No Quest For The Wicked (Enchanted, Inc., #6)

This is such a great series for anyone looking for a light, fun, humorous read. No Quest for the Wicked is so action-packed it’s almost exhausting to read, but a lot of fun during the wild ride. I hope this is a series she continues to enjoy success with as I look forward to seeing all the great characters again soon.

Much Ado About Magic (Enchanted, Inc., #5)

I remember when I finished ‘Don’t Hex with Texas’ thinking, for the first time, ‘she should self-publish the next book because the publishing houses are obviously too stupid to know a good thing when they see it’. So I was thrilled when I read earlier this year that Ms Swendson announced that she’d decided to do just that with the fifth book, Much Ado About Magic. I had it on my e-reader as soon as it was available, and finished it the same day.  The story didn’t disappoint – long held secrets revealed, lots of magical action, and the same wonderful cast of characters in a light, frothy, fun tale. My only ‘gripe’ (and it’s not really that) is the seeming distance between Merlin and Katie – in previous books she was a bit of a confidante to Merlin and I saw no evidence of that in this book. Still, an excellent read and if Ms. Swendson ever decides to physically publish, I’ll buy another copy to add to my bookshelves at home.  I’m truly looking forward to the sixth book in October.

India Black and the Widow of Windsor (Madame of Espionage #2)

I really enjoy this series – what’s not to like about a brothel madam that becomes a spy for her majesty? I love the repartee between her and French, her partner in spying. I love India’s sass and wit and her pragmatic outlook to life.  

 

This book, the second one in the series, takes place in Scotland at Balmoral castle. Generally, I’m not a fan of ‘away’ mysteries, since I usually have to adjust to a new cast of characters, but this one simply relocates the entire cast to Balmoral for the duration. India goes undercover as a personal maid for a Marchioness who is rather eccentric. There are scenes with this woman that had me absolutely laughing out loud – one involving pepper that forced me to put the book down for a moment, I was laughing so hard. Truly these are Stephanie Plum-worthy scenes, although the book itself could hardly be compared to J. Evanovich’s popular series.  

 

The book ends with some intriguing hints to future character developments and I look forward to the next book.

Grave Memory (Alex Craft Series #3)

There’s a whole lot going on in this book to Alex, maybe more than ‘normal’. A lot of action, and a creepy story line about a ‘rider’ that jumps from body to body, using them up and then killing them off to jump into the next available body.  I truly enjoy just about every character in this world, and they keep me reading when the story itself gets a little too heavy for my taste.

 

Alex gets the crap beat out of her, not only physically but much more emotionally this time. And I really, really want to know the deal with her father – I have a suspicion I know who he is, but I want an explanation for the awful indifference he shows towards Alex.

 

The love triangle between her, Death and Falin not only gets more complicated, but just when I thought it was sorted out, the ending throws everything for a loop. I’m looking forward to the next book!

Grave Dance (Alex Craft Series #2)

Excellent read. Different from what I normally choose, but never too dark or hard-boiled. The author has given Alex a very complicated past talent-wise, so there’s a lot of room for future discovery.

 

I’m not normally a fan of love triangles (at ALL) but so far this one has been well-balanced and not at all annoying or frustrating. The author has done an excellent job of keeping me from picking a favourite. But taking this triangle too far forward into future books will prove to annoy me to the point of abandonment. (Although, if she chooses to keep both of them, well that could prove to be fun too!) Just please don’t devolve into ‘which one will she choose’ silliness.  

 

The plot of the story was excellent and I was all prepared to accept the ‘bad guy’ in this story – Ms. Price really led me down the garden path – only to be blissfully surprised to find out I was wrong.  I have the next in the series, Grave Memory and I’m looking forward to cracking it open…

Death, Taxes, and Extra-Hold Hairspray (Tara Holloway Mystery #3)

I think this may be my favourite book in this series so far. I thought that the plot was a slightly different spin on the typical mystery – no murders for a start – and the need for Tara to be creative in order to bring down the ‘bad guy’. I put this on my shelves as a cozy mystery, but really it’s a bit more of a chick-lit mystery – the romance is just a little bit more explicit and the language just a little bit more vulgar than what most would consider ‘cozy’. But the humour is dry and wry and the romantic tension is ratcheted up a notch in this book as Tara tries to decide who is a better fit in her life, Brett or Nick.  An excellent read, I really enjoyed it.

Pies and Prejudice

Well, about 1/2 way to 3/4 of the way through this mystery, I started to get aggravated. It was obvious from the start that Ella Mae had no idea she had any gift beyond being a very good pastry chef. Yet, as the evidence mounts, it’s never explained and she blithely goes along as if she just accepts the effect her pies have on those that eat them without any curiosity or question. Luckily, it’s all explained at the end, the author just waited rather longer than expected to explain everything.  

 

The murder mystery was a good one, although the clues felt a bit disjointed. I guess that’s to be expected – otherwise the mystery might be too easy to solve for the reader.  Still, the ending took me unaware, and I liked it – no obvious solution and no clichés.

 

There are quite a few great characters, although her ‘evil nemesis’ will probably get on my nerves quickly if she makes too much of an appearance throughout the series – pure nastiness is NOT what I look for in a cozy mystery. The aunts are a hoot, and I love the steaminess of the romantic possibilities. I’m looking forward to the next book, Peach Pies and Alibis.

Serpent’s Kiss (Beauchamp Family Series #2)

A good read – fun, quick, and interesting. Great character development, with characters you like and characters you like to hate. Ms. de la Cruz does a wonderful job bringing North Hampton to life for me, and it’s nice to see the Beauchamp family evolve. I don’t know how much of the story’s ties with Norse mythology are accurate, but it’s fun to read about nevertheless.

Wicked Business (Lizzy and Diesel Series #2)

This book is the equivalent of a funnel cake – it has no redeeming nutritional value, but it tastes so good and is so fun to eat!  

 

Diesel and Lizzy are on the hunt for 7 stones – each embodying a deadly sin. In this book, it’s the stone for Lust. So it’s a treasure hunt, complete with puzzles, clues and required objects. I love this kind of stuff – pure Goonies.  I like Lizzy; she’s no Lara Croft, but she’s got moxie.

 

I found the comedy to be laugh-out-loud as only Janet Evanovich can write – she can make me laugh at the rudest boy humour! A bit of danger, a bit of frustrated romance. Great supporting characters who are all interesting and likeable – Glo and her spells are always good for a chuckle.  

 

Many will find this series to be silly beyond the pale, but I knew going into this series exactly what I was in for – I’d read the Plum between-the-numbers books starring Diesel and I enjoyed them for the light, fun reads they were designed to be. If you enjoyed those, you’ll have the right expectations for this series. I just loved reading this book and I had an absolute blast until the end, and unlike the funnel cake, it’s calorie free. I sincerely look forward to the next Diesel and Lizzy adventure.