Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Key-Word-Challenge-2014
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2015-04-16 22:55
#CBR7 Book 37: Silent Night by Deanna Raybourn
Twelfth Night - Ellen Archer,Deanna Raybourn

Disclaimer! I was granted a copy of this through NetGalley in return for a fair and honest review. 


This is one of the novellas Deanna Raybourn wrote about her intrepid heroine Lady Julia Grey, who the reader can follow in five very enjoyable Victorian set mysteries, where she solves murders along with her delightful husband Nicholas Brisbane. While this novella can absolutely be read on its own, you shouldn't deny yourself the pleasure of starting at the beginning, with Silent in the Grave


The large and very eccentric March family are all gathered at the family estate, Bellmont Abbey to perform the Twelfth Night revels. This is something they do every ten years and Lady Julia's father is directing the rehearsals like a general in the field. Lady Julia and Brisbane are somewhat distracted by the mystery of who abandoned a newborn infant in the helmet they were intending for St. George. Julia's father, the earl, asks them to locate the child's mother (although they mustn't miss rehearsals while they investigate). 


As the younger generation of Marches present seem just as peculiar and unusal as Lady Julia and many of her siblings, Julia and Brisbane are aided by their some of their nieces and nephews. The clues seem to suggest the baby may have originated in an abandoned and rumoured to be haunted cottage at the edge of the village. The couple are surprised when they discover who is seeking refuge inside.


It's been several years since I read The Dark Enquiry, the fifth and final full novel about Lady Julia and Brisbane. I had actually forgotten about Ms. Raybourn's books for a while, and was delighted to discover that not only had she published four e-novellas continuing the story about one of my favourite Victorian sleuthing couples, but some of her more recent novels are at least loosely connected to the Lady Julia mysteries, with one of them being about one of her nieces. This is a fairly short novella, but it reminded me how funny these books can be and what an amazing supporting cast the many colourful March siblings make up. I am absolutely going to be reading the remaining three novellas as well, the final of which I suspect sets up the ground work for the more recent books, set in the early 20th Century.

Source: kingmagu.blogspot.no/2015/04/cbr7-book-37-twelfth-night-by-deanna.html
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2015-02-20 00:28
#CBR7 Book 17: Veronica Mars: Mr Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham
Mr. Kiss and Tell - Jennifer Graham,Rob Thomas

Disclaimer! I was given an ARC of this through NetGalley in return for a fair and unbiased review.

Readers should be aware that this is the second book of Veronica Mars mysteries. Readers should probably watch the movie (it's on Netflix) and read the first book before reading this. If you're not caught up, there will be spoilers in the review below.

Veronica Mars is hired by the insurance agents for the Neptune Grand, to prove that one of the hotel's staff members didn't assault a young woman and leave her for dead. The investigation is complicated by the fact that the crime happened several months earlier (around the same time Veronica was busy trying to locate kidnapped girls in The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line), the victim claims not to remember the events clearly and refuses to reveal who she was at the hotel to meet the night of the attack, the hotel refuses to share their reservations list and the accused attacker has been deported to Mexico. Never one to back down from a challenge, Veronica nonetheless throws herself into the case with her customary determination.

While Veronica is being recruited by high profile clients, Keith Mars and Cliff McCormack are trying to hit the Neptune Sheriff's Department where it hurts by helping Eli "Weevil" Navarro with a lawsuit. As Sheriff Lamb is busy trying to get himself re-elected, and there's a promising new candidate running against him, so the victory isn't automatic, the case building against the department could be very damaging.

On the home front, Veronica is trying to get used to living with Logan, who is home on shore leave. While she's firm in her decision that she wants to be a P.I., not a lawyer, she's having more trouble accepting that the US Air Force seems to be where Logan has really found his calling. He's taking Arabic lessons and all signs point to him wanting to go back on active duty, a prospect that scares hell out of Veronica.

If I can't have more Veronica on my TV, I'm really happy that the Kickstarter funds helped get these books created. The characters feel just as real as they were on the show, and Neptune is as authentic a location on the page as it was on my screen. I've seen several reviews complain that while the previous book barely had any Logan, this book was very light on Wallace. That complaint is a fair one, but as Wallace pretty much stole every scene he actually did get to be in, I still felt he played an important part and as always provided Veronica with much needed support in her mystery solving.

With Veronica and Logan's relationship being so passionate and stormy, and frequently quite toxic in TV show, it's both strange and wonderful to see that both characters have matured and grown up and now finally seem ready for a stable life together. I very much enjoyed the scenes of their domesticity, and while I can sympathise with Veronica's fears and worries about Logan going back on active duty in the Gulf, the book very clearly explains why being an Air Force pilot isn't just some adrenaline kick or game for Logan, but something that saved him when he was spiralling out of control. It's a vocation and something that gives his life meaning and purpose, just as Veronica's detective work is a vital part of who she is.

I really liked that the mystery takes Veronica several months to solve and the book clearly showed that it requires a lot of leg work, frustrating investigation, countless dead ends, patience and determination to solve a case like this. As always, spending time with the established cast from the show is great. The new sheriff's candidate, with her ties to Keith's past was also an intriguing additon to the cast. I really hope we get many more books about everyone's favourite tiny blonde P.I.

Source: kingmagu.blogspot.no/2015/02/cbr7-book-17-veronica-mars-mr-kiss-and.html
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2015-02-03 17:22
#CBR7 Book 12: Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
Girl, Interrupted - Susanna Kaysen

When Susanna Kaysen was 18, she went to see a new psychiatrist for a conversation after what appears to have been a suicide attempt. She swallowed a large amount of sleeping pills, then regretted her decision and wandered out into the street to get help. The psychiatrist claimed to have spoken to and evaluated Ms. Kaysen for more than three hours, Ms. Kaysen herself claims the meeting was barely half an hour. The end result was nonetheless that she ended up committed to McLean Hospital, a mental institution, for nearly 18 months, diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.

The book doesn't follow a chronological narrative, but rather jumps around, in a series of vignettes and recollections from Ms. Kaysen's time in the mental institution and her thoughts about her own diagnose, treatment and the treatment of mental illness in the 1960s in general. She describes the ward where she stayed, the various girls who were in the institution with her, several of the doctors and nurses and a lot of the day to day life in the hospital. It is clear from some of what Ms. Kaysen relates that she was a troubled and conflicted young woman, she among other things had an affair with her English teacher, but whether she was so mentally ill that she needed to be institutionalised is unclear. From Ms. Kaysen's in-depth explorations of what actually lies behind the justification for "borderline personality disorder", quite a lot of young people just starting out in life fit into that profile and most do not end up heavily medicated and monitored in a mental hospital. Whether a confused and somewhat depressed young woman's situation was made a lot worse by incarcerating her and surrounding her with actually mentally ill women is also one of the questions the reader is left with.

I had only ever seen the film version of this, with Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie. I saw it many years ago, and can remember not being all that impressed with it. When I saw the book was on sale in e-book recently, I recalled various Cannonball reviews over the years speaking positively about it, and decided to give it a try. Especially as it fit into several of my reading challenges this month, like the Monthly Key Word (girl) and the Monthly Motif one (which was Books turned into Movies for January). It's a quick read. I actually read more than half of it on my Kindle app on my way to and from visiting a friend a bit outside Oslo. I finished the whole thing in less than four hours. The Hollywood film was mainly a showcase for Angelina Jolie's acting than an interesting exploration of mental illness and society's willingness to remove things that make it uncomfortable from sight. I would recommend anyone who has just dismissed the book because of a negative impression of the film (like I had) give the book a try. It's good, really.

Source: kingmagu.blogspot.com/2015/02/cbr7-book-12-girl-interrupted-by.html
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2015-02-03 13:54
#CBR7 Book 11: Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish
Owl and the Japanese Circus - Kristi Charish

Alix "Owl" Hiboux is an archaeology grad student who was screwed over by her professors and turned to a life of art theft to support herself. After a job gone wrong, she ended up on some French vampires' hit list and has been hiding out in a Winnebago in the desert, playing online roleplaying games in her downtime. She's sworn off any kind of supernatural job ever again, but can't really refuse when a helicopter comes to pick her up to take her to Mr. Kurosawa, owner of the Japanese Circus Casino in Las Vegas. Owl is shocked to discover that Mr. Kurosawa is in fact a Japanese dragon, and refusing to work for him will probably result in him eating her. He arranges for the vampires to stop hunting Owl in return for her locating an ancient treasure for him.


As refusal will mean either that the vampires hunting her will track her down, or the dragon actually eating her, Owl reluctantly agrees. She finds the egg Mr. Kurosawa wants fairly easily, but is told that the real treasure the dragon wanted was the contents of the egg, a magic scroll, now missing. Owl's job just got a lot trickier. She enlists the help of her best friend, Nadya, a Russian hospitality waitress living in Tokyo and discovers, while fleeing for her life in a Balinese temple, that Rynn, the handsome bartender she's been flirting with on and off used to be a very skilled mercenary, and has been hired by Kurosawa's right hand man to keep her out of too much danger. Of course, Owl seems to be a danger magnet, constantly ending up in life-threatening scrapes.


As Owl and her two friends try to track the scroll, they have to contend with vampires, an ancient Balinese naga (part snake, part beautiful woman), near-impossible decryption, traps, double-crosses, vengeance spirits and more. Owl's supernatural detection is truly abominable, proven by the fact that most of the people she surrounds herself with turn out to be some kind of supernatural creature. She would probably be dead several times over if it wasn't for the assistance of Captain, her vampire-hating Mau cat, whose claws and teeth seem to be venomous to vampires.


This is the first book in a new series. I hadn't heard of Kristi Charish before, but the book was highlighted in January releases by Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, and come on, it's an art thief chased by vampires working for a dragon. For $1.99, I pretty much had to buy it, not matter how it turned out. The series and the characters show promise, but for all that there is a lot to like, there is also a lot that didn't entirely work for me.


What I liked:

- The unusual set-up. I love the fact that in this supernatural universe, shape-shifting dragons are totally a thing, and have no problem believing that they would be fearsome and successful business owners.

- The variety of supernatural creatures in the story. Over the course of the book, Owl, for all that she is rubbish at spotting them initially, comes into contact with a slew of supernatural creatures. There are Japanese spirits, luck demons, nymphs, nagas, incubi, vampires, even elves. Somewhat different from the shapeshifter/vampire fare of a lot of urban fantasy.

- The socially awkward aspect to our heroine. Owl is actually a bit of a disaster socially speaking. She has a tendency to mouth off every time she feels vaguely threatened, which often leads her into more dangerous situations than she started out in. She also spends most of her spare time playing computer games, engaging in witty banter with her online players, at least one of whom becomes an important secondary character in the book.


What I didn't like so much:

- The socially awkward aspect of our heroine. Unfortunately, while it's initially amusing that Owl isn't all that great with people, it also became exasperating that she kept getting into worse and worse scrapes because she would recklessly and blindly rush into situations that were clearly hella dangerous or even obvious traps, or mouth off to the people threatening her.

- The number of dangerous situations Owl escapes more or less unharmed. This book is a bit of a roller coaster of danger and escaping it. Considering she is just a normal, frankly surprisingly clueless human (it's made a joke out of, but seriously, after that many situations where your opponents turn out to be supernatural, it's just common sense to start researching them and their weaknesses), Owl survives a LOT of bad shit relatively unharmed. She's constantly rescued by someone, be it Rynn, Captain the vampire slayer or even her friend Nadya. Even when she is injured, she seems to heal unfeasibly quickly.

- The pacing. Considering I, on occasion, read 400 page paranormal fantasy books in one sitting, or at most, a day and a half, the fact that it took me 6 days to get through this book should speak for itself. There was only a niggling sense of duty that made me pick it up to keep reading when I put it down. I did have a heavy workload while reading the book, but in the past, with books that are more engrossing, I tend to neglect said work, at least until I've finished the compelling book.


The book has promise and as long as Owl keeps growing and evolving as a character, I will give the series a few more chances. A lot of paranormal series take two to three books to really get good, and I can think of more than one heroine who needed to grow smarter and less reckless to really become a likable protagonist. I am a sucker for dragons, and any book series who have them as part of the paranormal big bads is going make me take notice. I have problems with your first book, Ms. Charish, but will be keeping an eye out for the sequel, hoping that the writing improves as the series progresses.

Source: kingmagu.blogspot.no/2015/02/cbr7-book-11-owl-and-japanese-circus-by.html
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2014-12-15 00:21
#CBR6 Book 135: The Promise in a Kiss by Stephanie Laurens
The Promise in a Kiss with Bonus Material (Promo e-Books) - Stephanie Laurens

Sixteen year old Helena de Stansion, Comtesse D'Lisle, is spending Christmas Eve wandering around the gardens of the convent where her sister is recuperating from illness when a man suddenly drops down into the convent garden pretty much on top of her. Assuming the man is fleeing from something clandestine, she lies to the nuns and the guards when the approach her to ask if she's seen someone on the grounds. As a thank you for protecting him, the handsome stranger gives her a kiss.

Seven years later, while in England trying to find a suitable husband, Helena discovers that the man who kissed her is none other than Sebastian Cynster, the Duke of St. Ives. Helena's autocratic guardian has signed a document giving her permission to choose her own husband, should his title, wealth and landholdings be equal to or surpassing her own. Helena is determined to get away from the demands of her guardian and want someone as different from him as possible as her husband. A nice, kind man who won't try to control her. One short meeting with St. Ives, and it's obvious that he is just as controlling and arrogant as her guardian, if not more so. He has also sworn not to marry, but delighted to see her again, offers to help her find a suitable match. Helena is convinced that he has designs to be her lover, and if he aids her in finding a biddable husband, she will be more easily seduced.

St. Cyr hasn't really forgotten Helena either, and while he is not announcing his intentions to find a wife publicly, the machinations of his tiresome sister-in-law has made him reconsider his vow never to marry. When he discovers that the lovely girl he met seven years ago is now a beautiful and spirited young woman, with a temper and an iron will to match his own, he's pretty sure he's found the woman he wants to share his future with. He pretends he wants to help her find a match so he can spend more time with her and get to know her better. He finally manages to convince her that he wants her as a wife, not just as a mistress, when further complications occur.

It turns out that Helena's guardian and St. Cyr have a history, and that St. Cyr once won a valuable dagger in a wager. Now Helena's guardian wants it back, and he intends for Helena to steal it, or her sister will be in terrible danger. Helena has to decide whether she will betray the man she is growing to love or the sister she adores.

I've never read any Stephanie Laurens, but a quick Wikipedia search shows me that she has written a truly staggering amount of romances, mostly focusing on the romantic exploits of various Cynster family members. This book is chronologically the first in the series and as such set in Georgian times, rather than the Regency. Sebastian and Helena are a fun couple and in some of their interactions, they reminded me of Falconbridge and Genevieve in Julie Anne Long's What I Did for a Duke. I suspect older, worldly, archly sarcastic nobleman and younger spirited woman will always bring that to mind now.

I bought the book in an Amazon sale more than a year ago, probably on the recommendation of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books (I buy a lot of romance that way) and promptly forgot about it until this month's Monthly Key Word Challenge, where it qualifies twice (promise and kiss). It's also set around Christmas, which made it impossible to pass up. It's a fun read, even though the main complication in the lovers' way involves a misunderstanding that could have been much more easily solved through simple conversation and honesty. Still, when the truth is out and all the cards are on the table, I will give Laurens thanks, because St. Cyr reacts in a very logical way to Helena's secrets and the resolution is both action packed and exciting. Possibly a bit silly and melodramatic, but I enjoyed it a lot. I'm not sure I'm going to be actively seeking out more of Laurens' books, but if they show up in another e-book sale, I'm not ruling out buying more.

Source: kingmagu.blogspot.com/2014/12/cbr6-book-135-promise-in-kiss-by.html
More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?