Monday, November 28, 2022

Kelley Armstrong: Murder at Haven's Rock

As this is a spin off series from Kelley Armstrong's Rockton series you will probably want to read that series first starting with City of the Lost. However, I think you could start here if you have not read the other series, as long as you give some leeway in not knowing the main characters back story.

Kelley Armstrong is back with the main characters of her Rockton series, but a new town means new dangers that threaten everything before they can even open:

A new type of town is being built in the Yukon wilderness with the a unique residents, but the residents can only come there once the town is built. Hindering the build is now there are two workers missing, they had gone out into the forest (which they were no suppose to do) and never came back. Det. Casey Duncan and her husband Sheriff Eric Dalton are now in the town and looking into both missing persons. When a body is discovered in the forest, missing person quickly turns into possible murder. With a missing man still in the forest, Casey and Duncan must do everything they can to find him for he may hold to key to what happened to the woman. New town, New territory, means new dangers and aspects of trying to make a town in the middle of no where and some things that they could never have foreseen. 

I think readers of the Rockton series wondered if Armstrong was going to continue on with these characters as the events and unanswered questions of Rockton were answered in the last two books in that series. I personally was extremely happy that Armstrong decided to continue on with these characters in a new setting.

I think that was my favourite part of this book was a new setting at haven's Rock. The characters do not know the area or terrain. Dalton is in his Element but out of it at the same time as he does not know this land like he did around Rockton. This created more suspense and sense of danger when they were in the forest, as Dalton could not predict who was coming or if an animal called this place home. We also get to meet some neighbours of the area that Casey and Dalton were not quite aware of and I am looking forward to see how those dynamics play out.

Now on the the murder investigation. Does Armstrong have a style/formula that she has used in her Rockton series? Yes. Does she use this one when she starts out this series? Yes but I think with the change of setting and change of characters in this book introduces a new dynamics into the formula. I personally flipped a few times trying to figure out they whole scope of things as there is more than one body in this one as well as who was responsible. With the introduction of cast new and old Casey does have to start from scratch with trying to figure everything out. 

I was happy to see that many of the main cast of secondary characters are going to continue to be a Haven's Rock. It will also be interesting to see how a new dynamic is created with different terms for people seeking refuge there with the old residences. I mean you still do have  a few questionable individuals coming from Rockton and with the new neighbours situation you know things are not going to go as Casey and Dalton planned.

I really enjoyed this book on many levels, of having characters come back that I like, new change in setting as well as a mystery that kept me guessing till the end. I look forward to seeing where Armstrong takes this series as I know I will be here to read it.

If You Like This,
Check These Out Too:

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Keri Arthur: Hell's Bell

This is the second book in the series, so to understand some character relationships, setting and wild magic you need to read the first book Blood Kissed. It is a good read and start to a series.
Keri Arthur is back in the next book in her Lizzie Grace series, and Death strikes with the tolling of a church bell 3 times:

With Christmas approaching Lizzie and Belle are hoping to further cement their lives in the Faelan Werewolf reservation. When Lizzie is is woken with the sounding of church bells she know that evil has come back to the reservation. This evil has the ability to eat the souls of the living and animate the flesh of the dead. This is way beyond Lizzie and Belle's knowledge which calls for the need to have a new reservation witch come and deal with this evil, but what Lizzie and Belle get is not only a competent witch but one that knows that Lizzie and Belle are more than what they seems and threatens to endanger what they have been running from all these years.

I'm always in search for a good Urban Fantasy series and while I don't think I would normally migrate to one where the main character is a witch, I think that Arthur has swayed me into that direction with this series. I like the small town setting, the characters and that Arthur does not pick the typical Bad Guy/Creature for the book. This book picks up almost immediately after the first book ended, and I am glad that Arthur decided to do this. I think that by not having any time pass between the books, show that nothing has happened in the background to that would affect the characters and setting of the book

One of my favourite part of the series so far is the connection between Lizzie and Belle. I love that they have each other's back in any situation no matter the danger. It was also interesting to see the expanding of their own powers. I think Belle would be a terrifying person to be on her bad side with her mind powers.

I like that Arthur is having Lizzie and Aiden's relationship build slowly, I actually prefer this in series instead of having them hop into bed with them the first moment they get, as then I find the books become how many more sex scenes can i have with these two characters than an actual plot of the book. 

Not sure how many more time I can hear that Lizzie is an under powered witch, yet then proves that she is not. I like how people around her are starting to question that statement and hope that they push it more. Ashworth is a great addition to this story as he knows and can sense there is more to them than what they are saying. I also wish that we knew more about why Lizzie and Belle fled other than her being blamed for her older sister's death. You know that there is more to the story and i want to know what it is and why Lizzie feels like she needs to hide it.

Overall, I am really enjoying this series and I am looking forward to continuing on, not just to discover what Lizzie is hiding, but to see what creature Arthur will have Lizzie and Belle battle next.

If You Like This,
Check These Out Too:

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Alaina Urquhart: The Butcher and the Wren

Alaina Urquhart shows that a serial kill will stop at nothing for the perfect kill:

Dr. Wren Muller is one of the best forensic pathologists out there, and there has not been a case that she has not been able to figure out the manner of death to help the police. Now there is something dark and evil lurking in the Louisiana bayou, one where the killer is using inventive ways to kill.

I might be in the minority here but I do not know Urquhart from their podcast. I have yet to get into podcasts as I do not have enough time for those and audiobooks so I didn’t have the expectations others had going into this book. Now that I know this fact, I feel there were certain aspects of the book that Urquhart could have done better.

I liked when "The Butcher" was being more the mad scientist with his methods and Urquhart took the time to for him to explain the method and where the idea came from. Those were The Butcher's more sinister moments. I felt like the Butcher had yet to find a complete MO for doing things, and kept trying different things which was interesting but at the same time he felt incomplete and kept changing a bit too much throughout the book. 

I think my favourite part of this book was that the major twist was in the middle of the book as I did not see it coming. It really changes the story, overall flow, and mystery aspects of the book. I really really enjoyed that Urquhart did this, as without it the book would just be very similar to other mystery/thriller books with serial killers.

I think that Urquhart did not take the time to truly flesh out the characters, even Wren as a main character. We are told very surface level information about her and her life, but nothing beyond that. We get a little bit of her personality, but nothing to let the reader really know Wren, especially with events that happen within the book.

There were times in regards to Wren's profession that Urquhart asked us to extend our belief's a little too much. I don’t think a forensic pathologist would be brought out on police operations, like hunting for a killer at a music festival. I'm not sure that she would be able to smell a body amongst all the other orders that would be there, especially as it was written that she was some distance away. And I am fairly certain that they do not attend crime scenes, pretty sure they wait for the body to be sent to them (this aspect I could forgive though, as I think many crime dramas do this). I just had higher expectations about these aspects after I found out that she was a true crime podcaster, you should know your stuff when it comes to crime and how they are investigated and who does what.

Overall I enjoyed this book and I would check out another book by Urquhart or if this book becomes a series with that ending? I just hope that Urquhart takes the time to flesh out the main and minor characters a bit more.

If You Like This,
Check These Out Too:

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Elle Cosimano: Finlay Donovan Knock'em Dead

This is the second book in the series and to fully appreciate this one you need to read the first book Finlay Donovan is Killing It.

Elle Cosimano is back with Finlay Donovan who may sometimes want her ex-husband dead but doesn’t want anyone else to kill him:

It starts with some back room Chats that Vero is looking at looking for the next job that Finlay should accept, even though the last one was a one time thing. At the livery least Vero chocks it up to research as Finlay seems to have writers block for the next book in her series. When Vero stumbles upon a hit on Finlay’s ex-husband Steven she knows she has to do what she can to prevent, but before she can accept the hit, someone beats her to it. Determined to protect Steven, figure who the other hit woman is and who took out the hit on Steven, Finlay has her work cut out for her and she needs to get it down before the deadline of her book.

Sometimes it is hard to right a sequel to an amazing book that many have loved. It is often compared to the first one, was it as good? Funny enough? And I am happy to say that Cosimano did not disappoint with this book.

I really love this series as it is me laugh but also that Cosimano is also able to weave an interesting mystery throughout the book. Like who did put out a hit on Finlay’s ex-husband and the lengths and antics that Finlay and Vero go to had me laughing a lot, maybe not as much as the first but one still pretty close.

I honestly did not mind the romance in the book as Finlay really does not know how to date, so everything is a bit of a train wreck. I’m not a fan of the love triangle that is playing out but I can live with it as long as it doesn’t become the sole focus of the story.

I like that Finlay is able to take what is happening in her real life and translate it, in a way, to her next novel as it makes Finlay feel more real. But then part of me questions how long Finlay (and Cosimano) can keep this up before someone really get hurt (Finlay) or the ideas become stale (Cosimano).

This book is a fun easy mystery read that not only keeps you on the edge of your seat but also laughing out loud. I cannot wait to read the next book in this series

If You Like This,
Check These Out Too: