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Archive for the ‘8’ Category

Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters

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Crocodile on Sandbank

Crocodile on Sandbank

Amelia Peabody, indomitable Victorian, embarks for Egypt armed with confidence, journal, and umbrella. Enroute to Cairo, she rescues dainty Evelyn, abandoned by her lover. They sail up the Nile to the archeological dig of the Emerson brothers – irascible but dashing Radcliffe and amiable Walter. A lively mummy, visitations, accidents, kidnap attempt – evil is afoot. (From Goodreads)

This book went off to a bit of a slow start, but it was a nice introduction to Amelia and how she came to be. I enjoy her character, she stands out in Victorian society, she’s strong willed and fiercely independent. Evelyn comes along later in the plot and she’s the complete opposite. Yet the two are fast friends and compliment each other. When the Emerson brothers are introduced, one can already come to conclusions as to who goes out with who. They make cute couples, although Amelia and her love interest was the best of the two couples (love their bantering)

The plot itself is a really nice mixture of historical fiction and mystery. There’s elements of thriller/horror in the plot itself so as it progresses. The mystery doesn’t really start until at least a third way into the story. There is a supernatural element into the story as well, but of course, being a historical mystery, there’s a logical explanation to it all.

The only few criticisms I have of this story is the slow pace of it, character development is fine and fills the plot in between, but it’s not until you read further into the book does the mystery intensify and become more thrilling.

Still, it’s worth a read. Historical mystery lovers will enjoy the start of what looks like a great series. I’ll be looking for the second one to read as well.

I give it an 8 out of 10

Written by Karoline

September 24, 2014 at 9:39 am

The Ronin’s Mistress by Laura Joh Rowland

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The Ronin's MistressJapan, 1703. On a snowy night, 47 warriors murder the man at the center of the scandal that turned them from samurai into masterless ronin two years before. Clearly this was an act of revenge–but why did they wait so long? And is there any reason they should not immediately be ordered to commit ritual suicide? Sano Ichiro, demoted from Chamberlain to his old post as Most Honorable Investigator of Events, Situations, and People, has mere days to solve the greatest mystery of samurai legend–while his own fortunes hang in the balance. (from Goodreads)

I’m still a loyal reader of Sano Ichiro novels. I love them. I love the mystery, the political intrigue and how Sano is always dangling by the thread but manages to save the day but there’s always something looming around the corner where he’ll be dangling by a thread again.

This one was good, loyal readers will enjoy this and new readers will also like this. Background information on the 47 ronin helps a bit but not necessary. The title is a bit misleading, the Mistress is mentioned, but she doesn’t really play such a huge role in the book nevertheless. The plot was pretty good. Lots of twists and turns, and when you get towards the ending that’s where everything is so skillfully packed in you’ll feel like rereading it again just in case you missed something important. It’s always the last third of the book that gets you in the gut!

The only gripe I have, and I’ve been ranting about this for the past few novels now is the mystical Hirata issue. Please stop. It’s getting ridiculous and I’m finding when Hirata is featured, I’m starting to dread it. He used to be a personal favorite. Now he’s become this annoying mystical pest and I don’t care if he can feel auras of other people and can meditate in pretzel format (no, he doesn’t do this, but you know what I mean). He’s starting to become something I don’t want to read about. Please stop before you go further. This series DOES NOT need anything supernatural. Keep it real. Please.

Loyal fans will like this, newbies will too. A great historical read (and not many features in medieval Japan!) give it a go!

I give it an 8 out of 10

Written by Karoline

November 19, 2013 at 8:12 pm

Almost to Die for by Tate Hallway

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Almost to die for

Almost to die for

On her sixteenth birthday, Anastasija Parker learns that her so-called deadbeat dad is actually a vampire king. And he wants Ana to assume her rightful position at his side, in spite of the fact that she has witch’s blood running through her veins-from her mother’s side. Too bad witches and vampires are mortal enemies. And now Ana’s parents are at each other’s throats over her future. It’s up to Ana to make a choice, but deciding your eternal destiny is a pretty big deal for a girl who just wants to get through high school. (From Amazon.ca)

For such a short book, it was a great read! it take an idea that’s not quite new, and puts a new spin on it. The writing in the book is quick and fun to read. The characters were also quite memorable and extremely likable.

The magic part of the book was simple, yet satisfying. It was fun to read Bea do her little spells with a simple “zap”. Plus, it was fun to see the magic at work. The plot itself was really good and easy to follow. Ana has wit, and her thoughts are extremely entertaining and funny to read. Naturally, in nearly all YA’s out there, there is a love triangle in the making, but it’s not cheesy or overdone. Both Nikolai and Elias are likable in their own way although I’d have to say, I’m leaning towards Elias a lot more.

I’ve read one other of Hallaway’s books and enjoyed it as well, so I’m going to continue reading this series. It’s enjoyable and a fun light read without any overbearing cliches and cheesiness. Give this one a try if you’re into paranormal YA and want something quick between long epic reads.

I give it an 8 out of 10.

Written by Karoline

February 10, 2013 at 6:59 pm

The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle

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The Hallowed OnesKatie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenagers can get a taste of the real world. But the real world comes to her in this dystopian tale with a philosophical bent. Rumors of massive unrest on the “Outside” abound. Something murderous is out there. Amish elders make a rule: No one goes outside, and no outsiders come in. But when Katie finds a gravely injured young man, she can’t leave him to die. She smuggles him into her family’s barn—at what cost to her community? The suspense of this vividly told, truly horrific thriller will keep the pages turning. (From Amazon.ca)

You know what got me to read this? Amish. Then the word ‘dystopian’ showed up somewhere in the same paragraph. Yep. Instantly got me into the book.

So it starts off well. Katie is your typical heroine of the book. Strong willed but obedient when necessary, but knows when to say something when things don’t look right. I liked how what was ‘Outside’ was a total mystery until at least midway into the book. Even when you encounter them the first time with Katie, you’re still not quite sure what they are.

Then the tidbits of information come out (sort of like the breadcrumb approach) and once you find out what is Outside, ‘inside’ just seems a whole lot safer now. The horror aspect of this novel was very well written and well done. Sometimes, what you don’t know is a lot more scarier. You do find out what they are, and it’s still just as scary. Just the way they were portrayed and written does actually raise a hair or two at the back of your neck.

Throughout the other half of the novel there’s more horror and a bit of romance in the mix. (What would a YA be without a potential love triangle). Watching Katie make her own choices showed a lot of her development as a character – plus you also saw some other characters develop (and then go down the downward spiral) (coughElijahcough). The romance part of it was okay. A little cliche towards the end but tolerable.

The ending was good. Wasn’t really a cliffhanger but it’s good enough to keep you interested for the next one. I can’t wait to see what happens. I definitely recommend this to YA readers.

I give it an 8 out of 10.

Written by Karoline

September 30, 2012 at 9:39 pm

The Night Season by Chelsea Cain

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The Night SeasonWith the Beauty Killer Gretchen Lowell locked away behind bars once again, Archie Sheridan—a Portland police detective and nearly one of her victims—can finally rest a little easier. Meanwhile, the rest of the city of Portland is in crisis. Heavy rains have flooded the Willamette River, and several people have drowned in the quickly rising waters. Or at least that’s what they thought until the medical examiner discovers that the latest victim didn’t drown: She was poisoned before she went into the water. Soon after, three of those drownings are also proven to be murders. Portland has a new serial killer on its hands, and Archie and his task force have a new case. Reporter Susan Ward is chasing this story of a new serial killer with gusto, but she’s also got another lead to follow for an entirely separate mystery: The flooding has unearthed a skeleton, a man who might have died more than sixty years ago, the last time Portland flooded this badly, when the water washed away an entire neighborhood and killed at least fifteen people. (From Amazon.ca)

If you picked this book up to read more on Gretchen, you won’t find much about her. She is mentioned but not until literally, the last pages of the book.

Anyhow, I thought this was a nice break away from Gretchen (you can only drag her out for how many books?) and focuses on a much different serial killer. I really enjoyed reading about this new mystery killer, but the setting and the floods add to an already dark and sinister setting. The floods themselves do add more action and suspense (especially towards the end) so I thought this was a nice addition to an already dark setting.

The pace of this plot was really good, and the short chapters makes the reading go much faster than usual. I like how there are no lulls in the plot. Although the sub plot with Susan Ward is not as interesting, it’s still related to the main storyline and provides more background information that is important to understanding the plot. There are quite a few moments of total suspense and thrills. The ending and the revealing of the killer had a lot of action sequences, and as mentioned before, the floods add more to the action and suspense. There was one particular moment in the book where I feared for a character (not going to reveal, am trying to keep this spoiler free!).

The only thing I didn’t like about this book is the way the killer killed his victims. It’s a little far fetched and perhaps to some readers, they might find it silly. It’s different, and I have not read anything like this. Although I found it a little unbelievable, it’s still interesting and still worth reading.

I’m glad there’s a break from Gretchen. For a moment I thought this Gretchen thing might drag and just might make the series go downhill. It may disappoint some readers, but this plot was well done, the characters are consistent, and I think it’s worth the read. With a tiny cliffhanger ending, I am curious to find out what happens next to Archie and Susan.

I give it an 8/10

Written by Karoline

September 4, 2012 at 6:32 pm

The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe

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The Way We FallWhen a deadly virus begins to sweep through sixteen-year-old Kaelyn’s community, the government quarantines her island—no one can leave, and no one can come back. Those still healthy must fight for dwindling supplies, or lose all chance of survival. As everything familiar comes crashing down, Kaelyn joins forces with a former rival and discovers a new love in the midst of heartbreak. When the virus starts to rob her of friends and family, she clings to the belief that there must be a way to save the people she holds dearest. Because how will she go on if there isn’t? (From Amazon.ca)

This book is in a journal narrative. I’ve known some that may not like that format – I’m okay with it as long as it’s interesting. For the majority of the book, it is VERY interesting. Kaelyn’s a great narrator. Everything is through her eyes, so you know her thoughts, but you can definitely feel her fears and her concerns. Especially her paranoia. Oh yes, you can feel it. I myself, started getting itchy all over just because the way she describes it gives you the heebie jeebies. (It’s like watching the movie Contagion…and having to wash your hands 6 times and getting nervous when the people around you start to cough).

It’s interesting to note this takes place on a small island, so you’re not going to have a huge societal breakdown where massive amounts of chaos and anarchy come to life. Yes, there is a breakdown in order but nowhere near what you usually come across in books that take place in great metropolitan areas for example. Still, I like the way Kaelyn takes charge. I like how she manages to take care of Meredith despite all the circumstances. I just love her strength. It really resonates throughout the novel as the virus spreads.

The virus itself is scary and well written. It’s enough to get you all paranoid and make you want to whip out the hand sanitizer every few minutes. There were moments of sheer rage in the book, just because some people just acted so stupid (realistic, however, given the circumstances) and I just about screamed for blood about the outcome of a certain character (not going to give it away!).

So after reading all this, I had to ask myself; Where in the WORLD is Drew?!?!?! and the ending just got me impatient for the next one. This is definitely worth a read. YA Readers will gobble this up and enjoy reading it as much as I did!

I give it an 8 out of 10.

And lots of bonus points because it takes place in Canada. woot! 😀

Written by Karoline

July 24, 2012 at 6:23 pm

Love in Disguise by Carol Cox

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Love in DisguiseWhen costume-maker Ellie Moore suddenly finds herself out of a job in the middle of a bleak Chicago winter, she uses her knowledge of theatrical disguise to secure a position as an undercover operative with the Pinkerton Detective Agency. Her assignment: find the culprit behind the theft of silver shipped from the mines near Pickford, Arizona. Disguised as Lavinia Stewart, a middle-aged widow, Ellie begins her investigation. Soon she finds she must also pose as the dazzling young Jessie Monroe, whose vivacious personality encourages people to talk. Mine owner Steven Pierce is about to lose his business after the theft of several bullion shipments–until hope arrives in the unlikely form of Lavinia Stewart, who offers to invest in Steven’s mine. In his wildest dreams, Steven never expected to be rescued by an inquisitive gray-haired widow…or to fall head over heels for Lavinia’s captivating niece, Jessie. But then the thieves come after both Lavinia and Jessie. Ellie isn’t safe no matter which character she plays! Will she be forced to reveal her true identity before the criminals are caught? What will Steven do when he discovers the woman he loves doesn’t exist? (From Amazon.ca)

I love these kinds of books. Not only are they light hearted to read and perfect when you’re ‘in between’ heavy reads. I love the historical setting, it’s so well written and I could picture everything so easily. I would say it’s accurate to the history aspect of things and it certainly does capture the ‘Wild West’ picture quite well.

I loved Ellie. She’s so determined! I liked that quality about her. Her talent for switching between Jessie and Lavinia is very well done and as she dodges several obstacles here and there (the part with Amos being an unwanted admirer was fun to read). The other characters in this book are really just secondary characters – even Steven, who’s the love interest, doesn’t really develop in great detail as Ellie does. However, Ellie’s character development is very well done. The book focuses more on her, and how she realizes who she really is despite playing two very different roles. I liked this part of the book, it was very well done.

The plot itself was a great read. Although, I would have preferred more emphasis on the mystery part of the book. There is a mystery element, but it’s not that heavily emphasized. In certain chapters, there is a bit of suspense built up and makes you wonder who it could be, but there’s just too many secondary characters to really take a good guess and I personally found myself to not really care too much about the mystery part of the book. I was more focused on Ellie and her character development.

The ending itself was good – a little too quick on solving the mystery, but it was a sweet ending nevertheless. I definitely would recommend those that like these types of books, or who need a light read after the ‘heavy’ ones! I definitely enjoyed reading this one.

I give it an 8 out of 10

“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group”.

Thank you for the review copy!

Written by Karoline

July 5, 2012 at 9:34 pm