Monday, January 26, 2015

Toured to Death by Hy Conrad

Title: Toured to Death

Author: Hy Conrad

Published: 27 January 2015, Kensington

Pages: 320

Series: Book 1, Amy's Travel Mystery

Purchase Link:
Book Depository*

Summary: While Fanny takes care of the business end of Amy's Travel in New York City, Amy is traipsing around Monte Carlo, managing their first mystery-themed excursion, a road rally in which guests compete to solve a fictional murder along the way. Amy still has reservations about partnering up with her mother. But both women, having lost the men in their lives, need a fresh beginning.

The trip starts off without a hitch. Clues quickly mount, the competition is lively, and just when the suspense is peaking, the writer they hired to script their made-up mystery is found murdered in his New York apartment. Suddenly, on top of running a new venture together, mother and daughter must solve a real-life case of foul play, while trying not to drive each other bonkers. But Amy and Fanny are ready, willing, and Abel to track down a clever killer with some serious emotional baggage, one who will go to any lengths to keep dark secrets from seeing the light of day. . .  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts:  I have just recently discovered the cozy mystery genre and so I have been exploring different books and so I was interested in seeing whether or not this one would be one that I would be adding to my list of awesome cozy mystery series to read.  I have to say though, the main reason that I picked this book up was because Hy Conrad is one of the writers of Monk, one of my all-time favourite television shows.  I kind of had some high expectations for this book and I have to say I was a little let down.

I thought the premise of the book was really awesome.  The first part of the book takes you along with the characters who instead of doing a normal murder mystery dinner, they're actually doing a murder mystery rally in which they gather clues and travel around various parts of Europe to try and solve a murder.  That aspect was just really interesting.  The second part of the book is really interesting as well, there are two murders and Amy and Fanny decide that they would like to help with the investigation.

I felt like none of the characters were particularly interesting.  I just didn't find myself connecting or even really caring about any of the characters.  I just didn't particularly like Amy or Fanny that much.  It wasn't that there wasn't anything to them it was more like, they were just average people.

The other reason I was a little disappointed with the story itself.  It just wasn't for me I suppose.  I thought the premise was really cool, but the execution was a little bit lacking.  I just thought the story was alright but I wasn't overly intrigued by who had committed the murders and why.

However, I didn't guess at who the murderer was and that was something I quite liked.  The reveal was a bit surprising and as someone who reads a lot of mysteries I do find myself often guessing the ending but for this one I was pleasantly surprised.

Overall, I thought that Toured to Death was ok.  It wasn't a book I absolutely loved but I didn't hate it either.  It was an interesting murder mystery but I feel as though I didn't care enough about the characters to want to continue on with the next book in the series, when it comes out.

Source: Netgalley for review

Friday, January 23, 2015

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Title: Throne of Glass

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Published: Bloomsbury, 2012

Pages: 416

Series: Book 1, Throne of Glass

Summary: After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. 

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best. 

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. 
Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I have had this book since it came out because it sounded like such an amazing book.  Last year in October I finally picked it up and it has taken me until January to finish the book.  This was for a few reasons which I shall explain further below.

I really loved the premise of Throne of Glass but I felt like there were other parts of the story that I just didn't particularly enjoy.  The part that I didn't like was the romance aspect.  I'm not sure why but it just really bothered me.  Perhaps it was because there was a bit of a love triangle in the book and I just didn't like it.  Especially because I felt like she was heading for the wrong guy in my opinion.

I absolutely loved the fantasy aspect of this series.  In this world the magic has disappeared and I just found that to be really interesting.  Not to mention there was one part where they were travelling to the kingdom and they went through this forest that just sounded like such an interesting place to visit.

The mystery aspect was really interesting and it kept me interested in what was going on with the story but then it kind of fell by the wayside and the romance element became the biggest part of the book.  I even felt like when the reveal happened it was just kind of like hey look at this and then the story carried on until the end when things were finally sorted out.

Overall, I feel kind of up and down about this book and so I'm not completely sure of whether or not I want to continue with the series.  However, not wanting to give anything away from the first book, I found the ending of the book to be taking a turn for the better and  I think that I will probably continue on to the second book and see from there whether or not the series sits with me. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge

I know it's a little late in the month but hey, I have the whole year to do this and so I figured that I would take part in this reading challenge in 2015.  I found it over at Pop Sugar and it just looks so cool.  They have a printable version of the list over on their website which you can visit to print off but I wanted to type out the list so I can put some book ideas from my tbr pile on the list so I have an idea where I'm going and when I do my monthly wrap-ups I'll talk about which ones I have read and such.  Anyway, there are 50 things on the list and a total of 52 books to be read so here is my rough list of what I hope to read for the challenge.

1. A book with more than 500 pages (The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson)

2. A classic romance (Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte)

3. A book published this year (Firefight by Brandon Sanderson)

4. A book that became a movie (Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell)

5. A book with a number in the title (7 Scorpions: Revolution by Mike Saxton)

6. A book written by someone under 30  (Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas)

7. A book with nonhuman characters (Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen)

8. A funny book (The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett)

9. A book by a female author (Ghost Walk by Heather Graham)

10. A mystery or thriller (Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl)

11. A book with a one-word title (Scarlet by Marissa Meyer)

12. A book of short stories (The Thing on the Doorstep and other weird stories by H. P. Lovecraft)

13. A book set in a different country (Middlemarch by George Eliot)

14. A nonfiction book (Mycophilia by Eugenia Bone)

15. A popular author's first book  (Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder)

16. A book from an author you love that you haven't read yet (Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener's Bones by Brandon Sanderson)

17. A book a friend recommended (The Secret Hour by Scott Westerfeld)

18. A Hugo award winning book (Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card)

19.  A book based on a true story  (Envy by Gregg Olsen)

20. A book at the bottom of your to-read list (The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa)

21. A book your mum loves (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling)

22. A book that scares you (The Voices by F. R. Tallis)

23. A book more than 100 years old (Five Children and It by E. Nesbit)

24. A book based entirely on its cover (Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas)

25. A book you were supposed to read in school but didn't

26. A memoir 

27. A book you can finish in a day (Real Murders by Charlaine Harris)

28. A book with antonyms in the title

29. A book set somewhere you've always wanted to visit (Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning)

30. A book that came out the year you were born (The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan)

31. A Book with Bad Reviews (Betwixt by Tara Bray Smith)

32. A trilogy (The Liar Society by Lisa and Laura Roecker)

33. A book from your childhood (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J. K. Rowling)

34. A book with a love triangle (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen) 

35. A book set in the future (Equinox by Lara Morgan)

36. A book set in high school (Passing Strange by Dan Wells)

37. A book with a colour in the title (Red Rain by R. L. Stine)

38. A book that made you cry

39. A book with magic (Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews)

40. A graphic novel

41. A book by an author you've never read before (The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima)

42. A book you own but have never read (Flash Burnout by L. K. Madigan)

43. A book that takes place in your hometown (The Killing Hour by Paul Cleave)

44. A book that was originally written in another language (The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon)

45. A book set during Christmas

46. A book written by an author with your same initials (Quicksilver by R. J. Anderson)

47. A play

48. A banned book (Candide by Voltaire)

49. A book based on or turned into a TV show (The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith)

50. A book you started but never finished (Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes)

So that is my list.  A couple of them I don't have any books in my tbr pile that will match those and so I am leaving them blank for the time being and we shall see how they go in the end.  I did make a change so one of the book categories is a Hugo award winner now instead of a Pulitzer Prize winner.