Ebook review: The Case of the Claymore Diamond

The Case of the Claymore Diamond (The Math Inspectors #1)

The Case of the Claymore Diamond by Daniel Kenney

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The blurb: When the Claymore Diamond is stolen from Ravensburg’s finest jewellery store, Stanley Carusoe gets the bright idea that he and his friends should start a detective agency. 

Armed with curiosity and their love for math, Stanley, Charlotte, Gertie and Felix race around town in an attempt to solve the mystery. Along the way, they butt heads with an ambitious police chief, uncover dark secrets, and drink lots of milkshakes at Mabel’s Diner. But when their backs are against the wall, Stanley and his friends rely on the one thing they know best: numbers. Because numbers, they never lie. 

Join Stanley and his friends in this smart and funny first mystery in The Math Inspector series, perfect for kids ages 9-12. 

My review: I wanted something to read that was quick and easy. Something that held my attention and just took me for a ride, without having to work for it.

I saw this ebook and liked the premise, so decided to give it a try. Maths isn’t my thing and I was a bit concerned that might be an issue, but it wasn’t.

The author kept the pace going. The inspector team worked well together and I enjoyed the humour and the mystery side of the storyline. The book includes some black and white illustrations, which I felt complemented the story, and gave the author’s impression on what the four main characters look like. Again, I have no issue with that.

My only issue is that while the first ebook is free, the second ebook costs $6.49 for Australians to purchase, and that is expensive (in my opinion) for a digital book. I refuse to pay that so will be leaving the series here, which is a shame.

Audio review: A Shadow on the Glass

A Shadow on the Glass (The View from the Mirror, #1)

A Shadow on the Glass by Ian Irvine

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The blurb: Once there were three worlds, each with their own human species. Then, fleeing out of the void came a fourth species, the Charon. Desperate, on the edge of extinction, they changed the balance between the worlds forever.

Karan, a sensitive with a troubled heritage, is forced to steal an ancient relic in repayment of a debt. It turns out to be the Mirror of Aachan, a twisted, deceitful thing that remembers everything it has ever seen. At the same time, Llian, a brilliant chronicler, is expelled from his college for uncovering a perilous mystery. Thrown together by fate, Karan and Llian are hunted across a world at war, for the Mirror contains a secret that offers each species survival, or extinction.

My review: I’ve given it a lot of thought and decided that I could not have finished this book if I had read it. However, for me, listening to certain types of books is different.

My biggest issue was that parts of the storyline, especially the world’s history, were drawn out. Too lengthy for me. To be honest, I didn’t want to know in that much detail. Some people do, and you can’t please everyone. I realise that typically, fantasy books are inclined to do that, but it’s not something I enjoy (any more). Lengthy descriptions of any type are boring.

That aside, after some listening, I grew attached to Llian and Karan. And to be frank, I wanted to know what adventure they would experience. Llian can be a bit annoying, but I’m sure he’ll grow into someone worthy by the end of the series. We all have our ways, and we learn from experience. Llian hasn’t had it easy, but I wouldn’t say he’s had a hard life either. At least he had a roof over his head and had some semblance of normality.

In comparison, Karan’s life was harder and lonelier, which gives her the tools to look after herself in a world about to go to war (mostly). The two together manage to figure out what to do to survive.

Of course, other characters upset their plans. Some help them, some are loyal, and others betray. The mix makes for an interesting story (once all the description is pushed aside).

I’m halfway through book 2. Persevere, it gets better.

Ebook review: When Hope Springs New

When Hope Springs New (Canadian West #4)

When Hope Springs New by Janette Oke

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The blurb: Leaving behind their dear friends in Beaver Creek, Elizabeth and Wynn take over an even more primitive RCMP outpost in the Canadian Northwest. Elizabeth finds herself totally isolated when the local Indian women are afraid to even communicate with her. The Delaneys thought they had already faced the most crushing disappointment of their lives when they saw little Sammy disappear from view in the arms of his father. Would they be able to survive the challenges ahead?

My review: The fourth book in the series takes Elizabeth and Wynn away from Beaver Creek and even further north. They end up living in an Indian village, in a shack with a dirt floor. The Indians in the village are superstitious and will not talk to Elizabeth. However, being used to having a Mounty around, they are civil with Wynn. Due to a change of events, Elizabeth and the rest of the village find themselves homeless and that’s when everything changes

Some of the story line I felt was far-fetched. Other sections I felt were too convenient. Overall, I continued to keep reading because of my dedication to the couple. I wanted to see where their story would end up.

I have no regrets and I felt satisfied with where this book ended. And I made the decision not to read the last two books in the series. Why? Reading some online reviews I believe the last two books in the series are not about Elizabeth and Wynn, but follow story lines concerning their adoptive children. Once I discovered that, I decided that (for me) the Canadian West series was complete.

The first book was great. The second very good. The third and fourth were not bad, but started to dull a bit. Having said that I still recommend them. I’m glad I read them.

Ebook review: When Breaks the Dawn

When Breaks the Dawn (Canadian West #3)

When Breaks the Dawn by Janette Oke

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The blurb: After surviving a harsh first year in the far north, Elizabeth Delaney and her Royal Canadian Mountie husband, Wynn, are settling into the small community of Beaver Creek. Elizabeth is once more teaching school, and they seem to be gradually making a place for themselves among the Indians. And then the news arrives…

My review: The third book picks up exactly where the second book finishes. Spring brings warmth, but it also brings long awaited friends back to Beaver Creek. Elizabeth and her best friend, Nimmie, start teaching the local Indian children, they build a vegetable garden, they go berry picking, and children are on the horizon for one of them too.

Elizabeth has settled into the Indian community. She has learned the language, made friends and found her place. Yes, she missing her family and, sometimes, she misses pretty things, but she has come to love her surroundings. Five years passes before new orders arrive.

The pace slowed yet again. At times, I felt this book should have been part of the second book. Yet I couldn’t stop reading and I continued to enjoy the characters that had come to be a firm part of Elizabeth’s life.

Still recommend this series.

eBook review: When Comes the Spring

When Comes the Spring

When Comes the Spring by Janette Oke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The blurb: After a year of teaching in a one-room schoolhouse on the western frontier, Elizabeth plans her wedding to Wynn Delaney, a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. As they begin their new life together at his isolated outpost in the far north, Elizabeth is unprepared for the loneliness she feels and the rigors of life without any of the conveniences she’s accustomed to. Her deep love for Wynn and her faith in God seem like all she has. But will that be enough?

My review: Now we leave the TV series behind. Elizabeth is living with her brother and his family in a small town and she and Wynn plan their wedding. Elizabeth is no longer the timid girl who first came out west and is no longer scared of anything that scurries in dark corners or growls in the night. She is enjoying “civilisation” while she can knowing that once they are married, they could be sent anywhere. And when the orders come, they find themselves going far north to a place few white people, especially women, have ever been. A place plush cushions and lace curtains are not seen as luxuries, but a total waste of resources.

The pace of this book was slower than the first. However, it did pick up when the orders arrived. But I think that was mainly because of the primitive surroundings that Elizabeth and Wynn had to endure. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say that there is no way I could do what Elizabeth did. Yet she did it for love, so I say no more.

The book was an eye opener, so how can I not recommend it.

Ebook review: When Calls the Heart

When Calls the Heart (Canadian West #1)

When Calls the Heart by Janette Oke

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The blurb: Nothing in her cultured East Coast upbringing prepared Elizabeth for a teaching position on the Canadian frontier. Yet, despite the constant hardships, she loves the children in her care. Determined to do the best job she can and fighting to survive the harsh land, Elizabeth is surprised to find her heart softening towards a certain member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Book 1 of the bestselling Canadian West series.

My review: Firstly, I must state that I watched the Canadian TV series. In Australia, we have access to five seasons. I watched every episode and fell in love with Elizabeth and Jack. I loved their relationship. I was on the Elizabeth and Jack team. And I cried from heartache… (but that was the TV series).

When I discovered the series was based on books, naturally I set out to discover if my local library had any. To my delight, I found the first four of six ebooks available for borrowing. I couldn’t start reading fast enough.

I was a little put out that Jack was replaced with Wynn and that much of the TV series was not to be found in this first book of the series. Basically, a wealthy girl goes to out west to teach in a tiny town. Sound familiar? Yes, that’s the premise of the TV series and the books, but that’s where the similarities stop. The rest is totally different!

Yet, once I let go of what I expected to read and accepted this new story line, I also fell in love with the Elizabeth and Wynn romance. In my opinion, the book is grittier. I feel it probably portrays a truer account of how the people lived and interacted in those days. Life would have been difficult at best then.

I do not regret reading the book and would recommend it to anyone. 100% recommended.

Audio review: The Mummy Case

The Mummy Case

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Mummy Case by Elizabeth Peters

The blurb: Join our plucky Victorian Egyptologist , together with her devastatingly handsome and brilliant husband Radcliffe, in another exciting escapade.

The irascible husband of Victorian Egyptologist Amelia Peabody is living up to his reputation as ‘The Father of Curses’. Denied permission to dig at the pyramids of Dahshoor, Emerson is awarded instead the ‘pyramids’ of Mazghunah – countless mounds of rubble in the middle of nowhere. Nothing in this barren spot seems of any interest but then a murder in Cairo changes all of that.

The dead man was an antiques dealer, killed in his shop, so when a sinister-looking Egyptian spotted at the crime scene turns up in Mazghunah, Amelia can’t resist following his trail. At the same time she has to keep an eagle eye on her wayward son Rameses and his elegant and calculating cat and look into the mysterious disappearance of a mummy case…

My review: Book 3 of the series. Enter Ramses, Amelia and Emerson’s son. He’s a totally different character who blends nicely with his mum and dad’s personalities. A chip off the old block? Not sure about that, but he seems to be a quieter version of his parents. However, his knowledge is great and he tends to follow trouble, or does it follow him?

I listened to the first three books in the series between May and June 2019 and I’m only just getting around to writing the review. I notice I gave this one three stars. Seems a bit nasty of me now, but I must of had good reasons at the time. Although I can’t remember them now. Maybe listening to three in a row was a bit much. Not sure.

The mystery side of the book is where, I felt, it was let down. I guess I noticed a bit of a formula happening (that’s what happens when you read them one after the other, and within quick succession). Anyway, the formula made the mystery predictable.

Don’t get me wrong, the book is good. The characters are the main draw card. Still love them to bits. And I would still recommend them to avid readers.

Audio review: Curse of the Pharaohs

Curse of the Pharaohs (Amelia Peabody #2)

Curse of the Pharaohs by Elizabeth Peters

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The review: Join our plucky Victorian Egyptologist, together with her devastatingly handsome and brilliant husband Radcliffe, in another exciting escapade.When Lady Baskerville’s husband Sir Henry dies after discovering what may have been an undisturbed royal tomb in Luxor, she appeals to eminent archaeologist Radcliffe Emerson and his wife Amelia to take over the excavation. Amid rumours of a curse haunting all those involved with the dig, the intrepid couple proceeds to Egypt, where they begin to suspect that Sir Henry did not die a natural death, and they are confident that the accidents that plague the dig are caused by a sinister human element, not a pharoah’s curse

My review: This is book 2 in an Egyptian themed mystery. We return to Egypt and walk into a new mystery. Except this time there’s one big difference, Amelia is married. Emerson is just as stubborn and just as headstrong as his new wife. He wants take Amelia under his wing, but that’s never going to happen.

The main story line in this one wasn’t as exciting as the first book (hence the lower star rating). I felt it took too long to get going, but when it did things hotted up and I was happy to go with the flow. And, of course, the main characters are feisty and have heaps of personality so how could I stop reading (or listening in my case).

Something I didn’t mention in the review for the first book is the humour. I like the dry humour, the catchy come-backs, and the general banter in these books. It gives the characters charm and substance. What lacked in the mystery, was replaced in abundance with information in Egyptology and the witty characters.

Still love the books. Recommended.