Hollywood Lanes is a bowling alley filled with a lot of drama and intrigue. But that doesn’t mean that it’s a positive place to be.
I knew from the collection that I found this short story in that there would be a death at some point in this story. What I didn’t predict was the form of death and the victim. Or how the story would get there. It was seriously enjoyable and a fun little ride.
One of the aspects of this story that I thoroughly enjoyed was the flickering point of views. It made this story a little more difficult to follow in some ways and added to the confusion of the tale. All of which works well for a crime and thriller story.
I’m completely intrigued by this short story. It is one that I will probably read again, find some new aspects that I missed in the last read through. It’s a fun adventure, and one that I found I enjoyed far more than expected, particularly since it’s a genre that I don’t normally read much in.
Title: Murder on the Orient Express Author: Agatha Christie Series: Hercule Poirot #10 Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!) My Bookshelves:Crime, Mystery Dates read: 10th – 24th November 2020 Pace: Medium Format: Novel Publisher: Harper Collins Year: 1934 5th sentence, 74th page: This is where I’m supposed to go all goosefleshy down the back.
‘The murderer is with us – on the train now…’
Just after midnight, a snowstorm stops the famous Orient Express in its tracks. A passenger is brutally murdered, and the luxurious train is no longer a place of safety. Everyone is a suspect.
This illustrated edition contains the complete text of Agatha Christie’s II Murder on the Orient Express, II together with 200 glorious production paintings and sumptuous photos from the new film, directed by Kenneth Branagh.
Wow. This was a pretty, seriously intense novel. I knew that it probably would be, considering it’s so damn well-known and popular. But I really didn’t expect… this level of awesomeness. Now I just desperately want more of these books on my shelves!
Recently, I’ve been watching some Agatha Christie movies with one of my clients. I can never guess who the culprit is in these (all except one thus far have come as a complete shock). This is such a wonderfully new experience for my crazy brain that I was looking forward to trying to match my wits to this storyline. And I couldn’t predict this either, every time I thought that I might be beginning to put all of the puzzle pieces together… Christie threw another curveball my way. It was brilliant and wonderful.
One of the things about this story that I did struggle with was the amount of characters. I actually struggled to keep all of the pieces in my brain and keep track of who was who. What the motives were. What the evidence was… I’ve been assured that that’s unique to this Hercule Poirot story, but it was certainly a little bit difficult. I’m just grateful that I had the movie edition of this book, so there were many pictures to help me sort out what exactly was happening…
The thing that I loved the most about this was that I just couldn’t predict what was going to happen. This surprise, partnered with the humour and Christie’s ability to completely change register and language style completely hooked me. I am most certainly in love with this and can’t wait to get my hands on some more Agatha Christie novels…
Surrounded by secrets, great and small, the formidable Miss Phryne Fisher returns to vanquish injustice.
When a mysterious invitation arrives for Miss Phryne Fisher from an unknown Captain Herbert Spencer, Phryne’s curiosity is excited. Spencer runs a retreat in Victoria’s spa country for shell-shocked soldiers of the First World War. It’s a cause after Phryne’s own heart but what could Spencer want from her?
Phryne and the faithful Dot view their spa sojourn as a short holiday but are quickly thrown in the midst of disturbing Highland gatherings, disappearing women, murder and the mystery of the Temperance Hotel.
Meanwhile, Cec, Bert and Tinker find a young woman floating face down in the harbour, dead. Tinker and Phryne’s resilient adopted daughters, Jane ad Ruth, decide to solve what appears to be a heinous crime.
Disappearances, murder, bombs, booty-traps and strange goings-on keep Miss Phryne Fisher right in the middle of her most exciting adventure.
I received this book as an ARC that I needed to review. I have never read any Phryne Fisher books and I honestly had absolutely no idea what to expect. Particularly since this is the twenty-first book in the series…
As a cozy mystery, I was expecting one cute and intriguing mystery to happen – alright, cute probably isn’t the right word, after all, they still tend to be murders or some such. What I didn’t expect, or anticipate was the fact that there would be three consecutive mysteries occurring. It created a number of parallel storylines to follow that I just adored and found absolutely beguiling. This is definitely the kind of mystery that I love to have on my shelves. And I seriously look forward to adding more in when I get the chance!
Not only did I seriously enjoy the setting of this story, but I also thoroughly loved the characters as well. Phryne Fisher is a woman full of character and gumption. She’s not afraid of… well, anything and she is exactly what I look for in a slightly zany and wonderfully independent lead character. But, you add to that her faithful companion Dot, and the zany adoptive family that she leaves at home… yeah, this is a group of individuals that I want to get to know better!
Finally, to top off the amazing storyline and characters, there is the setting. I don’t have the pleasure of reading many stories based in Australia. I even less commonly have the pleasure of reading stories which feature Australia in the 1920s… I just couldn’t look away, and nor did I wish to. A fantastic mystery, brilliant writing, and a totally unique setting that I wish we had more of. What more could you want in a book?
Title: Veiled Enchantments Author: Deborah Blake Series: Veiled Magic #3 Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!) My Bookshelves:Crime, Paranormal fantasy, Witches Dates read: 23rd September 2020 Pace: Medium Format: eBook, Novel Publisher: Deborah Blake Year: 2018 5th sentence, 74th page: These days the Ulf are partially a matter of status, but there is also a political component.
In this exciting novel in the Veiled Magic series, Witch and police officer Donata Santori travels to Maine to help solve a deadly mystery, where her magical abilities are tested like never before.
BB Still reeling from her unwitting involvement in murder and subsequent break up with a half-Dragon art forger, Witch-cop Donata Santori is grateful for the distraction when her ex-lover requests her help. Not only are Magnus’s beloved dead suddenly haunting the Ulfhednar shapechangers in his tiny rural hometown in Maine, their patron god Odin has turned his back on them, and the members of their once tight-knit enclave are at each other’s throats. Literally. BB
Magnus is relying on Donata’s experience in dealing with the gods, along with her magical ability to summon the dead, to help him unravel this mystery in time to save his clan. Donata only hopes to survive the ordeal so she can return home to the city and her quiet job at the precinct.
But first, she must discover who or what is behind the terrible attacks on the Ulfhednar. And the clock is ticking, in more ways than one…
I didn’t really love the second book in the Veiled Magic series. I just didn’t feel as connected to peter as Magnus, and found him to be a bit of a pain in the butt. It didn’t help that I wasn’t in the mood to read an ebook. But Veiled Enchantments completely redeemed this series for me. It was a fantastic ending to the trilogy and just thoroughly enjoyable. I love how it ends with this feeling of things working out, but still the potential for a lot of mayhem and nonsense in the future…
This novel redeemed the series so much for me that I actually read it entirely in one sitting. I thought that I’d open my kobo and just read a few chapters before bed. And then… a bad habit I should really stop. But how can you when the story is just this good?
I thought that Donata and Magnus were just fantastic as a couple in this story. And I loved getting to know more about his family and way of life. Not quite what I had expected from his appearances in past books… but most definitely what I needed. I love when a character surprises you like that and just takes the story to a whole other level that you weren’t expecting.
This is definitely a story that I would read again – and a series that I would also pick up again now that I know I enjoy the ending of it all…
When Dr. Temperance Brennan is accused of mishandling the autopsy of a missing heiress, a routine case swiftly turns sinister. But before Tempe can get to the one man with the information she needs, he turns up dead.
In Montreal, three elderly women are found murdered, their bodies brutally discarded. Even though the clues don’t add up, Tempe is certain of a link between their deaths and that of the heiress.
Has Tempe made grave errors, or is she being sabotaged by an unseen enemy? What is frighteningly clear is that more than just Tempe’s career is at stake. Her life is also at risk.
This probably wasn’t my favourite Temperance Brennan novel thus far. I had to keep stopping and starting. And I really didn’t get swept away in trying to figure out the culprit from the very beginning like I usually do. Not to say that it wasn’t still a fantastic novel. It just wasn’t quite as amazing as some of the other books in this series. It felt a little like a connector story – at least that’s what I found.
Although I wasn’t immediately swept away by 206 Bones, I did like that this took a bit of a departure from the style of the other novels in the series. For starters, it begins with Tempe being trapped. And then proceeds to flash between two time frames. Not necessarily a format and tactic that I love all the time in a novel. But it did work really well for this story line. After all, instead of trying to figure out who the murderer was, you spend a lot of time wondering who attacked Tempe. It added an extra, unexpected layer of mystery to the storyline.
I did love the fact that you pretty much know part of the ending of the story before you actually know the beginning. That, partnered with the main crime was quite intriguing. After all, I haven’t yet read a series or crime novel that focuses on the murders of elderly women. Which I feel like there should probably be more – they’re a fairly vulnerable group of people.
Although I liked the murder story and the overall rebuilding (I think) of Ryan and Tempe’s relationship. I seriously love that all throughout, you know that someone is out to get Tempe and you are constantly wondering who it is. Why. And just what is going to send them over the edge and driving an individual to commit such a crime.
Title: Grave Sight Author: Charlaine Harris Series: Harper Connelly #1 Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!) My Bookshelves:Crime, Mystery, Paranormal fantasy Dates read: 27th June 2020 Pace: Medium Format: Novel Publisher: Gollancz Year: 2005 5th sentence, 74th page: I found it with my other sense, instead of asking for directions.
Harper Connolly is honest, ethical and loyal – and ever since a bolt of lightning zapped her on the head, she’s had an extra-special talent: she can find dead people.
It’s not a common-or-garden job. Some people find Harper’s talent useful and fascinating, but she’s getting used to most people treating her like a blood-sucking leech, preying on the recently bereaved and offering false hope. She’s become an expert at getting in, getting paid and getting out fast.
So when Harper and her stepbrother Tolliver are hired to help in the Ozarks, they’re wary. Their mission is to find a local teenager – missing, believed dead – and instead they find that someone is willing to go to extraordinary lengths to bury a secret. 88 It doesn’t take long for Tolliver to be is locked away on trumped-up charges and leave Harpeer fighting for her life…
So this is a much better start to a series than the first Sookie Stackhouse novel. It’s a little more developed, which I think is probably just an indication of Harris’ developing skills. From the very outset, you are thrown into the world of Harper Connelly and her unique powers. From the very outset you are completely swept away and enmeshed with a woman who is quite damaged and has a seriously great personality.
I loved how this story started completely in the present. But, as the story unfolded, parts of the past also filtered through and helped to fill you in on so many important little titbits. It was a great way to create a beautifully dimensional and emotional character that you constantly felt connected to. It built upon all the trials and tribulations of the present story. It also helped to highlight exactly why Tolliver and Harper were so close. Just not in the way that is often implied…
Alongside the paranormal journey and discovery of Harper’s past, there is a great mystery to this story. In fact, it almost reads a bit like a cozy mystery. Just not quite. But still, it has that same sense of mystery to it and the almost innocence of the story line that the other cozy mysteries I’ve read hae had. However, there are a few more stakes raised. And a little bit more darkness due to Harper’s unique gift. It gives a slightly different feeling, and removes some of that innocence. Mostly though, I do love this paranormal aspect and brilliance. Particularly when it just makes the story that little bit darker.
Although the end of this story involves Harper and Tolliver getting the hell out of dodge, I can’t wait to see how this series unfolds. Partly, I kind of hope that they both get a bit of a happily ever after. It obviously wasn’t going to be in the Ozarks, but I look forward to jumping into this series and finding that at some point… hopefully.
An underground chamber is exposed in a seedy, dilapidated house. In the dark cellar, a ritualistic display is revealed: a human skull rests on a cauldron, surrounded by slain chickens and bizarre figurines.
Called to the scene is forensic anthropologist Dr Temperance Brennan. She determines that the skull is that of a young, black female. But how and when did she die? Just as Tempe is closing in on answers, another body is discovered: a headless corpse carved with Satanic symbols.
As local vigilantes begin a witch-hunt, Tempe struggles to contain her emotions. But the eventual truth proves more shocking than even she could have imagined.
This is probably the least spine-tingling Temperance Brennan book that I’ve read in a while. Which isn’t a bad thing. It’s nice to have a change of pace and not finish one of these novels with goose bumps up my arms and the need to check in every nook and cranny for a predator… it’s refreshing and definitely something I somewhat appreciate. It was nice to finish a crime novel in which you had to find out who the culprit was, and had a few moments of heart-racing action, but not as much as the other stories.
One of the aspects of Reichs’writing that I always enjoy is the way in which she is able to take an honest and open approach to a number of different belief systems and lifestyles. In the case of this story, it was one near and dear to my heart – that of Wicca and some other beliefs which aren’t really considered main stream. It was nice to read such an open view, one that neither encouraged nor discouraged the belief. It was informative and open, a great way to explain some belief systems which are often demonised.
My one big issue with this novel – there were SO many questions left unanswered. Not about the crime… that was all tied up neatly as they so often are. But there were so many unanswered questions about some of the personal aspects of Tempe’s life throughout the story. Mysteries that I’m pretty sure I didn’t get the answers too. Although, it maybe just be the fact that I didn’t notice the hints and such…. I’m going to just have to read the next book to see if I missed something, or the questions are answered then. And, annoyingly, since I don’t like giving away spoilers in reviews, I can’t bitch and moan anymore than that (my partner DID get an earful though).
Tempe’s alcoholic history really comes to life in this story too. Which I think may be a bit of the cause of this not being such a spine-tingling story – it is intense and great. But, most of the really heart-pumping action (for me) came from dealing with those emotional issues that are rife throughout. Not the criminal.
Normally I can see the villain coming in a crime novel like this. But I really didn’t pick up on who it was AT ALL. I love when I’m surprised. And I’d be interested to see if years down the track on a reread I can pick up the hints that I’m sure are peppered throughout or not…
Title: Bones to Ashes Author: Kathy Reichs Series: Temperance Brennan #10 Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect) My Bookshelves:Anthropology, Crime, Science, Strong women Dates read: 11th March – 6th April 2020 Pace: Medium Format: Novel Publisher: Arrow Year: 2007 5th sentence, 74th page: Contact with acid or some other caustic chemical?
Dr Temperance Brennan takes on a case that uncovers horrors she could never have predicted.
It is the skeleton of a young girl, no more than fourteen years old – and forensic anthropologist Tempe Brennan is struggling to control her emotions.
The coroner is being evasive, insisting the bones are ancient and of no interest. But this doesn’t feel right, and Tempe is convinced that someone is hiding something.
Working on instinct, Tempe takes matters into her own hands. But what started in the lab quickly becomes her most harrowing, and personal, case yet.
I haven’t picked up Reichs for a little while, and now I’m getting back into her writing. And… wow. There is just something so unforgettable about her works that makes you cringe, and continuously want more. And Bones to Ashes was no exception. Plus, you finally get to find out a little bit more about what happened to her little brother Kevin, and so many other parts of her past that you just didn’t know you needed!
One of my favourite things about Reichs’ writing is that it is so well researched and you always learn something new when you turn that final page. In the case of Bones to Ashes, it was learning about leprosy that really intrigued me and swept me away. A disease that I have heard bits and pieces about, but never really known any crucial details about. So, as Temperance researches and discovers, I got to learn alongside her. And I was completely fascinated!
As the story progresses, Ryan and Tempe’s relationship disintegrate… even though it’s kind of sad, you don’t really get punched in the heart as much as you would expect. Probably because there is still the hint of something between them and they continue to feature heavily in each other’s lives. Something that would normally really bother me as a plot line was dealt with so maturely and realistically that it felt like a part of life, after all, relationships do disintegrate. There is not always a happily ever after. And it sucks. Completely.
This is a fantastic read. Not as fast-paced as the last few Temperance Brennan books, but, somehow far more intense because of the slow-build. Plus, it deals with the sex trade, which is something that always makes me incredibly uncomfortable and squeamish. Combine that with childhood memories and a relationship on its way out… this is definitely one of my favourite Temperance Brennan books thus far.
Title: Break No Bones Author: Kathy Reichs Series: Temperance Brennan #9 Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!) My Bookshelves:Anthropology, Crime, Science, Strong women Dates read: 31st January – 6th March 2020 Pace: Medium Format: Novel Publisher: Arrow Year: 2006 5th sentence, 74th page: In one fragment, I was sitting in a circle at an AA meeting.
Dr Temperance Brennan and her students are working on a site of prehistoric graves on an island near Charleston, South Carolina, when a decomposing body is uncovered in a shallow grave off a lonely beach.
The bones are fresh and the remains are still topped by wisps of hair – it’s a recent burial, and a case Tempe must take.
She determines that the deceased is a middle-aged white male – but who was he? And why was he buried in a clandestine grave?
Before long, another body is discovered – and Tempe finds herself drawn deeper into a shocking investigation which will challenge her entire view of humanity.
It’s been a while since I picked up a Temperance Brennan book. And I had honestly forgotten how damn amazing the writing in these are. Not just the great science behind the criminal investigation (which, lets face it, that alone would have me intrigued). But also the touching storyline, the intriguing mystery and the intense reveal at the end. There is a reason that I started reading crime novels after I picked up my first Kathy Reichs novel.
One thing that always makes me laugh a little at the Temperance Brennan stories is that Tempe ALWAYS manages to get herself into some kind of trouble. There is always a moment that she is in danger because she just can’t let the mystery lie. She has to discover the truth. Alright, laugh may not be the right word… I’ve jumped out of my skin a few times when she’s attacked, I did in this story! But it’s an intriguing story tactic – one that not only ups the stakes, but, since you suspect something bad is going to happen to her at some point, you also spend most of the story with your heart in your throat…
This Temperance Brennan story deals a little more with Tempe’s relationship to ex-husband (or estranged, whatever), Pete. Although he’s made many appearances in past novels, he is actually present throughout the majority of this one. Which is quite interesting. That dynamic between two people who have ended their relationship, but still have close ties to one another. And it goes beyond the fact that they share a child together. I loved this insight into not only Brennan’s relationships, but also a relationship dynamic that I have never experienced or witnessed up close. Yet more insight into a world that I am not intimately familiar with.
The culprit, the motive and the activities of the “bad guy” in this story were seriously creepy. Somehow, the reasons behind the killers’ killing were enough to bring up goosebumps, even after I had guessed it before the great reveal. There was just something spine-tingling about it, probably because it is a more likely motive than just the run of the mill serial killer…
Title: Seven Drops of Blood Author: Robert Weinberg In: The Mammoth Book of Dark Magic (Mike Ashley) Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!) My Bookshelves:Cops, Crime Dates read: 12th January 2020 Pace: Slow Format: Short story Publisher: Robinson Year: 1992 5th sentence, 74th page: According to ancient Hebrew tradition, Ashmedai reigned as king of demons.
He’s the resident psychic detective. His latest job? To track down the Holy Grail. What he discovers is nothing like what was expected.
This short story had a very noir detective feel to it. And, since it’s in a collection of Dark Magic short stories, I spent a very high proportion of it wondering where the dark magic actually was. That was kind of frustrating. Even once I found the “magical” aspect, it wasn’t anywhere near as intense as I was expecting and I kind of felt a little perplexed at its place in this anthology. But, it was still a thoroughly enjoyable story.
What I did love about this short story was that it featured the Holy Grail. It’s such an interesting topic, and one that I want more of in my reading. Actually, I think that I just want more of this noir detective feel in my reading in general.
This was a light, easy read. Not as dark and twisted as most of the other stories in this collection, and one that I seriously enjoyed reading. I was actually really disappointed when it was all over…