearance of his sister after a mysterious two-year disappearance, and Hilary continues in her single-minded quest to secure a commitment from Joe at any cost—for motives only she understands.

Though peace and quiet is all Rose wants, it’s the last thing she’s liable to get. And the ripple of secrets in her life threatens to create an undertow that will endanger her and everyone she holds dear.

My Thoughts :

Yes I know!  I only just finished listening to book six in the series and shouldn't even be thinking about Rose Gardner for another couple of weeks but this between the numbers novella was begging me to read it and I wanted something quick to read today.

I am not a huge fan of short stories.  Especially from this series.  Usually they are a rehash of what just happened in the previous book from different perspectives.  While they usually offer some slight insight to the feelings and actions of various characters the story always feels like a waste of time.  However Ripple of Secrets offers some extremely important information and introduces a new character.  This novella is one that needs to be read before moving onto book seven and I am glad I took the time to read it.

The different perspectives are sometimes a little confusing but it is nice to see things from Mason's side as well as Joe's.  Also taking the reins this time around is Hilary.  A character I can't stand.  Although after reading this short story and finding out more about her past it is hard not to suddenly feel confused about how I feel about her.  Do I respect her?  Pity her?

This is one of the aspects of this series that the author has really managed to get me hooked on.  The characters.  I have built up feelings for them and there are so many unanswered questions.  I want to see how their lives continue and what happens next.  The cliffhanger ending in this short story only makes me want to listen to the next installment straight away.  It also makes me extremely happy that I am following this series in book order.

Another great installment and while it was only short, Ripple of Secrets, really packed a punch or two.

Amberkatze's Book Blog

Friday, September 18, 2015

92) Thirty-Three and a Half Shenanigans by Denise Grover Swank

The Blurb :

Rose is called into action when Neely Kate’s cousin goes missing and the police refuse to take it seriously. But while the authorities—Rose’s ex-boyfriend, included—are certain the missing woman has run away, mounting evidence points to foul play. Rose agrees to help her friend, even if it means partaking in Neely Kate’s shenanigans, including an impromptu trip to a strip club.

And because trouble never comes without a guest, Skeeter Malcolm, Fenton County’s newly crowned underground king, resurfaces, saying he needs Rose’s visionary gift to track down his enemies. He makes her the only offer she can’t refuse: The guaranteed safety of her assistant DA boyfriend, Mason Deveraux, who is being threatened by forces unknown. The Fenton County law enforcement is still abuzz about the infamous Lady in Black, who took part in the underground auction that earned Skeeter his crown. Can Rose risk a reprisal of her role?

As the stakes continue to rise and the search for Neely Kate’s cousin becomes increasingly complicated, Rose must struggle to keep both her secret identity and her sanity.

My Thoughts :

Book #6 in the Rose Gardner series has been waiting on my Audible app for a couple of weeks now.  I am trying to restrain myself from just listening to them all in one gulp and instead make some progress on other audio series I have been listening to.  However each story just makes this series more and more addictive to listen to.

This time around there is a lot of Neely Kate which is great.  There are, as the title suggests, a lot of shenanigans which are fun and thrilling at the same.  Not a lot of work went on so there wasn't much Violett (which was refreshing) and Bruce Wayne (which was kind of sad).  Of course there was enough Mason and Joe to go around but it wasn't all fighting and drama this time around.  Skeeter Malcolm played an even bigger part in this sixth installment and it is obvious that we haven't seen the end of him yet.  Rose's Shenanigans have gotten her into more problems that she had before this book started.

There is something addictive about this series and I am not sure if it is just the Audible version that makes it so good.  The narrator has obviously enjoys the story as much as the readers do and she does a wonderful job of bringing the books to life.  Of course the author is the one to praise.  Putting together such a bunch of interesting and crazy characters and wrapping them all up in weird mysteries.  The paranormal aspect of Rose's visions makes this series memorable and the relationship drama is definitely a big selling point too.

If you haven't tried this series yet then you are missing out on something that manages to be serious but also very funny in a witty sort of way.  I only have one more installment to read (and a novella) to put me up to date and I hope there will be many more books to come because these characters definitely have a lot more stories to tell.

Amberkatze's Book Blog