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Review – The Inquisitor’s Key – Jefferson Bass

the inquisitor's keyThe Inquisitor’s Key
Author: Jefferson Bass
Series: #7 in the Body Farm series

Review Copy Provided by Authors via Sisterhood of the Traveling Book on Goodreads

Description:
Miranda Lovelady, Dr. Bill Brockton’s protégée, is spending the summer helping excavate a newly-discovered chamber beneath the spectacular Palace of the Popes in Avignon, France. There she discovers a stone chest inscribed with a stunning claim: inside lie the bones of none other than Jesus of Nazareth.

Faced with a case of unimaginable proportions, Miranda summons Brockton for help proving or refuting the claim. Both scientists are skeptical–after all, fake relics abounded during the Middle Ages–but evidence for authenticity looks strong initially, and soon grows stronger.

Brockton and Miranda link the bones to the haunting image on the Shroud of Turin, revered by millions as the burial cloth of Christ, and then a laboratory test finds the bones to be two thousand years old. The finding triggers a deadly tug-of-war between the anthropologists, the Vatican, and a deadly zealot who hopes to use the bones to bring about the Second Coming–and trigger the end of time.

Review:
I’ve been making my way through this series during the course of the year, mostly because I saw that book 7 was going to be one of the traveling books in Sisterhood. And I really enjoyed the vast majority of the previous ones, but I don’t know if it was the religious mystery in this one or what seemed to be the changing relationship between Bill and his mentee, Miranda, but I just wasn’t excited to finish reading this one. In fact, at one stage, I actually put it aside for a few days because I couldn’t muster up the enthusiasm to read it.

I’m not saying the writing style was bad, it just wasn’t working for me at the time. But I’m still interested in seeing where the series goes in the future. In fact, I’m reading the newest release by the writing duo right now, although its a prequel to the rest of the series. The Inquisitor’s Key (or The Bones of Avignon as it was released in the US) had the typically Bass writing style – its actually really hard to tell (unless you know prior to) that it is actually a writing duo. There is something that just flows smoothly – I honestly have no idea where one starts and the other ends. I also liked how while there is a significant amount of science-y type stuff in the storyline, it never really seems to get too deep/confusing or too geeky.

Overall, I gave The Inquisitor’s Key, 3.5 stars but I know I will be continuing the series in the future.

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2013 in Book Review

 

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Review – Wedding Cake and Big Mistakes – Nancy Naigel

wedding cakesWedding Cake and Big Mistakes
Author: Nancy Naigel
Series: #3 in the Adams Grove series

Review Copy Provided by Author via Sisterhood of the Traveling Book

Description:
For years, Carolanne Baxter dreamed of a life beyond Adams Grove. Being the daughter of the town drunk was no picnic, so when college offered her a chance for escape, she took it. Now Carolanne has returned home, finally ready to make amends with her father, Ben, and to celebrate the wedding of her best friends Jill and Garrett. Of course, the fact that Connor Buckham, her sexy new law partner and Garrett’s best man, happens to be the same guy the town matchmaker named as Carolanne’s perfect match…well! That’s just icing on the cake.

But Carolanne’s hopes for a fresh start are dashed when a dead body surfaces during Jill and Garrett’s wedding reception…and Ben Baxter becomes the prime suspect. The murder throws the town into uproar, threatening to destroy the tentative peace between father and daughter–and to derail the budding romance between Carolanne and Connor. Has the matchmaker’s perfect streak come to end? Or will the truth finally bring Carolanne the happy ending she’s dreamed of for so long?

Review:
Its weird – I both liked this book in the series more than the previous ones and yet was disappointed with it. Weird, I know. I loved being back in Adam’s Grove and meeting up with the people from Sweet Tea and Secrets again – especially since the wedding between Jill and Garrett from the first book in the series was a key event in this one. And you got to meet Carolanne, the MC, who is a good friend of Jill and her law partner Conner. I think my biggest disappoint was that the book couldn’t decide if it wanted to be more romance, or more mystery.

From the description off the back, I was expecting more from Carolanne’s relationship/estangement from her father – but it was kind of a fizzle…i wanted more conflict/angst – because that is kind of what I was expecting based on the description, and the storyline of Ben being suspected of murder just seemed like a minor tack-on. While there was a mystery, it kind of felt under-developed. Whereas, in the previous 2 books in the series, the murder (or other mystery) took place early on in the story, in this case, nothing happened until almost 2/3 of the way through the book, and then was solved equally as quick.

But that being said, the story was well-written and engaging – I finished it in just over 2 metro rides (so about 2.5 hours) – but i was sucked into the story. I definately like visiting Adams Grove, even if the mystery in this case, didn’t really work for me. Overall, I gave the book 3 stars.

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2013 in Book Review

 

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Review – Death and the Girl Next Door – Darynda Jones

death and the girl next doorDeath and the Girl Next Door
Author: Darynda Jones
Series: #1 in the Darklight series

Description:
Ten years ago, Lorelei’s parents disappeared without a trace. Raised by her grandparents and leaning on the support of her best friends, Lorelei is finally beginning to accept the fact that her parents are never coming home. For Lorelei, life goes on.

High school is not quite as painful as she thinks it will be, and things are as normal as they can be. Until the day the school’s designated loner, Cameron Lusk, begins to stalk her, turning up where she least expects it, standing outside her house in the dark, night after night. Things get even more complicated when a new guy—terrifying, tough, sexy Jared Kovach—comes to school. Cameron and Jared instantly despise each other and Lorelei seems to be the reason for their animosity. What does Jared know about her parents? Why does Cameron tell Jared he can’t have Lorelei? And what will any of them do when Death comes knocking for real?

Review:
I have to admit when I started Death and the Girl Next Door, i wasn’t sure what to expect. I think I was one of the few people who didn’t fall madly in love with the other series by this author (Charley Davidson), although it has grown on me as it has progressed. And when i saw the description of D&tGND (since the title is too long to continue typing), I was worried that it was going to be super similar to Charley Davidson but more YA-ish. Thankfully, it was not so, and I ended up enjoying it a bit more than I expected.

At first, the whole angel of death thing, I wasn’t so sure about…but as you got to know Lorelei as a character, I came to like her, and then having 2 sexy guys (protectors) looking after her (Cameron and Jared), whew. Her friends were also entertaining and I’m really want to find out more about them in the future. The say the book was action-packed was an understatement – it was definitely a roller coaster of a ride, with more ups, than downs through-out.

I think my biggest complaint about the book is that some of the world-building was a bit confusing – while I realize that there are going to be several books in the series – I felt a bit lost, and it wasn’t until I got closer to the end that I saw how much development had gone on. while I don’t want an info dump on the world-building, it needed a bit more…either way, I am intrigued enough, that i will be picking up the next book when it comes out in March. Overall, I’d give it a solid 3 stars. A good but not great intro to a new series (yes, I am very picky), but I think anyone looking for a YA paranormal/urban fantasy will like it.

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2013 in Book Review

 

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Classics Challenge – The Fellowship of the Ring – J.R.R. Tolkein

the fellowship of the ringThe Fellowship of the Ring
Author: JRR Tolkein
Series: #1 in the Lord of the Rings trilogy

Description:
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell into the hands of Bilbo Baggins, as told in The Hobbit.

In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose.

Why I chose this book:
I knew going into doing the classics challenge that I wanted to do some classics that were in a specific genre, rather than true classics (as many people would define them). So I chose to pick books that were seen as classics in the sci-fi/fantasy genres (I combined the 2, because there is often some overlap). However, I did use the Lord of the Rings as the listing, so I am planning on doing the entire trilogy – this is just the first installment.

Review:
Having never read these books, I remember standing in line at the movie theater while in college waiting to see the first of the books – and I was with a bunch of Tolkein fanatics (which made for some interesting viewing – I mean, they even spoke elvish…) But for some reason I never actually read the books. So similar to The Hobbit, when I saw that the audiobooks had been re-mastered and released, I jumped on the opportunity to get them – having loved Rob Inglis’ narration of the Hobbit. And he didn’t disappoint in The Fellowship of the Ring.

For me, the one thing that took me by surprise was the length of time that was actually encompassed in the book. From the movies you would have thought that Frodo ended up with the ring and almost immediately left on his journey – but in truth, there was actually a period of about 12 years between when he got it and he left on journey. There were also many things that didn’t quite make it into the movies (Tom Bombadil for one) – which added to the listening experience; and yet at the same time, proved that at its core, there was probably a lot of extraneous stuff in the book that wasn’t needed (and maybe if that was the case and it was reduced a bit more people may read/enjoy it – because it seemed a common complaint that I have seen is the length/meandering style of his writing).

I have to admit that I’m a bit in 2 minds over whether I enjoyed it or not – for the most part I did, and the parts that were reflected in the movie, I was glad to see how they were described in writing; but at the same time – if I hadn’t been listening to the audiobook, I probably would have given up at some point because there were parts where it felt like I wasn’t going anywhere…

Rob Inglis once again nailed the narration from the voice distinction of the different Hobbits; to the continuous voicing of Gandalf (from The Hobbit), I was impressed. I think that my one comment would be, that at times, Gandalf and Aragon started to sound a bit similar to each other – but it wasn’t too overwhelming. I’m curious to start the next book and see how it turns out as compared to the movie and overall because I remember it not being my favorite…Overall, I would give FotR 3.5 stars, but rounding up to 4.

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2013 in Audiobook Review, Classics Challenge

 

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Audiobook Review – Animal Magnetism – Jill Shalvis

Animal Magnetism
Author: Jill Shalvis
Series: #1 in the Animal Magnetism series

Narrator: Karen White
Run Time: 10 hours and 32 minutes

Book Description:
Co-owner of the town’s only kennel, Lilah Young has lived in Sunshine, Idaho, all her life. Pilot-for-hire Brady Miller is just passing through. But he soon has Lilah abandoning her instincts and giving in to a primal desire.

It’s Brady’s nature to resist being tied down, but there’s something about Lilah and her menagerie that keeps him coming back for more.

Review:
Jill Shalvis is a name that commonly comes up in romance forums for people looking for contemporary romances to read, but for the life of me, prior to listening to Animal Magnetism, I couldn’t read if I had read anything by her. I don’t think I had, or I have just forgotten (which is entirely possibly, since I am always making jokes about my mind being as leaky as a sieve). So I was looking forward to picking up Animal Magnetism and listening to it and overall, I have to say that it was an enjoyable listen.

The first thing that drew my attention to the book, even before I bought the audio was the cover. I am a sucker for dogs and the eyes on the one on the cover just made my heart go awww (very similar to what my German Shepherd does to me most days – and which is he actually doing right now, since I am typing and not playing Frisbee for the 10 millionth hour today…). And the fact that there was a hot guy holding the puppy, even better -lol – what can I say. There was something about Brody, after I started reading AM that just drew me in. I think it is the guy who is a nomad, trying to find out who he is and ending up back where he began that just draws me in. Although, I will say that Lilah did kind of bug me. I understand the whole wanting to be independent, heck, I am very much like that. But at the same time, there is a difference between being independent and being stupid, and I feel that she definitely bordered on the latter, not the former.

Looking back at my audio listening, I also couldn’t believe that I had never listened to anything done by Karen White prior to this – so it was a two-fer of newbies for me. I’d chatted with her several times in one of my goodreads groups, and after listening to her narration, I know that it won’t be the last time that I listen to anything done by her. I liked her range of voices for the different characters and she was even able to pull off 3 distinctive male voices, which is something that I often find female narrators have a hard time doing (and the same can often be said for males voicing females). As I was listening to her narration, I could see all the characters in my head.

The production of the audio was excellent and I had no complaints about the quality of the download from audible. Overall, I’d give both the book and the narration 3.5 stars, but rounding up to 4 for the consistency between the two.

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2012 in Book Review

 

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Review: Divide & Conquer

Divide & Conquer
Divide & Conquer – Madeline Urban and Abigail Roux

Book 4 in the Cut & Run series

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Publisher – Dreamspinner Press

Purchase Divide & Conquer

**Review copy provided by NetGalley**

Unfortunately, I’m now in the waiting camp for the next book in the Ty and Zane series. Ever since I read the preview at the end of Fish and Chips in January, I have been waiting patiently for the next installment and Divide & Conquer didn’t let me down.

Picking up a few months after the end of Fish & Chips, D&C finds Ty and Zane working in the Baltimore FBI Field Office. While in previous books they have faced a serial killer (Cut & Run) and international arms dealer (Fish and Chips); this time they are faced with the possibility of domestic terrorists after a variety of small scale attacks and bank robberies. For me, this is part of what makes me enjoy the series so much, the authors bring to life current crimes that affect all of us and portray them in a way that makes them feel real.

The relationship between Ty and Zane continues to develop through-out as they are both forced to confront the realities of their jobs and the risk, as well as their feelings for each other. I loved that fact that Ty, the former Marine bad-ass, was able to say the L word first, and yet, I can also see why Zane struggled so much with it, knowing a little bit about his past from previous books. I am hoping that we find out more in book 5, Armed & Dangerous, and based on the excerpt provided (oh why do I keep reading these!), seeing Julian and Cameron from Warrior’s Cross, also by the same writing duo. All can say is I want more Ty and Zane! (pretty please!)

Previous Books in Series
Cut & Run
Sticks & Stones
Fish & Chips

All books are available in ebook and paper from the publisher and Amazon.com. Links provided to Amazon versions.

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2011 in Erotic Romance - M/M, Romantic Suspense, Series

 

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