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Search tags: Paranormal-Mystery
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review 2017-09-14 11:08
Magic and Macaroons (Magical Bakery Mystery, #5)
Magic and Macaroons - Bailey Cates

I'm generally a fan of Bailey Cates writing but this one left me feeling ambivalent.  The characters remain charming, and I love the Savannah setting, but... meh.

 

It didn't help that the murderer was achingly transparent from the first (although part of it was a surprise, at the very end).  Really there wasn't much mystery at all.

 

Cates did have me smiling though when she takes a moment in the book to explain the difference between a macaroon and a macaron; both luscious desserts but utterly different from one another despite the confusing similarity of their spellings.  It was a source of confusion when I first moved Down Under, (macaroons, which are the ones made of coconut, are not generally known here at all, though macarons - think oreos made with meringue - are hugely popular), so the aside felt very relevant.  

 

I have the next one in the series, but unless it's a markedly more exciting plot, I might let this series go with no hard feelings.

 

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review 2017-09-07 11:40
Review: Daughter of the Burning City
Daughter of the Burning City - Amanda Foody

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

I had no idea what to expect with this one, and was pleasantly surprised to find out I completely loved this book. Definitely on my top ten for this year so far. Its premise and characters are so unique and interesting, and it appears to be a stand-alone, which is rare in YA fantasy.

 

This fantasy novel tells the story of Sorina, an illusion worker at the Gommorah travelling circus. Sorina has no eyes but she can see. She creates illusions. The illusions she creates are so real they have become almost as real as real people, to her, they are her family, and together they perform the carnival freak show. Each illusion has it’s own special ability. Sorina has also the adopted daughter of the festival proprietor. She is the heir and will take over running the whole show one day.

 

The festival is travelling across their land, they are from Down Mountain and travelling Up Mountain. The Up Mountain people appear to be the rich snobby people. There’s a war brewing between the two factions hinted at throughout the novel. Sorina’s illusions are being murdered. Each stop a different illusion dies and the novel tells the story of Sorina’s investigation into the Murderers and the truth behind the Gommorah Festival.

 

The writing is incredible, it’s quite a dark fantasy really. Sorina becomes enamoured with another illusion worker – a poison worker, Luca who’s unique talents make him impossible to kill. His show involves festival goers paying to try to kill him. The characters are all so different and well written. The plot is very twisty and impossible to predict. I was very surprised when the truth was revealed.  Sorina learns quite a few shocking home truths as her investigation progresses. The family connection was brilliant, how they all came together, not without drama and plenty of emotion wound through as various family members were brutally murdered.

 

Not a lot to recap as it would be really spoilery. There was hints of a romance but it wasn’t the sole focus of the plot and the characters were all delightfully diverse as well. Really interesting world building as well. A political undercurrent later on as the war brewing takes alarming shape. Morally questionably acts. It was quite violent in parts.

 

Over all it was excellently written. A fantastic read. I loved it so much I bought a finished hardback.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and HQ Stories for approving my request to view the title.

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review 2017-09-06 11:59
Murder Go Round (Witch City Mystery, #4)
Murder Go Round - Carol J. Perry

I feel like this one was longer than it needed to be, and about 2/3 of the way through I was losing patience because I could clearly see where the story was going and the clues were so clearly telegraphed that it was driving me crazy that Lee and her Aunt were being so obtuse.

 

And then I turned out I was wrong about nearly all of it.  Right direction, wrong track completely.  So game, set and match to Perry.  I still maintain it could have been tighter and shorter though.

 

In general the series and this book are good solid cozies:  great setting, likeable characters with realistic expectations (no 'police are dumb' here) and so far, pretty well crafted mysteries.  Maybe a tad too long, but I'm on board for the next one.

 

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review 2017-08-13 11:22
Sticks and Bones (Sarah Booth Delaney, #17)
Sticks and Bones - Carolyn Haines

For whatever reason, as much as I love this series in general, this one failed to pull me in completely at the beginning.   Maybe it was the movie backdrop, or the over-the-top nastiness of one of the characters, or the batshit insanity of one of the others, but it just didn't grip me.  Jitty the ghost was also back to her nagging, irritating ways.

 

The mystery plot though was a big old snarl of a puzzle.  So many suspects, so many red herrings, but a plot twist that was supposed to shock but was telegraphed early on.  But still, a very good mystery.

 

I am though, for the record, thoroughly jacked with the way Haines is yanking her readers and Sarah Booth around over Coleman.  This is the book where it stopped being moving and starting just being ridiculous.  Either put them together or kill one of them off already.  The suspense has officially been over-played.

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review 2017-08-03 01:21
Lowcountry Bonfire (Liz Talbot, #6)
Lowcountry Bonfire - Susan M. Boyer

I really do love this series; reading it is like visiting a home town.  The settings and characters feel familiar (especially Liz's daddy).

 

I also really love Boyer's choices when she writes; she'll start with a predictable, out-there cozy cliche, but take it in a different direction.  She'll have fun with it, but not take it seriously.  Unlike another cozy author I read recently who took her story in a similar direction but tried to make it work, only to make a hash out of the entire thing.

 

Lowcountry Bonfire starts off with a woman setting her husband's car and his clothes on fire; retaliation for the affair he's been having.  When the firefighters pop open the trunk to control the fire they discover more than his clothes.  But Zeke was killed with strychnine and his wife didn't have access to any and she's devastated that he's actually dead.

 

Liz and Nate start investigating and Liz finds a 20 year off-the-grid gap in Zeke's history that opens up a viable channel for investigation.  What she discovers is fun for the reader in a Jason Bourne-ish kind of way, but ultimately it's the investigation closer to home that yields more results - realistic ones that are far more horrifying and heartbreaking.

 

Colleen's ghost doesn't get a lot of airtime here, although there was at least one scene where I thought she was just cruel; I like that she later had to face the consequences of taking a thing too far.  

 

I like where the author has Nate and Liz too; they're an old married couple now ::grin:: but they have a nice affectionate balance in their relationship that is believable and I've always liked that Nate respects her independence and ability to take care of herself.

 

This book might not have had all the gasps that previous books have had, but it was a very solid mystery with a red herring that was sort of fun to explore.  And if I ever have any renovations done on my house I am SO getting a secret compartment put in!  

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