Fast Money: A Shelby Nichols Adventure by Colleen Helme
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This series would make a great present for my mother. I’m finding it harder and harder to find things to read that my mother would also enjoy. I hate that awkward feeling I get when she asks me what I’m reading and if she can read it when I’m done. Fast Money has everything she enjoys in a story – a relatable female protagonist, minimal explicit language, a bit of humour to keep it light, implied violence, a mystery to follow, and no graphic sex scenes – WINNER!
Fast Money has just enough humour to balance with the mystery to make this a great holiday read. The protagonist is a mother and wife. Such a different sleuth from what I usually read. I think I would enjoy this series more my children were a little older so I could empathise with Shelby more.
I hadn’t read the first book so some parts were a bit confusing. I suggest reading the synopsis of the first book, Carrots, before reading Fast Money. There were a lot of characters and at times I was confused with who was who but a strong series needs a range allies and villains. You do need to suspend belief a little bit to truly engage with this series. I found that there was quite a bit of repetition in the novel due to its stream of consciousness style. This is good if you like to read small passages over a period of time or if you often put a book down and come back to it later.
I read the audiobook edition. I really liked the narrator. She really embodied the character of Shelby. Fast Money is written from Shelby’s perspective in almost a stream of consciousness style. Through Shelby we hear what the other characters are thinking, this meant that while the narrate or differentiated character voices, she didn’t attempt any rediculous accents – YAY!
There are several plot lines that intersect in interesting ways. The novel’s conclusion sets it a promising premise for the rest of the series
Next time I’m looking for a holiday read, I will pick up the next one.
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Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Kate Daniels is just my type of protagonist – tough, smart-mouthed, attracts trouble and knows how to hold her own. This paranormal, urban fantasy, mystery really took me by surprise. The authors have created a well-rounded world that I easily fell into and followed the story. The story had unpredictable twists and turns that kept me interested and wanting to find out what happened next.
The chapters are really long and the first few are heavily laden with descriptions of the setting which was required to develop such a believable world. I will admit that I was assisted by a rundown given by another reader on Goodreads who explained concisely about the Magic versus the Tech; The Order versus The Guild; and The Pack versus The People. She also directed my to http://www.ilona-andrews.com/kate-daniels which really helped. I also downloaded from Smashwords a companion to the series where one of the authors has written some of the scenes from Curran’s perspective. There is only on scene from Magic Bites but it is well worth the read.
I really would have preferred to have read the ebook rather than the audiobook of this one. It isn’t often that I say this but it would have helped to be able to see the spelling of some of the names and to be able to go back and reread passages after revelations were made later in the novel. Luckily I read this as a buddy read on Goodreads so the other readers were able to fill in the blanks for me.
There is a subtle humour in Magic Bites which really won me over. I always appreciate fantasy authors who don’t take themselves too seriously “Here kitty, kitty” 🙂
Thanks to the sense of humour, encompassing world, feisty Kate and the fearsome Curran that Kate Daniels may just become my new favourite series!
(I’m 40% through the second book already!)
Filed under Fantasy, Mystery
For the Birds by Aaron Paul Lazar
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
For The Birds makes a great holiday or travelling listening. While the plot has a few twists and turns, it is easy enough to follow while driving or relaxing on a trip. There isn’t an overwhelming number of characters to confuse you if you’re multitasking while listening. Instead you will be utterly enchanted by Ruby, a sassy, talking parakeet, who is brought to life by Hannah Seusy, the narrator.
Marcella was a character that I found myself empathising with her in one passage then being frustrated with her in the next when she acts as an impetuous child. I actually liked this and I wonder if Lazar has done this purposefully. Characters need to be flawed to make the reader relate to them and for plots to progress. Marcella’s selfish and irresponsible decisions reengaged me with the story as I almost yelled at her not to go alone or to call for help. It has been a while since I have been invested enough in a story to want to give the characters advice.
For The Birds makes a great holiday read because no matter what hiccups and delays you encounter on your trip, they will be nothing compared to what Marcella, Quinn and Thelma have to endure on their weekend escape to the bird show.
This is a mystery with a sense of humour that keeps the story enjoyable and balances well with the drama and light violence. This humour is evident in character names, the lavish bird motel, some of the plot twists and the dialogue of Thelma and Ruby.
I highly recommend that you give it a listen. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Aaron Paul Lazar – “You da man!”
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When her audacious mother, Thelma, is kidnapped, it is up to Marcella – with the help of her husband, Quinn, and parakeet, Ruby – to find her and unravel a fifty year-old mystery.
Have you read anything by Aaron Paul Lazar?
What is your favourite mystery series?
Happy reading 🙂
Deadly Nightshade by Cynthia Riggs
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
It took me 42 days to finish this audiobook – that’s almost three times as long as it took me to listen to Game of Thrones!
The general premise of Deadly Nightshade is fine. The problem with the book is that there was too much of everything. There were too many murders, too many plot twists, too many characters and far too much description of the setting. The orientation just kept going and going. I wonder if this is because it is the first in the series so it is establishing the world for the whole series – but I’m not sure. I realised this added description was getting ridiculous when the dialogue was interrupted on numerous occasions to give atmospheric details.
Victoria is a wonderful character. She is a feisty, independent woman in her nineties who defies her age. I really wanted to love her but I just couldn’t. The voice used by the narrator didn’t hold any warmth or strength. There are quite a few characters for a relatively short story. The narrator was not able to create enough difference between the characters’ voices to make the story easy to follow. It is often difficult for British narrators to portray such an array of American characters.
I wouldn’t recommend the audiobook version of Martha’s Vineyard: Deadly Nightshade. I have heard that the others in the series are better but I’m in no hurry to find out.
After finally completing Deadly Nightshade, I think I need to seriously reconsider my policy of always finishing books.
Happy reading 🙂
Finally finished July 2013
If you have read any of the Martha’s Vineyard Mysteries, let me know what you thought or link your review.
What is your policy on finishing books? Do you have a rule, a guideline or criteria to tell you when it is time to give up?