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Search tags: paranormal-mystery
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review 2018-05-20 06:08
Charmed Bones (Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery, #18)
Charmed Bones - Carolyn Haines

They can't all be winners, but man, this one was extra-disappointing.

 

I don't care for romance for the sake of romance, but I do enjoy a good sub-plot, if the characters have chemistry and it's well written.  Many books ago, Sarah Booth had an almost-romance with a character, and I was hooked on their dynamic, and bummed when it didn't work.  Then after many, many books and many other romantic interests, I finally got my wish; sadly the joy was dinged by one of the most badly edited stories I've seen on paper in a long time (not being a reader of self-published books).

 

This could have been an amazing story: witches, spells, poisonings, there's-something-in-the-woods, huge claw marks on doors, old houses with secret rooms and tunnels, and my favorite romantic interest back in the saddle.  But if this story wasn't rushed to press, it was definitely neglected by management; major re-writes took place and nobody followed up with proofing to check for continuity.  The results include characters who explicitly remain behind only to suddenly be participating in conversation, and Sarah Booth commenting on kicking the bad guy, giving him a limp, when she never actually kicked him.  Unfortunately, these are just the two I remember - there were others, including a scene where characters change mid-paragraph).

 

Continuity errors aside, the plotting was a little bit of a mess too: too much going on and not tightly enough written, so the reader really has no hope of following events.  To be fair, Sarah Booth struggled too, so maybe this was deliberate and I just don't care for the device.  I also don't care for the plot twist at the end; it's the second time in as many books where it's been used, and it leaves me feeling played.

 

If not for the characters, whom I love (although I'm over Tinky and her baby angst), and the familiar landscape of Zinnia, the rating for this would be so much lower.  It's obvious that Haines didn't phone this in: nobody just phones in a plot as convoluted as this, but her editors and Minotaur screwed her and her readers by printing this half-finished effort.  And that's tragic; Haines is worlds better than this and after 17 books, readers deserve better.

 

Here's hoping #19 reflects previous efforts, and 18 is just an aberration.

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review 2018-05-17 06:12
A Magical Match (Witchcraft Mystery, #9)
A Magical Match - Juliet Blackwell

I debated between 3.5 and 4 stars; there's the whole boyfriend-in-peril trope being used, and the mom angst, but both ended up being sort of minimal to the story, and the idea of a doppelgänger was just too interesting.  Bonus points for possibly the weirdest use of silverfish ever.

 

The plot was less focused than Blackwell's usual fare, but it was still an enjoyable few hours and that's pretty much the sum total of my expectations for cozies.  A fiendishly good murder plot is a bonus, and this one lacked that, but great characters make up for a lot.  

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review 2018-04-23 06:39
A Tale of Two Kitties (Magical Cats, #9)
A Tale of Two Kitties - Sofie Kelly

A solid mystery in a solid series.  Nothing spectacular but a setting and characters you can  lose yourself in and amongst for a quick read when you're looking for a light mystery that's rife with strong friendships and small town charm.

 

The mystery plotting is solid, or maybe I wasn't paying close enough attention; in retrospect I should have seen straight away what went over my head while I was reading.  

 

Oddly, though I (of course) really like the cats, Owen and Hercules, I find myself more enchanted by their everyday cat antics (Owen's love for Fred the Funky Chicken catnip treats and his hatred of Barry Manilow music, for example), than any of their magical feats.  I don't think cats need the supernatural leg up to make them the stars, although I do wish Kelly would delve more into their origins and what's going on at Wisteria Hill.

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review 2018-04-09 11:49
Between the Blade and the Heart
Between the Blade and the Heart - Amanda Hocking

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

This book was fun. An action packed paranormal adventure.

 

First book I read by this particular author, and I enjoyed it. The world building was a little haphazard, in this world there are all sorts of supernatural creatures around, all governed by Norse gods, and kept in control by Valkyries. Seemed to be a vaguely futuristic kind of society. A little unclear on when it was set. A little bit of history on the species and the set the governing body and the jobs of Valkyries.  When your time is up, a Valkyrie is sent to dispatch you to the next plane of existence. Valkyries only go through the female line, Marin is training to follow in her mother Marlow’s footsteps and is in the final steps of her training to become an official Valkyrie as well as attending a supernatural academy for classes.

 

Marin was tough and spunky, relatively sensible and a likeable MC. Also extra points – she was bisexual. She had a relationship with another female Valkyrie, Quinn. Which didn’t end brilliantly but they remained sort of friends.  Marin lives with her best friend, witch Oona and her beloved pet, some sort of a hybrid creature a little like a dog but not quite.

 

Lots of action, though I did find some of the characters to be a little flat, there didn’t seem to be much back story to hardly anyone other than Marin herself. There was very little seen of the academy she attends, there’s a few classes mentioned, and a rivalry with a classmate she doesn’t get on with. Though later on in the novel they do have a fairly interesting discussion about fate and destiny – which was about as deep as the novel got.

 

Mostly it was all action packed. Marin’s world is thrown into chaos when a handsome stranger breaks into her apartment demanding information on her mother. Something that was supposed to have happened didn’t and as a result people are being killed. Marin is stunned and furious, and with the stranger, Asher, by her side sets off to confront Marlow about what happened.

 

She’s shocked at the revelations and she and Asher decide to try and put things right and stop the killings. The supernatural beasties Marin is hunting are getting stronger, she’s feeling pain when she shouldn’t and it could all be a result of what went wrong many years ago. She gets help from witchy Oona and Quinn appears a few times saving her butt and becomes part of the group who work to find the bad guy and solve the mystery.

 

Of course, Marin is starting to develop feelings for Asher and finds herself getting closer again with Quinn, trying to understand why their relationship failed – something to do with something that’s been ingrained into Marin about Valkyries and love and how it never works. So Marin is struggling to come to terms with her feelings on top of this manhunt for a bad guy getting nastier and stronger as the time goes by.

 

A surprise death half way through doesn’t help at all.

 

 

A surprising twist at the end as well, as it turns out the bad guy they’re hunting is small fries and there’s an even bigger bad on the way. Left at cliff hanger of course.

(spoiler show)

 

 

Not particularly moving, while the world building wasn’t brilliant (in my opinion) it was interesting and it’s been a long time since I’ve found a paranormal adventure I’ve liked so much. Decent characters, and a fun read.

 

Looking forward to the next one in the duology.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Pan McMillan for approving my request to view the title.

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review 2018-03-07 08:41
Spells and Scones (Magical Bakery, #6)
Spells and Scones - Bailey Cates

Eh.  I generally enjoy Bailey Cates' writing, but a few of my least favorite tropes were trotted out for this one:  the relationship crossroads; the ex's last ditch effort (which was SO transparently meant to give Steve an HEA) at reconciliation; the jealousy bit with Mungo the dog... eh.

 

The mystery plotting  didn't light up my disco ball either. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great; too few clues and a reliance on the 'lightbulb' moment at the very end.  Reading Golden Age mysteries is ruining my mediocre tastes.

 

Still, a relaxing enough read when one's brain has been overtaxed in real life.

 

 


This book qualifies for the Murder Your Darlings Scene of the Crime card:  Gryffindor Common Room.  This was one of the crime scenes identified by Nighttime Reading Center in the Green Game Round, so worth 10 points for my team (Themis-Athena, Lillelara and myself).

 

My misunderstanding of the rules left me with this book unused, so I'm using it for the Suspect: Jane Austen cards.  (Alliterative Title)

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