Sunday, September 27, 2020

Nancy Warren: The Vampire Knitting Club

In the first in a series Nancy Warren takes readers to Oxford where a knitting shop seems to be the hub for paranormal activity in town:

Lucy Swift travels to Oxford to escape from another bad relationship and just feeling like she has no direction and purpose in life but she know that her Gran will make her feel better and set her on the right path. Lucy is shocked to discover that her Gran is deceased and has been for three week, but Lucy is sure that she just saw her down the street. Lucy discovers that she is her Gran's sole heir to her shop Cardinal Woolsey's a knitting shop and that should keep her busy as she tries to process everything that happens. But it turns out her Gran just cannot stay away. Gran is very much alive, well Undead, a Vampire and the Vampires of Oxford have been using Cardinal Woolsey's as their knitting circle meet up. From Gran Lucy finds that she she did not die peacefully but cannot remember what happened only that her dying was not an accident. Lucy is determined to find out what occurred and she's about to discovery more about herself in the process.

I know this is not my usual read, but for the sake of Halloween Bingo I read one of these cozy mystery books a year and they quite fun and a nice change from what I usually read. I can sum this book up as a pretty cute read with a side of murder that occur. I also think that you can tell from the cover that the vampires within this book are not the scary blood sucking type. Actually you find out pretty early on they have a side hustle to get their blood supply and really a vampire knitting club, I guess who doesn’t have more time than the vampire to learn how to perfect the art of knitting. What I liked that Warren did though was not all the members of the club were old (when they were turned) and female, there were a few men in there as well. Additionally, I think that Warren did a good job in trying to throw as many suspects or red herrings as she could as to who the killer actually was, I did find myself changing my mind a few times, but was able to figure it out. Nevertheless, Warren does a good job with the mystery aspect.

I liked that there wasn’t any romance in this book. I mean it is hinted at that there may be a triangle in the future but this was much more about Lucy trying to adjust to her Gran’s “death” and trying to find out who did it. So minimal relationship and romance which is strange for a cozy mystery but appreciate it.

Warren does try to do a lot in this book, so a few things are missed along the way in regards to background as to some of the characters and not really fleshing out the main ones there. If I were to read farther in this series (there is always next year's BINGO) I would want a bit more substance to the characters.

So this is an easy read, that is cutesy as you have vampires who spend their undead years perfecting their knitting skills. So if you’re looking for a cozy Halloween read this one is for you.

Enjoy!!!

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Sunday, September 20, 2020

Megan Goldin: The Night Swim

Megan Goldin's main character Rachel Krall takes the readers to the courtroom of a rape case, where she is about to discover there is also a murder within their midst:

Rachel Krall has created a successful podcast, Guilty or Not Guilty, in which she reopens cases to find new evidence to find a new suspect or to free an innocent person. When she able to free an innocent man in her first season there is an outpouring of people wanting her to take on their case, it can be disheartening to have so many people needing help, but she is now on season three and making her way to her new case. However, one note left on her windshield as she was heading to the place for her next podcast gets her attention. Her name is Hannah and she is sure her sister was murdered 25 years ago, and the murderer will be in the courtroom rape trial that Rachel is attending. Rachel as first does not take Hannah's case but with more notes and information emerges Rachel finds herself investigating and finds out that Jenny Stills tragically drowned in a swimming accident. But things are not adding up the more she looks and the rape case Rachel is creating her podcast for has polarized a town. The questions remains will there be justice for all the victims? 

Wow, I truly enjoyed this book, I did not want to put it down. I think that Goldin does a great job of creating the two story lines that are equally interesting and one does not take away from the other. This may be as book really is part mystery and part courtroom drama, as each day Rachel sits in on the rape case so she can create her podcast. The other interesting thing is that Hannah believes that her sister's killer will be in the courtroom as well, so that has to Rachel analyzing everyone who is there as well from Judge to jury. This creates two interesting plot bu also intersect the crimes that are 25 years apart, which is not only creative but a really smart idea.

I'm a sucker for a book that takes place in a small town as there are always secrets and typically the socioeconomic divide that occurs in this towns. And both are well on display within this book, both the rape case and Rachel's investigation into Hannah's sister's death, there may be 20 years between them, but some things never change. I will applaud Rachel when she does her podcast that she tries to stay neutral on all fronts of the trial that she is covering, as the town of Neapolis shows, there is nothing more polarizing it seems than a rape case (well maybe mask wearing).

When I started reading this book, I realized that it would be a perfect audio book listen because of the different point of views as well as the podcast that Rachel creates. The chapters tend to alter from Rachel to Hannah to Rachel's podcast, so the story is well rounded with the information that the reader is receiving. So if you are able to, I would recommend to read this one through an audio book format, you will not be disappointed with it.

I love a surprise and I will say that I did not see the twist or who the killer is coming, so that always gets an extra point from. Make sure you have nothing planned when you start this book you're going to want to read it in one sitting. I know I'm going to be checking out Goldin's other books.

Enjoy!!!
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Sunday, September 13, 2020

Nicholas Sansbury Smith: Allegiance

This is the sixth book in Nicholas Sanasbury Smith's Hell Divers series, and in order to understand this world you are going to need to read the previous books, there is no picking up this series part way through; Hell Divers, Ghosts, Deliverance, Wolves and Captives. Also this series is Amazing and I cannot recommend it enough.

Nicholas Sansbury Smith takes readers back to last habitual place on Earth, but the search for other survivors has only just begum:

The War for the Metal Islands is over after a long bloody battle, Xavier Rodriguez is the new King of the Island and his goal is to merge the Sky people with the Cazadores but this is easier said than done, their culture are very different and not all of the Cazadores are happy with the new ruler. X needs to keep a sharp eye on his back or there could very well be a spear in it. X has also given the Hell Divers a new mission to locate and rescue any other survivors that might be out there. While their cause may be a noble on, gruesome discovery shows that they are not the only one searching for survivors. In a race against time, X must secure his place as King and the Hell Divers have to try and find those who need their help before others got to them first.

Six books into this series and Sansbury Smith still is able to have me on the edge of my seat the whole time. This book has a lot of action scenes within it, but I also found the political sides really interesting as the Sky people and X try to navigate through their new situation and fortunes. From start to finish Sansbury Smith has your attention and does not let go, as this book will have you reading way past your bedtime. Honestly six books in and he is still able to achieve this is amazing.

As you can tell from the cover part of this book takes place in Rio de Janeiro but there are a few story lines that occur throughout the book. Additionally each story line has several different character point of view which really rounds out each story. This may seem like a lot of points of view but we are now six books in to this series and while there have been some deaths along the way (some of them major, yes that includes this book too) we know the characters that have points of view in this book. The main three story lines exist in the air, on the metal island and on the ocean, they do cross over at times, but they are the main themes and missions throughout.

Just when I think that Sansbury Smith has piqued with his creativity he surprises me again, from skin wearing robots to two headed snakes, there is never a dull moment within this book or series for that manner. You do not know what he is going to pull out next or what new Hell creature is going to rear its Ugly head.

I like how Human Sansbury Smith makes X within this book. He is called the immortal for his trek across the wasteland that is Earth and defeating the previous King, but X struggles with many aspects of being a King and the decisions that need to be made. He truly wants to do what is best for the Sky people and Cazadores but does not know how to do this.

This is one of my favourite series out there and with each book that comes out Sansbury Smith keeps me not only entertained and invested in the characters but on the edge of my seat the whole time I'm reading. Not many authors can say that they do that six books in. I can't wait for the next book to come out.

Enjoy!!!
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Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Lucy Foley: The Hunting Party

Lucy Foley takes readers to a remote mountain stay, where friends gather but one of them is about to be murdered:

During the Christmas/New Year break a group of friends from Oxford takes a break to an isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands, an old hunting lodge that has been converted into a luxury stay. The only people on grounds this time of year are the manager and the game keeper, both who has secrets and something they are running from. On December 30 a huge blizzard hits the lodge stopping all in and out travel, the guest and workers are snowed in and may be for some time, however, they have been assured they have enough food in order to wait till the storm passes. Two days later, on New Years day, one of them is dead. There is a murderer amoung those who are at the lodge, and all of them seemingly have a reason to commit such an act.

This book does a lot of things right but I think where Foley really excelled in the format that she chose to write this book in. There are multiple points of views, not just the guest but the manager and games keeper as well. This offers a well rounded story, most of the characters backstories as well as their feelings about the others. There is not just one opinion of a person but many. This helps the reader feel as if they are part of the group staying at the lodge and start to form their own opinions about the characters.

I felt that Foley was able to keep the suspense throughout the book, as you know a murder is going to occur as this is how the book starts out but you don't know who is going to be murdered or who the murderer so it is a fun ride to see how these events play out. The multiple points of views keeps you guessing about who will be murdered and who the murderer is likely to be and you will probably change your mind a few points along the way.

This book really explores how much people change over time and how some people want nothing to change while others just want to move on and love the person that they have become. Sometimes it is hard to keep those friends you have had forever as people take different life paths, no matter how hard you try to hold on to them. This is probably the most common theme throughout the book.

This is the first book I have read by Foley and I really enjoyed it. I look forward to reading another one of her novels.

Enjoy!!!
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Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Marie Lu: Warcross

In the first book in the a series Marie Lu takes readers to a world where everyone lives for an online game called WarCross:

WarCross entered the internet gaming scene ten years ago and now it is not just a game it is a way of life for most people. Everyone logs into the game several times a day or never really leaves the game at all. Emika Chen is working as a bounty hunter to make mends meet but the bounty hunting business is a competative one. Emika is also a computer hacker and she has figured out how to steal some of the most sought after weapons in the games. Emika dares to hack into the WarCross Championships and she succeeds but also accidentally glitches herself into the game. Convinced she is going to be arrested or kicked off of WarCross for life, she is confused when the creator of the Game Hideo Tanaka wants to meet her and ends up offering her a PI job as well. Her task is to uncover the security problem and threat to the Championships and to stop it at all cost, but Emika investigations uncovers an even more sinister plot that could change the world as she knows it.

This is the first book that I have read by Marie Lu and really only the second book that I have read that was really video game/online world based. Overall, I enjoyed this book. I thought that Lu did a good job of setting up the world, characters and the whole world's love aka obsession with WarCross. Once again it is a video game that is more than just a game, it is a way of life for everyone. Even Emika does most of her PI work through War Cross and has a very unique ability to track people using it.

Emika is a fun character, though her age shines through many of the decisions she makes and her ability to be distracted by Hideo. However, I like her intelligence and her ability to think outside the box even within the realm of War Cross. This is probably her greatest asset that she has, she totally see the world differently than other. She also has an amazing ability to process a large amount of information in a short amount of time, also a great quality of a PI who mainly uses computer information.

This book is an interesting mix of many of the popular YA novels out there and takes elements from each. You will find yourself thinking as you read, oh that is very similar to this book and oh I like how she adapted that element to fit here. I do not mean any of this in a negative way, just Lu has found a way to emerge several of the ideas and plots of these books into one place.

The one aspect that I thought took away from the overall interesting story was the relationship between Emika and Hideo. I questions if Lu really needed it in there in order for Emika to complete her job as a PI for Hideo. Truly it served as more of a distraction than anything else, maybe that was deliberate, but I wish that Emika spent more time doing her job or preparing for the games than getting to know Hideo better.

I enjoyed my venture into Warcross especially some of the twists that Lu threw in along the way (though I did see most of them coming), and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Enjoy!!!
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Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Kelley Armstrong: Watcher in the Woods

This is the fourth book in Kelley Armstrong's Rockton series, so to completely appreciate, the characters, plot and the town of Rockton, you need to read the previous three books: City of the Lost, A Darkness Absolute and This Fallen Prey. 

Kelley Armstrong is back with another Rockton book and this time is seems like Rockton's secret may be out:

The town of Rockton is supposed to be a secret, but there are things that need to be done to protect the residence. This means Casey approaching her own estranged sister to help one of their residences that was injured badly in a gun fight, but bringing her there has to be a secret, as that is how Rockton survives. However, word seems to have gotten out about Rockton, when a US Marshal shows up demanding one of the residences. Casey and Dalton have to figure out no only who he is after, stop him from taking them but how the Hell did he find out where Rockton was located. Nothing is ever boring in a town full of not only victims but criminals too, many of whom will stop at nothing to make sure the US Marshal isn't after them.

I always have high hopes for this series and have enjoyed every book so far, but I will say that this is my least favourite book in the series. I found that the beginning was very exciting with the Marshal sniffing around town, and trying to figure out who he is there to take back south, but then the middle really slowed things down and then bang the ending was faced paced again. I guess for me I think that the middle just felt like a lot of filler and no substance. I wish a certain event had not taken place so quickly and there was more of a cat and mouse game to be played. When I have read other books in this series, I never wanted to put the book down. It was always I'll just read one more chapter one more page to see what happened next, where this book I was okay with putting it down.

I really liked the Marshal aspect within this book, I think it was really clever and why wouldn't some of the residence within Rockton have people coming to look for them. Some of them have committed horrible crimes. It was really interesting to see how the residence of Rockton reacted to the knowledge that there was a Marshal hunting one of them down. I know there are the main players within Rockton that we have readers have gotten to know from the previous book but you really don't know everyone, so it was nice to see some new residences show their faces. 

I will say that the addition of April, Casey's estranged sister, to the town and story was just brilliant by Armstrong. I'm so happy that she found a way to bring her to Rockton and to have her and Casey interact with each other, and man is there some comic relief in there. It also shines more of light on how Casey was brought up which does round her out more as a character.

So we're four books in and this is my least favourite of the bunch, however, does that mean this is a bad book? No, I just don't think it lived up to the previous three. I still love this series and characters and totally recommend this series to people, all the time. So I'm totally looking forward to book number 5.

Enjoy!!!!
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