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Search tags: paranormal-mystery
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review 2017-04-11 12:03
Deadly Forecast (Psychic Eye, #11)
Deadly Forecast - Victoria Laurie

I used to really enjoy this series and always read them as soon as they came out, but the ninth book in the series, Vision Impossible was so... ridiculous, it really put me off the newer books, even after reading and enjoying #10.  Which means this one languished on my TBR for over 3 years before I finally forced myself to pick it up yesterday.  

 

Boy I'm glad I did; it was really good.  I didn't realise it was a cross-over book that included the MC from her other series (which has since ended), and it worked really well.  The book begins with Abbey coming to consciousness on her wedding day to discover a bomb strapped to her chest, the latest victim of a serial killer.  From here the book switches between dual timelines and POV's:  Abbey's and M.J.'s.

 

Normally I'd hate this, but it really worked here. Abbey's POV is the flashback to what led to her being strapped to a bomb, and M.J.'s POV is present tense, trying to find Abbey and the killer before time is up.  It's tense and it's gripping.  

 

Victoria Laurie herself is a professional psychic, so the paranormal aspect of the storytelling is handled realistically; it never gets so far out there that it becomes difficult to suspend disbelief.  There was at least one small error of logic, and I often twitched about Abbey's high level of internal emotional drama, but overall I couldn't wait to pick it back up again.

 

This is good news, because I still have two other books in the series to read sitting on my pile.  And now I'm much more optimistic about tackling them.

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review 2017-04-09 11:16
Aunt Dimity and the Buried Treasure (Aunt Dimity, #21)
Aunt Dimity and the Buried Treasure - Nancy Atherton

This is one of those books I read because I've been reading the series from the start and a certain amount of loyalty is involved.   As with a lot of series, it started off strong, but has levelled off over the years to become gentle stories that resemble morality tales.

 

Lori stumbles across an old piece of jewellery in her attic one day, resulting in a search for the man who gave it to Dimity, back after WWII, while in the village, the good people discover the joys and pitfalls of metal detecting.

 

Recent books in the series were getting on my nerves because Lori was gullible and tended to jump to the most ridiculous conclusions imaginable, but this time around she was far more competent and rational; there was still a level of anxiety, but it was much more believable.

 

Atherton has an incredible way of bringing wartime London to life and I think it is this more than anything that keeps me coming back every year for the next book. 

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review 2017-03-10 07:15
The Revenant of Thraxton Hall
The Revenant of Thraxton Hall - Vaughn Entwistle

I'm going to use one of my dad's favourite sayings and call this one fair to middling. 

 

On the surface it should have been a guaranteed-to-please-me read: I'm intrigued by Wilde, Conan Doyle is one of only a couple of people I'd go back in time to meet, and the it's a ghost story set on the moors.  In spite of all of this, I remained nothing but an indifferent observer from start to finish; I failed to connect with Wilde or Doyle, and the ghosts failed to thrill.  Additionally, the twisty part of the plot was something I saw coming from the start, although how Doyle got there at the end was so twisty and convoluted, I'm still not sure I get how he did it.

 

He did totally pull one over on me regarding the Count though; did not see that one coming.

 

This is the first of a series, but I doubt I'll be searching out the second one.  

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review 2017-01-03 11:15
Book of Beloved (Pluto's Snitch, #1)
The Book of Beloved - Carolyn Haines

I'm a big fan of Carolyn Haines' Sarah Booth Delaney mysteries, so I was excited to see that she was starting a new historical mystery series, but said excitement was tempered by the fact that she was publishing with Thomas & Mercer for this one, not St. Martin's.

 

I have no idea why St. Martin's didn't publish it, but it wasn't because it was a bad story or concept.  The story was excellent.  A ghost story set in Mobile, Alabama in 1920.  Haines is the first writer to really make me realise just how close the Civil War was to World War I; a mere 60 years separated the two.  I always knew this in an academic sense, but I never really thought about the idea that people lived through both.  Haines also does an incredible job of putting the reader in the deep south in the early 1920's, with all that that implies.  I tagged this as cozy because 90% of it is, but the racial issues running throughout the story aren't cozy at all and Haines does the unthinkable for a cozy author by killing off at least one beloved character.

 

The plot also gets points for freshness; talk about your deep, dark secrets!  I'm not going to say what it is, not even in a spoiler because it would ruin the unexpectedness.  I thought it was clever, interesting, and between it and the ghosts my attention was riveted.

 

The bug in my iced tea?  I have come to expect a certain polished writing style from Haines that wasn't quite up to snuff here.  I'm thinking mediocre editors.  As good as the story was, it could have been tighter and there were definitely a few things that got missed (like the MC parking her car twice in the same paragraph).  The very end was a bit illogical too, but not disastrously so; mostly it just felt weak.  If this had been my first Haines book I don't doubt I'd have rated it higher, because it is good.  But I know what she's capable of so I know it could be better.

 

I hate buying anything that benefits Amazon, but I'll definitely be on the lookout for the next book; Haines has me hooked for at least one more.

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review 2016-12-07 11:39
DNF: Cast in Angelfire
Cast in Angelfire: An Urban Fantasy Romance (The Mage Craft Series Book 1) - SM Reine

I received a copy from Netgalley.

Since I can't find an approval request email (I always save those so I can thank the publisher when I finish) I wonder if I got this one as a read it now. I really can't remember.

Unfortunately, this is one for the DNF list. Didn't capture my attention at all and after 21% I don't really have any desire to go back and finish it. The world building is confusing, it seems to be dystopia mixed with urban fantasy. For starts there's confusion around the heroine's age, it states in the blurb she's eighteen, but there are several references to the start of the book that peg her as seventeen. This could be because she's got no memory and no one really seems to be able to identify her. But it still didn't sit right with me that the text says one thing and the blurb says another, though I'm not interested in the actual plot enough to find out one way or another.

The novel starts with the premise of two assassins hunting a girl with a huge bounty on her head. Paranormal creatures are clearly part of the every day norm for the world this book is set in. The girl kicks their asses easily with some sort of super powers. Then the next thing we know she's waking up in hospital with no memory of how she got there.

Another thing I found confusing is that the heroine claims at one point when she wakes up in hospital that she only speaks French, and the doctor who helps her uses a translator app to speak to her. Smart! Though she seems to develop a very quick attachment to this doctor. She won't let the nurses help or take any blood or do any of her lab work - this one doctor only! She seems very blunt for someone with no memory and seems to think she can order people about. The doctors and nurses are clearly used to treating paranormal beings.  I just didn't like this girl. There's clearly still a bounty on her, the cute doctor helps her escape and unless I missed something (which is entirely possible because this novel annoyed me so much I didn't pay that much attention to it) she and the doctor seem to be conversing in English. One minute she can only speak French and then suddenly English?

Don't buy it. And don't have any interest in picking this one up again.

Thank you Netgalley and Red Iris Books, but this one wasn't for me.

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