Tag Archives: 3 Treasure Boxes

Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
6th Book in the Shopaholic Series
Publisher: The Dial Press (September 21, 2010), Format: Kindle Edition, File Size: 589 KB, Print Length: 448 pages, Language: English, ASIN: B003EY7IUY

Becky tells an amusing story of the numerous interesting things that she needs to deal with in her life. One of these is her rambunctious 2 year old daughter who is a handful and very much a mini-shopaholic and another is her attempt to plan a surprise birthday party for Luke.

Mini Shopaholic is the 6th book written by Sophie Kinsella that centers around a lovable character, Becky Brandon (nee Bloomwood) who loves to shop. She has also written four other novels under this pen name. All of these novels including Mini Shopaholic are considered chick lit. They are also quite funny and amusing. The story is told in the first person narrative with Becky’s voice and thoughts as we follow her through her life.

Becky and Luke Brandon now have a 2 year old daughter named Minnie and she is a mini-Becky in many ways. However, Minnie, as most 2 years olds can, creates a lot of havoc. With the economy in a down swing Becky needs to cut back and it is not easy, especially when she is planning a special surprise birthday party for Luke.

The story is amusing and I absolutely LOVED the end of the book, it was a real feel good conclusion.   I did not think it was as funny as some of the other books, but it certainly did have me chuckling throughout the book.  I thought the beginning was a bit slow to get going and other than Becky’s idea of pockey money for Minnie, did not have any laughs for the first quarter of the book. I also thought the letters at the beginning of the book where a bit too much.  But as the story progressed so did the depth of the book. This story really shows the true character of Becky, what a thoughtful and caring person she is, but by no means perfect.  She is the queen of rationalization.  There was a certain amount of character development, especially when Becky was forced to really look at her shopping addiction. The story had a really good build throughout with a great conclusion at the end. 

This is a stand alone books that can be read independently from any other book in the series, but I would recommend that you read the books in order.  Since each book is very enjoyable and the story does build from book to book. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading chick lit and who enjoys a laugh. The second half of the book was really good and is the reason I gave the book a 3 Treasure Box rating. The first half was slow in getting going but I recommend you keep going  because you will not be disappointed.

Ceremony in Death by J. D. Robb

This entry is part 5 of 26 in the series In Death Series

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
In Death Series, Book 5
Publisher: The Penguin Publishing Group (Electronic Edition), EBook: 446 KB, Language: English, eISBN-978-0-786-59087-2

Lieutenant Eve Dallas gets pulled into investigating the death of a well loved police officer who appears to have died by natural causes and yet internal investigations is looking into his life and death. Next thing we know more people are dying including the dead police officer’s niece.  Dead bodies are also appearing outside of the Roake estate.

Ceremony in Death is the fifth book in the In Death series by J.D. Robb, to date she has written 38 books in the series with book # 39 to be released  November 30, 2010.   I have read most of these books and found them all to be enjoyable and well written.  This book falls into both the suspense and romance categories as the book focuses equally on the case Eve is currently working on as well as Eve and Roake’s relationship.  The books are told in a third person narrative that focuses primarily on Lieutenant Eve Dallas, a dedicated and talented homicide detective. At times, the author also gives us insight into some of the other characters including the murderer. The books are written by Nora Roberts under the pseudonym of J. D. Robb.

This book deals with the Satanic and Wicca religions. It was interesting to read about the unusual rites used by these in the book. The story follows Eve as she looks into the death of a revered police officer.  She is asked to do this on the QT and to keep her investigation from her friend and mentor Fenney as the officer was Fenney’s best friend. A number of deaths then ensue, all of them suspicious.  A few of the deaths involve sacrificial knives used in both the Satanic and Wiccan’s ceremonies. There are a number of suspects that Eve is following and the story gets more interesting as it unfolds.

Robb keeps us guessing as to who the culpit is and how they are committing the crimes, she also throws in a few red herring clues.  There were a few touching scenes between Fenney and Eve, since Eve was put into a difficult situation with her good friend. It brought tears to my eyes. The book is well written with a good climax at the end that was quite suspenseful and exciting. The story has a very satisfying final scene and conclusion.  Eve and Roake are now married and it is fun to read their interactions.  The sex scenes were well written and quite hot.

This is a stand alone book, and I am sure that if you read it you would be quickly reading the previous books in the series. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about strong female lead characters and enjoys a suspense story. I was able to follow the clues and guess who the suspect really was, although I have not been able to do so in most of these books. The story is well written and  enjoyable. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading romance since there is a fair bit of this as well as some hot sex scenes between Eve and Roake.

The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series The Bartimaeus Trilogy

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
First book in the Bartimaeus Trilogy
Publisher: New York : Miramax Books : Hyperion Paperbacks For Children, 2004,  462 pages, Language: English, ISBN-0786852550

Bartimaeus is a cynical, 5,000 year old, wise-cracking djinni who has been summoned by a 12 year old magician’s apprentice. The two of them get drawn into a sinister and mysterious plot, that forces them to work together so they can save not only their own lives but those of many others.  However, since Bartimaeus was summoned he is also plotting to get revenge on Nathaniel (the apprentice.)

This is the first book in The Bartimaeus Trilogy series, there are currently a total of four books, three in the trilogy with a prequel. All the books are children’s fantasy books. The story is told in modern times and it takes place in London, but in this world there are magicians who get their power by controlling and enslaving powerful djinni from the chaos plane. The story is told in the first person narrative with Bartimaeus’ voice and thoughts as we follow him around. Bartimaeus also tells the story in the third person narrative when we switch over to Nathaniel’s saga. Bartimaeus can also refers to himself in the third person when he takes on various animal or human forms.

Nathaniel is a very smart, impatient and industrious apprentice with a lame and ineffective master.  His master is the magician that has been put in charge of his upbringing and training. When a strong influential magician named Lovelace is introduced to Nathaniel and then abuses and belittles him without any protection from his master, Nathaniel decides to take revenge with the aid of a djinni.  This then leads to a series of steps that keep going wrong at every turn and unfolds a devious plan. 

There is plenty of excitement and humour as the story evolves. We get to know and understand Nathaniel as the story relays the events in his life that have lead up to the fateful decision which is the catalyst of these breathtaking few days. We also get a glimpse into who and what Bartimaeus is and we get to enjoy reading his interesting view on what is transpiring. Some people compare it to Harry Potter, but I did not see any resemblance other than that the protagonist are young wizards in training. The story is part of a trilogy, yet it is also stand alone.  There is a good build up in the story with a great final climax that comes to a good satisfying end.

I really enjoyed the story and although it is considered a children’s book, I would highly recommend it to everyone except really young children. They would find it too scary since it involves murder and slavery. But if you enjoy a good story with humour that is in the fantasy genre, then you would enjoy this book.

Immortal in Death by J. D. Robb

This entry is part 3 of 26 in the series In Death Series

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
In Death, Book 3
Publisher: The Penguin Publishing Group (Electronic Edition: August 2003), EBook: 487 KB, Language: English, ISBN-0-425-15378-9

Lieutenant Eve Dallas has a new homicide to investigate, but this time the suspect is her best friend the cute, funky Mavis Freestone. This is a futuristic suspense that takes place in 2055 in New York City. 

Immortal in Death is the third book in the In Death series by J.D. Robb, to date she has written 37 books in the series with book # 38 to be released in November 2010.   I have read most of these books and found them all to be enjoyable and well written.  This book falls into both the suspense and romance categories as the book focuses equally on the case Eve is currently working on as well as Eve and Roake’s relationship.  The books are told in a third person narrative that focuses primarily on Lieutenant Eve Dallas, a dedicated and talented homicide detective. At times, the author also gives us insight into some of the other characters including the murderer. The books are written by Nora Roberts under the pseudonym of J. D. Robb.

While this investigation is going on, Eve is preparing to marry the gorgeous and very successful Irishman known only as Roake. This is a new and interesting facet to Eve’s character.  She is extremely tough and a highly dedicated law enforcer.  Previously she has spent very little time focusing on her feminine side but this upcoming wedding is forcing her to deal with that aspect of her life. The parts of the book that deal with Mavis facing potential charges for murder are very touching and brought a tear to my eye, especially when Eve is forced to treat her as a impersonal suspect.  Eve really hates doing this, but she is forced to this action to prove that she is unbiased which will ensure that she remains the Primary Investigator.

The book is well written and the characters are all well developed. It is during this book that the series adds Officer Peabody as Eve’s aid.  She is cute, efficient and has a quirky sense of humour. The book shows a lot of growth within Eve herself as she opens up new parts of herself.  Parts that she has kept locked away for years due to the terrible abuse she suffered as a child. The book does a good job of following Eve around as she investigates the multiple murders and the ending was every interesting as well as quite unexpected.  This part of the story-line built well with a good climax at the end which included some good action and fast thinking on Eve’s part. I really enjoyed reading about Eve’s growth and discovery of her childhood.  It is also fun to read about the interactions between Eve and Roake.  The sex scenes were well written and quite moving.

This is a standalone book, and I am sure that if you read it you would be quickly reading the first two books in the series.  I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about strong female lead characters and enjoys a suspense story.  But if you are looking to solve a mystery along with Eve then you will be disappointed since you cannot solve this book on your own.  J. D. Robb keeps too much information out which makes this is impossible, but the story is well written and certainly enjoyable.  I also recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about a bit of romance since there is a fair bit of this as well as some hot sex scenes between Eve and Roake.

Circus of the Damned by Laurell K. Hamilton

This entry is part 2 of 7 in the series Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter Series

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes

Third Book in the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter Series: Circus of the Damned  

Anita is a tough, sexy, caring person who raises people from the dead for a living and slays vampires as required.We see a new side of Anita in this book, her relationship with her girl friends. It really shows a different side of her personality that I found it to be interesting. Anita is asked to betray Jean-Claude to the Humans First group.  She must decide if she should do this and what the consequences would be both for and against such an action.

This is the second book in the series and to date there are a total of 20 books. This book falls into the contemporary, urban fantasy genre with Anita Blake as a necromancer by trade and a sometimes vampire slayer known as The Executioner. There are vampires and other supernatural beings living together with humans in her world.  The book also falls into the romance genre. The story is told using the character narrative with Anita’s voice and thoughts as we follow her around

Anita is once again dragged into solving a supernatural murder by Dolph the leading police detective on the case. While trying to solve this case Anita once again meets up with Jean-Claude to seek his help in solving the murders.  During this book Anita comes to realize that vampires are not all bad and she is starting to care for Jean-Claude. One reason could be because Jean-Claude keeps seducing her in her dreams. Richard the werewolf is first introduced in this book and Anita has a date with him. We also meet Edward, he too is a vampire slayer known as Death and he is scary and intriguing.

I liked this book and I enjoyed reading the interactions between the characters. I really like Anita’s character and how she solves the supernatural  problems plaguing the city. Once again, I am really looking forward to reading the next book in the series. This is a stand alone book, where all issued are resolved by the end of the book. 

I recommend this to anyone who enjoys reading contemporary, urban fantasy that deals with vampires and werewolves and includes a strong female lead. This book is clearly part of a series where the story builds from book to book so it is best to read the books in order.

The Laughing Corpse by Laurell K. Hamilton

This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter Series

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes  

Second Book in the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter Series: The Laughing Corpse

It is fun to read about Anita and how she deals with situations. In this book she is called to solve a supernatural murder and she needs to defend herself several times against attacks. I like Anita and I like reading about her. 

We learn more about the world she lives in including other techniques to capture souls and perform necromancer activities. While investigating the murder she meets up again with Jean-Claude, who she now has two of the four marks that are needed to make her his human servant. He is putting pressure on her to be his human servant but she is resisting since he is a vampire and she is a slayer.

I enjoyed this book and I liked getting to know each of the characters on a deeper level. I an looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton

This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter Series

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes  

First Book in the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter Series: Guilty Pleasures  

This book introduces our protagonist, Anita Blake. She is a necromancer by trade and a sometimes vampire slayer known as The Executioner. Anita is tough, independent and she is always packing a gun and a vampire slayer kit.  There are vampires and other supernatural beings living together with humans in her world. 

This is the first book in the series and to date there are a total of 20 books. This book falls into the contemporary, urban fantasy genre with Anita Blake as a necromancer by trade and a sometimes vampire slayer known as The Executioner. There are vampires and other supernatural beings living together with humans in her world.  The book also falls into the romance genre. The story is told using the character narrative with Anita’s voice and thoughts as we follow her around.

She is a tough, sexy, caring person who raises people from the dead for a living and slays vampires as required. I liked her character and the story as it unfolded. I found it to be interesting and captivating.  I liked the world she lives in and the characters that were introduced.  I found the relationship between Anita and Jean-Claude (the sexy vampire that Anita is not sure if she wants to kill him or kiss him) to be fun to read about.  I looked forward to reading the next book in the series.

The book is interesting and well written. Anita is a likeable and unusual protagonist, with a unique job.  The story is well woven and draws us in from the first page. This is a stand alone book where the mystery is resolved by the end of the book. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

I recommend this to anyone who enjoys reading contemporary, urban fantasy that deals with vampires and werewolves and includes a strong female lead.

Death Masks by Jim Butcher

This entry is part 6 of 13 in the series The Dresden Files

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
Book Five of the Dresden Files
Publisher: Roc (August 5, 2003), Mass Market Paperback: 378 pages, Language: English, ISBN-10: 0451459407, ISBN-13: 978-0451459404

There is non-stop action in this book from start to finish. This book starts with Harry about to go on TV but with Harry’s difficulties around electronic items this is a very dicey proposition. Needless to say this causes a lot of confusion and panic in the studio. One of the guests with Harry is a duke of the Red Court who challenges Harry to a duel. The outcome determining the end the war. Meanwhile the Vatican has hired Harry to find the stolen Shroud of Turin which was the burial cloth of Jesus and a very powerful magical artifact.  We also learn about the Denarians, which are humans that the fallen angels (evil creatures) use to wreck havoc on mankind.  Their hold on the humans comes from the silver Roman Denarius coin which the human holds.  There are 30 Denarians which were reported to be the 30 pieces of silver used to pay Judas to betray Jesus.

Death Masks is the fifth book in The Dresden Files. Jim Butcher has currently written 12 books in this series with book 13 due July 26, 2011.  He has also written 6 books in the Codex Alera Series, which is closer to High Fantasy than the Dresden Files.  See my review of these books at http://books-treasureortrash.com/?s=codex+alera. The Dresden Files are considered Contempory Fantasy and sometimes are referred to as Urban Fantasy.  They can also fall into the Detective genre since Harry solves a case in each book. Each book is told in the first person narrative from Harry Dresden’s point on view as we follow him through his life while he is solving his current case

The action and intrigue never stop with Harry being pulled in many directions, including being responsible to save the world. Michael and the Knights are back and we find out a lot more about them. We meet all of them and a substantal amount of the book surrounds their story. We learn more about the world Harry operates in, specifically how the fallen angels inpact it. Susan also appears back in the story under mysterious circumstances. In addition to all of this Detective Karrin Murphy has Harry investigating a strange death in the morgue.  We also meet the Archive and her guardian.  The Archive is a special child who has all the knowledge of humankind stored within her, she is a magical being.

Harry has plenty of bad guys to elude and defeat, all coming from different directions. There are a number of twists and turns in this book. There is a pretty graphic sex scene in the book which was quite exciting to read. I really enjoyed this book. It was more than a complete story from start to finish, there were numerous plot lines but they all came to a satisfying conclusion at the end of the book.

I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.  I highly recommend this book. If you enjoy reading a good detective story encasing paranormal activities with a strong, honourable hero then give this series a try.  However, you should read the books in order as the overall story does build even if each book is stand alone.

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

This entry is part 1 of 11 in the series The Southern Vampire Mysteries Series

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
A Sooke Stackhouse Novel (The Southern Vampire Mysteries), Book 1
Publisher:The Penguin Publishing Group first edition, (electronic) August 2001, Ebook:437 KB, ISBN: 0-7865-9150-1

Sooke Stackhouse is a cute, sweet, down–to-earth barmaid who just happens to be a telepath and she has become involved in the world of Vampires, Werewolves and other supernatural beings. I liked the premise and characters in this book.  With the introduction of synthetic blood, the vampires have come out to the general population and the book examines the numerous problems that this causes.

This is the first book in The Southern Vampire Mysteries series (also known as A Sooke Stackhouse Novel ), with the introduction of many different interesting characters and premises. There are currently a total of eleven books. All the books are contemporary fantasy books also known as urban fantasy.  They also fall into the romance genre. The story is told in the first person narrative with Sooke’s voice and thoughts as we follow her around.

The book starts out with the introduction of Sooke Stackhouse who can read peoples minds.  This may sound like a good thing, but in fact it is a big problem for Sooke. The overload of information from other people’s minds is very overwhelming so she has to work very hard not to hear what everyone around her thinks.  She is thrilled to meet a vampire for the first time (Bill, the vampire.) She is even more thrilled and excited to realize that with Bill she hears silence. She has no idea what Bill is thinking and for the first time in her life she can be around another person and not spend half her brain trying to shut out their thoughts.  

Sooke is a kind and caring person. She is treated like an outcast in the town she lives because she is telepathic and everyone calls her crazy Sooke.  She lives in the small town Bon Temps and works at the only pub in the town. It is owned by Sam Merlot, a cute and kind man with strawberry blond hair and blue eyes.  He also has his own secrets. We also meet a couple of other characters. Jason Stackhouse, Sooke’s younger, really hot brother who plays the field and is extremely selfish but still likable in his own way. Eric is the sexy vampire who is the sheriff of Area Five and the owner of the Vampire Club in Shreveport (the closest large town next to Bon Temps) called Fantasia.

I found Sooke’s character to be very likable. The book has lots of action surrounding Sooke, starting with Sooke saving Bill from being drained by the Rattrays (a white trash, trailer park couple.) The Rattrays attacking Sooke, where she is almost killed.  The Rattrays suspicious death as well as numerous murders being committed around town. The story is a mystery as to who has been committing the murders right up to the final chapter where everything comes to a final surprising and exciting conclusion. It is fun to read about Sooke and Bill’s developing relationship. It is also fun to read about Bill, since he was turned during the civil war and is still in many ways very chivalrous. The ending was very scary with lots of action. The story is a complete story unto itself, but it is also clearly part of a larger story.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading contemporary, urban fantasy books that focus on life with vampires and werewolves.  I think it is one of the better series in the genre.  The book has some sex scenes in it, but it is not the main focus of the book but enough to put the book into the romance genre.  So if you enjoy reading about sex, romance and vampires then you will enjoy this book.

Grave Peril by Jim Butcher

This entry is part 4 of 13 in the series The Dresden Files

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
Book Three of the Dresden Files
Publisher: Roc (September 5, 2001), Mass Market Paperback: 378 pages, Language: English, ISBN-10: 0451458443, ISBN-13: 978-0451458445

Babies are being threatened by ghosts and it is up to Harry and Michael to save the little ones. Michael Carpenter is one of the interesting new characters in the series. He is a Knight of the Cross.  This is a person who fights against evil in the name of God using his faith as well as his sword. Embedded inside the swords that the knights is a nail from Jesus’s crucifixion.  There are 3 swords and 3 knights.    In addition we learn more about how the world in this book relates to the Nevernever, which is the spirit realm as well as the faery realm. We also meet Leanansidhe (Lea) a faerie who is Dresden’s evil faerie godmother. She is a High Sidhe, noble in the Winter Court. In this book she reminds Harry about a bargain that was made with her that is yet unfulfilled. A bargain that Harry felt he had no control over and will do anything he can to avoid fulfilling.

Grave Peril is the third book in The Dresden Files. Jim Butcher has currently written 12 books in this series with book 13 due July 26, 2011.  He has also written 6 books in the Codex Alera Series, which is closer to High Fantasy than the Dresden Files.  See my review of these books at http://books-treasureortrash.com/?s=codex+alera. The Dresden Files are considered Contempory Fantasy and sometimes are referred to as Urban Fantasy.  They can also fall into the Detective genre since Harry solves a case in each book. Each book is told in the first person narrative from Harry Dresden’s point on view as we follow him through his life while he is solving his current case.

The series really starts to pick up steam with this third book. There is the introduction of numerous new characters. We learn a lot about the vampires in this book, like there are several vampire courts.  The Red and Black court’s vampires are horribly ugly bat-like creatures, although they appear beautiful at first glance.  The white court vampires are beautiful but they feed on emotions instead of blood. We really get to know the regular characters.  These include: Susan, Harry’s girlfriend who is also a reporter; Karrin, Harry’s friend who is also a police sergeant; Bob, the entity that recides inside a human skull who helps Harry in many interesting ways; Mister, Harry’s cat.

The book starts out with lots of action in the battle against a lady ghost who is trying to kill babies at the hospital. Harry is armed with his blasting rod, staff and a bag of ghost dust (this is a substance that pins down ghosts so they can be destroyed.)  Harry has an opportunity to knock out the ghost with ghost dust, but because of his weakness for ladies in distress he hesitates to use the dust and instead tries to talk down the ghost.  When he fails at that and the ghost is close to killing the babies he and Michael decide they would have more success in stopping the ghost in the Nevernever.  So Harry rips a hole between this world and the next and they both step through.  However this is not without problems.  The biggest one being Harry’s crazy faery God-Mother.

And so the excitement begins and keeps on building up to a fantasic conclusion. Harry and Michael spend the book trying to discover who is causing the ghosts in Chicago to go crazy and in the process get themselves into lots of trouble. There is lots of action in the book. It is always fun to read about Harry and how he solves the problems he gets himself into.  It is once again a stand alone story, solving a particular mystery, yet it also moves the series along providing more insight into both Harry and the world he lives in.

The ending is a bit sad but you will have to read the book to find out why.  I enjoyed the story and I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series. I highly recommend this book. If you enjoy reading a good detective story encasing paranormal activities with a strong, honourable hero then give this series a try.  However, you should read the books in order as the overall story does build even if each book is stand alone.