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Ramblings by Category

Ramblings by Year

Delusion in Death

Delusion in Death (In Death, #35)
by J.D. Robb

It was just another after-work happy hour at a bar downtown—until the madness descended. And after twelve minutes of chaos and violence, more than eighty people lay dead.

Lieutenant Eve Dallas is trying to sort out the inexplicable events. Surviving witnesses talk about seeing things—monsters and swarms of bees. They describe sudden, overwhelming feelings of fear and rage and paranoia. When forensics makes its report, the mass delusions make more sense: it appears the bar patrons were exposed to a cocktail of chemicals and illegal drugs that could drive anyone into temporary insanity—if not kill them outright.

But that doesn’t explain who would unleash such horror—or why. Eve’s husband, Roarke, happens to own the bar, but he’s convinced the attack wasn’t directed at him. It’s bigger than that. And if Eve can’t figure it out fast, it could happen again, anytime, anywhere. Because it’s airborne… (goodreads.com)

For the first time in a long time, the murder part of this story freaked me out. I don’t know if I am extra sensitive to things right now due to my own trauma experience earlier this spring, or if it was just the scope of what happened on its own that freaked me out. But that first chapter, the one that sets up the scene and knocks it out of the park… it made me gasp and need to take a moment before continuing on.

It can’t be easy cranking out 30-plus books in a series and keeping them all top notch. It’s also rare that I am completely disappointed in one of these books. Sure there are stories that don’t quite connect with me, or ones that seem a little too cookie-cutterish, but for the most part, I enjoy each and every one of these Eve Dallas mysteries I read. This one, however, is one of the best that I can remember.

You know what you’re getting with the In Death series. Each book has the same format, it’s more a matter of how interesting the murder mystery part is and this one hooked me. My only problem with it was how it seemed to be solved really fast and rather obviously. I felt like we were sort of robbed of the mystery part. I don’t know, it just seemed too tidy? Up until Eve figured it all out I was on the edge of my seat, but then she meets with a handful of people and she’s all “Ok, I know who did it. Let’s set them up!”

I think because the scope of the murder was so BIG I felt a little bummed out that the bad guy catching wasn’t as BIG. Does that make sense? I’m probably alone in this, but whatever. I still really enjoyed this mystery and I can’t wait for the next two to come out in paperback. Regardless of my having an ereader, this is one series I like to wait for because then I know I’ll have my Comfort Food Book on hand to cuddle up with when I need to be comforted. Eve Dallas and Stephanie Plum are my two comfort BFFs. (Which reminds me, I am sure the new Evanovich must be out in paperback soon! Wheee!) (Drat, it doesn’t seem to exist yet. November, I guess.)

In Death Series

  1. Naked in Death
  2. Glory in Death
  3. Immortal in Death
  4. Rapture in Death
  5. Ceremony in Death
  6. Vengeance in Death
  7. Holiday in Death
  8. Conspiracy in Death
  9. Loyalty in Death
  10. Witness in Death
  11. Judgement in Death
  12. Betrayal in Death
  13. Seduction in Death
  14. Reunion in Death
  15. Purity in Death
  16. Portrait in Death
  17. Imitation in Death  *
  18. Divided in Death
  19. Visions in Death
  20. Survivor in Death
  21. Origin in Death  *
  22. Memory in Death  *
  23. Born in Death  *
  24. Innocent in Death
  25. Creation in Death
  26. Strangers in Death *
  27. Salvation in Death *
  28. Promises in Death *
  29. Kindred in Death *
  30. Fantasy in Death*
  31. Indulgence in Death*
  32. Treachery in Death*
  33. New York to Dallas *
  34. Celebrity in Death *
  35. Delusion in Death *
  36. Calculated in Death *
  37. Thankless in Death – hard cover Sept 2013
  38. Concealed in Death – hard cover 2014

(mass market editions, unless otherwise noted)

* book I own

Double Crossed: A Spies and Thieves Story

Double Crossed: A Spies and Thieves Story (Gallagher Girls, #5.5; Heist Society, #2.5)
by Ally Carter

Macey McHenry—Glamorous society girl or spy-in-training?

W.W. Hale V—Heir to an American dynasty or master thief?

There are two sides to every coin. Whether these two can work together is a tossup.

Born into privilege, Macey and Hale are experts at mingling with the upper class. But even if they’ve never raised an eyebrow at the glitz, neither teenager has ever felt at home with the glamour.

When Macey and Hale meet at a society gala, the party takes a dangerous turn. Suddenly they’re at the center of a hostage situation, and it’s up to them to stop the thugs from becoming hostile. Will Macey’s spy skills and Hale’s con-man ways be enough to outsmart a ruthless gang? Or will they have to seek out the ultimate inside girl to help? (goodreads.com)

Ok, so I have read (and I LOVE) the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter and I have not yet read the Heist Society books, but since this was a free eBook I thought I’d try it out.

This is a very quick read, being a novella and all. It also isn’t all that WOWing. I mean, it has all the elements you expect from the GG series, mystery, snarky dialogue, the fact that the teens figure out the situation, etc. I don’t know anything about the Heist Society characters, but I’d imagine they are similar. I couldn’t connect to Hale at all and I am sure that this is because I have no backstory on him so he was just sort of… there… to me.

I didn’t really expect much from the story because it’s hard to tell a story with twists and turns in a short format, so everything played out exactly as I thought it would. And as much as I love Macey as a character, I didn’t feel the Macey love in this story.

It was entertaining and it allowed me to read a book start to finish without putting it down, which is something I haven’t been able to do in a long time. It was what I needed at the time I read it – which was almost following the last GG book. I’m not entirely sold on wanting to try the Heist Society novels from this story. I don’t think I liked Kat all that much in the little intro to her I got. I thought that she and Hale seemed smug and not all that likeable? Is this the case?

I am glad I picked this up though and it was a pretty cute, quickie of a mystery. I think I’d have liked it more if it was a full-length mystery novel though. I like my stories to have some more depth, which you can’t really get in novella format (at least that I have experienced.)

I don’t feel like writing out all the titles of the GG  and HS series. This falls in-between those books, but there’s not much of a connection to any of the GG books themselves. I don’t think you need to read this to enjoy the full series themselves.

Out of Sight, Out of Time

Out of Sight, Out of Time (The Gallagher Girls, #5)
by Ally Carter

The last thing Cammie Morgan remembers is leaving the Gallagher Academy to protect her friends and family. But when Cammie wakes up in an alpine convent and discovers months have passed, her memory is a black hole. The only traces left of Cammie’s summer vacation are the bruises on her body and dirt under her nails. All she wants is to go home. But even the Gallagher Academy now holds more questions than answers as Cammie and her friends face their most difficult challenge yet. With only their training and a few clues to guide them, the girls go in search of answers on the other side of the world. But the Circle is hot on their trail and will stop at nothing to prevent Cammie from remembering what she did last summer. (goodreads.com)

I always get this series when the books come out in paperback format, so I’m likely way behind the times here but…OH MY GODS THIS BOOK HAS ALL OF THE FEELS. The emotions! DEAR GODS! I was bawling – BAWLING! – before I even got through the first third of the book. Cammie was just so lost and damaged. I was..just… when she was in the bathroom with the scissors and her friends burst in.. I couldn’t hold back. I just cried for what seemed like hours (it was maybe 10 minutes) before I could continue on. The sadness and distress had been building from the first pages, but by golly, it all came to a smashing crescendo by that bathroom scene and I couldn’t stop the tears.

Out of Sight, Out of Time, wasn’t just an emotional roller coaster of sadness and loss, there was also this urgent, thriller of a mystery overlaying the entire mental breakdown. What happened to Cammie? Who can be trusted? Who keeps trying to kill her? Why does she need to die? WHAT IS GOING ON!?

This book is so epic with its mystery that I think it’s my all-time favourite of the entire Gallagher Girl series. This book has grown up, much like Cammie has since we first met her in the halls of GG Academy in book one. She’s a senior now and so much has happened in 5 books.

My heart was racing for much of this story and I could not put it down. I was feeling all of the feels while reading GG#5 and I couldn’t deal with anything else in life at the same time. The writing is excellent, the story is fantastic, the emotions are so real and vivid.

I have said this before but it’s worth repeating… this series is AMAZING! I wish this series existed when I was a kid. A school for spies! Danger! Mystery! Romance (in amounts I can stomach)! Not one iota of paranormal stuff, this is just plain ol’ mystery and intrigue at its best. A step up from Nancy Drew for those girls who want to have just that little bit MORE to their mysteries as they get older. I cannot wait to share these with my niece when she’s a little older and reading more. She’s only 6 now, so I have a while to wait – BUT! I will have a complete series to lend her when she gets there. Hooray!

I know Ally Carter is writing another series as well, and this one seems to be taking the back burner while the Heist Society books are being written (I have not read them yet – should I?) but I do hope the next Gallagher Girl novel is amazing and soon. I did find a cross-over novella in ebook format and was delighted to see that Kobo had it as a free download (yay!) so I got it. I am pretty excited to read about Macy and see what this Heist Society world is all about. I am a little worried I will compare it too strongly against the GG series so I haven’t picked it up yet. I’d appreciate thoughts from my readers if you have read both. Will I love it like this one, do you think?

Man, I love this series.

The Gallagher Girls series

  1. I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You
  2. Cross my Heart and Hope to Spy
  3. Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover
  4. Only the Good Spy Young
  5. Out of Sight, Out of Time
  6. TBA – 2013?

The Lies That Bind

The Lies That Bind (Liar Society, #2)
by Lisa & Laura Roecker

Just when Kate Lowry thought she had life at elite private school Pemberly Brown figured out, she cracks open a fortune cookie to find a message from her best friend Grace–who’s supposed to be dead.

Another Sister Gone

A classmate has gone missing, and Kate soon realizes that the disappearance is tied to the secret societies that rule her private school. Her best friend died for their secrets, and there’s no way she’ll let them get away with it twice. It’s up to quirky outsider Kate to get some answers, but in a school where every answer leads to more questions and nothing’s as it seems, who can she trust? (goodreads.com)

I am going to get something off my chest right away. A confession of sorts. I totally picture Seth looking like a grown-up version of Chuckie from Rugrats. I didn’t even WATCH that cartoon and I think the image I have in my head is of another red-headed, nerdy cartoon boy from the 90s, but I can’t think of his name and my google searching abilities only allowed me to find Chuckie. (Whose name I didn’t even KNOW until I found him on Google. That’s how not a Rugrats person I am.) Anyhow, I have this mystery red-headed cartoon character image in my mind each and every time Seth is on the page. I’m sorry. I do! I am certain he is not supposed to look like a cartoon. 😉

And now… My love for this series just grew tenfold while reading this here second book. And even though I totally guessed how it would end (well, most of it) I thought of it as a “HA! I am SO SMART!” thing and not a “well, that was stupidly predictable” thing. I took pride in the fact that my suspicions were right. Go, me! Of course there were some things that threw me for a loop at the end as well and made me very cranky and all “Well, this is UNFAIR!” and mad at myself for not seeing through what I felt I should have seen through.

Oh, and I had no idea who to trust, I was suspicious of everyone!

And really… I just want to be able to live on this campus. I want to be part of Pemberly Brown Academy and have SECRET TUNNELS and SECRET ROOMS and all sorts of nifty stuff. I work at McGill and well, the campus is also old and pretty so why can’t I have that here? Huh? If it’s already here then I WANT TO KNOW ABOUT IT!

I don’t want secret societies running everything from school to law enforcement though. That part of the story always makes me feel anxious and suffocatey. I don’t like when there’s no one that can help you because you can’t trust anyone. I mean, law enforcement people and teachers and stuff, they’re SUPPOSED to be the ones to turn to when you’re in trouble. I don’t like when you can’t seem to find a non-crooked person in the lot. I think that’s one of my biggest fears, that one day I’ll be in trouble and no one will help me. Gah!


Ultimately, I had a completely enjoyable reading experience for a few days while reading the first and second books in this series. For the first time in a long time, I was able to escape completely into a story and actively want to keep reading it and not just put it aside and get back to it when I had time to sit and read a book. I read a lot of books, and although I tend to enjoy most of what I read, there’s something special about reading a book that MAKES you WANT to read it and not just read it because you like reading and it’s how you spend your free time.

The only really negative thing I can say about this series is that I have to wait until December 2013 for the third book. That’s, like, a YEAR away. Ugh. Oh, and I am honestly contemplating buying these books in hard copy, too. I want to be able to lend them to people but I can’t do that as ebooks (right? On Kobo? This isn’t a possible thing, right?) They are the type of mysteries that I would reread in a marathon-esque series binge. I do that with TV shows (Buffy, Angel, Jem) and I do that with books on occasion, too.

Hmm, I would say if you like the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter, you’d likely like The Liar Society series. They aren’t quite the same thing, but I’d put them in the same food group. Which reminds me, I think I’m due for the latest GG book in paperback soon, yes? I should look into that….

The Liar Society

  1. The Liar Society
  2. The Lies That Bind
  3. The Third Lie’s the Charm

The Liar Society

The Liar Society (Book 1)
by Lisa & Laura Roecker

Best friends don’t send emails once they’re dead. Kate Lowry may wear fake pearls and shorts so tiny that Nancy Drew would blush, but she’s on the trail to prove that Grace’s death was no accident. Along for the ride are a couple of knights in (not so) shining armor: the dangerously attractive bad boy, Liam, and her love-struck neighbor, Seth. Together they discover a secret lurking in the halls of their elite private school that threatens to destroy them all. (goodreads.com)

I have been on a reading roll since the year started. I have just managed to feel all settled inside my head in time to start semester numero deux of course work on the weekend. I will then lose all free reading time. Thankfully, the books I have read so far this month have been awesome.

I signed up for Sourcebooks’ 24 Days of EBook Deals over Christmas… this resulted in one purchase, I believe. Then they did their 12 More Days of Sales or whatever it was called and The Liar Society and its sequel were on sale one of those days, along with other contemporary YA fiction. I had been eyeing this series for a while, what with the PINK HAIR on the cover (girl after my own heart, I tell you) but I was all worried the book might fall flat.

Little did I know how much of a fun mystery ride I was in for. I was SO HAPPY that I bought both the first and second books at once. I didn’t even want to pick up the REAL book I was reading at the time, I was so focused on these books on my eReader. Me! I felt a little bit ashamed at myself because I am so anti-e-reader, but people…these books are awesome!

I am warning you now, I will be writing the word AWESOME many times in the next few posts because that’s all I can think of to describe the books I am loving. So just deal with it, ok?

So, about this Liar Society book… it’s fast-paced, suspenseful, amusing and fun. Kate is a great protagonist and you can really get a sense of how much she’s torn up over the death of her best friend and all of the other stuff that comes after it. Both Lisa and Laura Roecker do a great job of writing about real emotions and how teens can act. The sudden loss of the friendship between Kate and Maddie after Grace’s death is so brutal and realistic at the same time. These things can happen. Teens – and adults – can behave this way. I actually found most of the interactions and reactions and relationships in this book to be very believable  I think that’s part of what made the story so good.

Rich people prep schools, secret societies, school uniforms (which I always wanted to have!) and great characters make this just a fun, fun ride. I was at the edge of my seat the entire time wanting to know how Grace was communicating with Kate. I figured there was a logical explanation to this since I knew I wasn’t reading a supernatural book, and I’d sort of guessed some of the answers by the end, but not all of them.

Reading this book made me realize I need to read more mysteries, and that there really aren’t all that many in the YA genre. Nancy Drew is close, but I think she’s also rather middle grade-ish. I think Kim Harrington’s Clarity series is close, but it also has paranormal elements to it. The Liar Society is just plain, teenaged mystery and I loved that about the book. So if you can think of any amazing YA mystery/suspense that you think I might like, by all means, tell me about it in the comments! I love mysteries. I think second to fantasy it’s my favourite genre. I love the guessing game that happens from first page to last. I love the suspense. I love the whodunnit… I want MORE!

I was also extremely happy to have been able to buy BOTH books at once for $0.99 each, too! What a great deal and I am seriously considering buying both of these books in hard copy, now that I know I loved them. I want to own them and have them grace my shelves.

Stay tuned for my post about the sequel, The Lies That Bind!

The Liar Society

  1. The Liar Society
  2. The Lies That Bind
  3. Third Lie’s the Charm – December 2013