sensitivemuse

sensitivemuse

Book blogger, chef, gamer, avid reader, hockey fanatic. Potential book hoarder and cat lady.

Review
4 Stars
Filled with twists and turns!
Kill the Father: A Novel - Sandrone Dazieri

This was one of the better thriller/mystery novels I have read so far this year. Wow. It was well written, filled with lots of twists and turns and the way everything is tied together is fantastic and makes the writing flow to keep you engaged and the pages turning.

 

The characters speak for themselves. They’re heavily flawed and are dealing with horrible pasts. I like both of them and Dante and Colomba do make a great team. Dante certainly has his quirks and his mannerisms due to his being a previous kidnapping victim. It feels like they certainly complement each other and they have an amazing chemistry when working together. They’re both very strong characters, no doubt.

 

If any of you have read The Monster’s Daughter by Michelle Pretorius I found some similarities between Colomba and Alet in the fact they both don’t take crap and go beyond their limits to solve things and they’re certainly not afraid to take a swing or kick to make their point across (Colomba has a good share of that throughout the book)

 

The plot was really good and what I really enjoyed reading the most was the way everything was seamless and how it was put together. Everything that happened to Colomba and Dante was related and well explained. The explanation as to the origins of Colomba’s situation was very well done! I enjoyed that aspect of the plot. The only thing is, the book is rather long and the plot a bit on the slow side but it’s nevertheless a great read and going through the twists and turns was completely worth it.

 

And yes, there’s a cliffhanger ending. I can’t wait to read the second one.

Review
5 Stars
Thrilling to Read
The Marriage Pact: A Novel - Michelle Richmond

This book was a complete page turner. I loved the mood, I loved the atmosphere and the tension that was prevalent throughout nearly the entire novel. It was such an excellent read I had to put aside everything else so that I could progress further until I finished.

 

Jake and Alice were great characters to follow through. It’s a bit hard to see how they both connect and have that chemistry (they’re very opposite of one another) and you don’t really see it between them but somehow their personalities are likable and they just seem to fit well together. Jake is very analytical - his random facts about marriage can attest to that. Also his methods of reading other people is one of the most interesting aspects of his character. Alice on the other hands, is a rock star turned lawyer which is a very odd mix, but you have to pay the bills somehow right?

 

Onto the plot. The Pact sounds pretty like a harmless group to join doesn’t it? But man oh man does it ever take a twist to the dark and ugly. I love how the dark twisted side of the Pact comes out slowly as you progress throughout the book. The suspense is really tense and you can feel it as Alice and Jake experience the bad side of things - oh but the feelings of paranoia. Those feelings are so strong you yourself feel as if you’re being watched and monitored. Every time you think ‘it’s ok we got this all under control’ nope another big surprise happens around the corner and not everything is going to be okay. You then start to question their trust, and their fidelity and that’s where the mind plays ugly tricks on both Alice and Jake and on you.

 

I found this book immensely enjoyable and it was a thrill to read. When you feel and start emulating the same way the main characters feel  in the book, you know you’re in for a good one.

 

Review
4 Stars
Great sequel!
Jessica Rules the Dark Side - Beth Fantaskey

I loved the first book and the second one lives up to it (thankfully!) what I really liked about this one while reading was Jessica’s development as a character grows up. Dramatically. Considering she now has to rule and take Lucius place due to the circumstances she had to learn how to take control and she does it gracefully.

 

The plot itself wasn’t so bad although there could have been more substance to it. The reader already has a hunch as to who is behind the entire plot - a little mystery would have been appreciated and would have kept the plot a little more exciting. So the predictability of it sort of dampens the enjoyment of the book.

 

Nevertheless it’s the characters that keep the book going. Jessica and Lucius still have that great chemistry together. It’s the light banter Lucius has with Raniero that was also fun to read throughout the story.

 

Fun to read and it’s light, worth the time - from what I know there’s no more after this one. So to give the duology a nice closing, it’s a good one. (A story about Mindy would be great though.)

 

Bonus points to the cover. Love it!

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
3 Stars
Great for the first half, slow last half, with the last 50 pages with explosive action
Siege and Storm - Leigh Bardugo

***Spoilers ahead, you have been warned***

 

You’d have to read Shadow and Bone to read and understand Siege and Storm. Otherwise you’d be pretty lost as events follow up right after the first book.

 

The first half of the book was at a great pace and filled with lots of action, bombs, explosions, fighting, magic, all sorts of goodness you would expect for the second book to follow up for an excellent start in the first. It slows down in the second half of the book where preparations for encountering The Darkling are made and you have this whole drama with Alina and Mal going on;

 

Okay I was wrong about The Darkling. I was torn apart when he ended up being jackalope of the year and I was holding a banner of love for Alina and Mal.

 

Then Nikolai steps in.

 

Handsome, charismatic, swashbuckling, people sway to his beat Nikolai. I loved reading about him whenever he came into the picture. It’s like when your school crush comes into the classroom and you realize you’re going to share a table with him. That kind of giddiness is what Nikolai brings to the book.

 

I saw the chemistry with Alina and Mal in the first one, and it just falls apart here in Siege and Storm - understandably so as the dynamics have changed a lot and Alina has climbed up in the ladder of importance and Mal has suddenly fallen off the grid and is just considered a lowly guard of Alina the Sun Summoner. Which is pretty good right? You’re near the person you love and care about, you’re standing guard and you’re close by.

 

No. Can’t be that easy right? First Nikolai steps into the picture and is suddenly looking like a much better prospect and the drama with Alina looking for the Firebird to amplify her powers even more - the point where she becomes obsessed with it changes her personality and makes her more darker, assertive, and she’s not the girl we all once knew in the first book. I really love this personality change in her. There’s a slight whiny voice to it but she really steps up and grows exponentially as a character.

 

So I can see the romance aspect of the book falling apart, but at the same time you ask yourself is it really necessary? I can see the attempt at a love triangle with Mal and Nikolai with Alina in the middle but from what I see, she gets along fine with both of them, but does she really need one or the other as a love interest? I don’t see the chemistry there with either of them.

 

Sure, Alina still cares a lot for Mal but everything’s changed and it just seems like she doesn’t need romance..not yet anyway. Instead, the attempt at the romance is seen as two whiny people who can’t get their own way and they take it out on each other by indulging themselves on the road to self destruction. Again, that’s a very human trait and good on portraying that. The whininess though, I could do without. It caused unnecessary drama in the book, and endless of pages in the second half where the plot doesn’t seem to be moving forward or anywhere. It feels like an unnecessary filler.

 

The last third of the novel though did pick up the pace (did not make up for the whiny drama though) and provided a lot of the explosions and action you had in the first half. Not really featuring a cliffhanger ending, but it’s making me look forward to what I have to see in the third and final book of this series.

 

PS: My heart bled for Genya.

Review
2.5 Stars
Slow to start, but the characters make it worth while
Jackaby - William Ritter

This book was a little slow to start. However I find that because the characters are so interesting and have their own quirks you find yourself sticking to the story because they’re so fascinating.

 

When I was reading about Jackaby and his character he bears the resemblance of an unorthodox detective whose social skills are rather lacking (speaks his mind without realizing he’s offending) but who happens to be brilliant at what he does and those in the police force grudgingly accept his help because they have no one else to turn to. So in turn you can see why Abigail is needed in this partnership. She provides the social skills and provides insight on things that Jackaby might miss. Which is why they make an interesting team.

 

Although he’s eccentric and Abigail may come off as ‘normal’ they both are similar because they both don’t stick to the social norms that society at the time (18th century USA) which is why they make good teamwork. Not to mention, Abigail is also searching for adventure and working with Jackaby provided just that.

 

The world building is interesting and good. There’s supernatural elements and creatures throughout the city in hiding. Those with special vision (Jackaby) would be able to spot them whereas Abigail accepts this - a little too accepting but going with the notion that she needed to find employment right away to survive, I suppose beggars can’t be choosers. It still ended up being the right choice anyway.

 

Other secondary characters (Jenny and Douglas) are good fillers to provide more substance to Jackaby’s world. I enjoyed reading about Charlie and I hope he makes another appearance in the next novel.

 

I would say, stick to the story because of the characters that you end up liking as the book progresses. It does get exciting in the last third of the book despite the lack of momentum in the beginning. It was still an enjoyable read.

Review
3 Stars
Slow moving plot, complex characters
Blue Light Yokohama - Nicolas Obregon

So if you’re into police procedurals where you want high speed chases, lots of action and a real fast plot you will not find it in this one. You read this more for the characters and how they’re involved or what they have in common with each other whether through association of one other person, or just being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

 

I do admit, this is a very lyrical and poetic novel. There’s snippets of song lyrics, and quotes in between the book that can be distracting to the reading experience and may cause some confusion. Also, you go back and forth in Iwata’s memories to show how he became who he was in present day. This part can especially be confusion because you’re not sure where it starts or begins (you get the rhythm of it however, once you get further into the novel.) This may be off putting to some readers. I found myself taking breaks in between. There’s a lot of characters to take into account and there’s a lot of putting together the puzzle to get why these characters are involved and how.

 

I took a liking to Sakai. I loved her fiery attitude (understandably so once you figure out what she’s been through) and in the end you do feel for her. I really liked her character, she puts up a tough front and you know she’s hiding something within. When you find out what she’s been hiding all along it’s sad but makes sense as to explaining her behavior.

 

The plot itself is slow moving and the setting is bleak and dark. The entire theme of the book is rather dark and gloomy. It does not have a noir feeling to it and I was hoping for something more on the creepy side considering a cult is involved. It’s not much scary or thrilling as it’s more dark and foreboding undertone throughout the entire novel. And it’s not just the police case that has this tone. It’s the characters, and Iwata himself that carries this feeling with him.

 

Iwata as a character, he’s not that likable or unlikable. There’s not much to him. He’s very stoic and takes quite a beating throughout the book. He can be wry with other characters in the book but when he puts his mind to his police work, he does the job even though he makes the rest of the department angry with him. He’s quite abrasive with his co workers but can be a great partner when need be.

 

Also, take the time to actually listen to the song “Blue Light Yokohama” the song actually suits the novel. :)

 

There’s a sequel supposed to come out with Iwata. I’m not sure if I’ll pick it up or not. I don’t mind reading about the characters in depth and length but the plot could have been a lot quicker and less lyrical/poetic.

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
4 Stars
We need more Eric Carter Please....
Hungry Ghosts - Stephen Blackmoore

***spoilers ahead you have been warned***

 

Nooooooooooo this can’t be the ending of the series can it???!!! I’ve taken a liking to Eric Carter. He’s still has his anti hero jerk side, but in this book, he’s mellowed out quite a bit (or if you really think about it, he grew up and stopped being filled with rage.)

 

Sad to say, I noticed Gabriela takes an absence in this one. Which is too bad because I rather liked her presence. She was a perfect side fighting partner with Eric. Alas perhaps later I hope?

 

I also liked the complete 360 Tabatha did. She’s not what you thought she was and now that things are getting pretty serious she’s really down to earth and idealistic. Which I rather started to like about her. She’s also started to grow more of a backbone and talking back to Eric a bit more. I’m not sure if I really like them as a couple though. I think it just seems like Eric is so much of a lone wolf you don’t see him with anyone romantically. Who knows though, as Eric does take a personality change though.

 

Eric’s journey in this book has a more serious undertone and not a high flying adventure like the first too ones. This one, well he’s just about at the end of his rope and he’s had it with being the pawn in the games of the Gods. Plus, well he’s turning to jade so that can’t be comfortable can it? So his journey into the underworld is pretty serious at this point. I enjoyed reading the descriptions of the underworld. I can’t get over the “Mad Max” cars (because that’s the first thing I thought when I read the description!). I thought it was well done and what an underworld really should be.

 

The ending was good. It did tie up various loose ends and it seems like the series stops there. I did hear however that this is not the end, there’s going to be more Eric Carter novels so I’d like to know who he’ll square up against now. It’s nice that he closes everything that’s been following him all throughout the first three books so I think he’s ready for another set of getting beaten up to a pulp :D more demons please!!!!

Review
3 Stars
Readable, not a very interesting plot though.
Shades of Earl Grey - Laura Childs

This book still retains their likable and quaint characters, and still ends up a light enjoyable read. Although it would be preferable if read in order so you can get a feel for the characters, it could be read out of order (there’s a few references in the past books but nothing that will let the reader be lost and confused.)

 

My guess as to who the culprit was going to be was spot on. That being said though, what I really enjoyed about this book was the author got the reader to second guess their deductions. There were moments where I was second guessing myself because of the way the breadcrumbs were trailing. That was the best part of the book and the most enjoyable. I liked the little twists and turns being made to finally come to the ending and revealing of the cat burglar.

 

Although the characters and the mystery aspect of the book was enjoyable. The plot itself was a little lackluster and not very interesting to begin with. Delaine really struck a nerve with me as I didn’t enjoy her personality or her drama queen antics. I wanted the plot to be a little more interesting and more engaging to read. If it wasn’t for the breadcrumb trail you were being led on, the book would have been less enjoyable.

 

Overall, it wasn’t the greatest book of the series. The first two were much better. Let’s hope the next one will be better than this book. Still, it’s a light read to get through the day in between heavy novels. Worth a read through for cozy mystery fans.

Review
4 Stars
A Feel Good Read with Warm Fuzzies
A Name Unknown (Shadows Over England) - Roseanna M. White

Think of Downton Abbey with a very likable character who’s a tough cookie but yet can crumble like a marshmallow when it comes to matters of the heart. There’s an element of mystery, romance, and a feel good story all wrapped up in this book.

 

Now it make take a bit to get used to, but you do see a mini little sub plot in there where you’re dealing with Peter and his moments of creativity. At first it may seem confusing at first but it’s just Peter thinking aloud. Once you get used to the flow of the book you actually find that Peter’s own stories actually do sound rather interesting (would be nice for a spin off on those.)

 

Now. Aside from Peter’s creativity and a mini novel within a novel itself, there’s a mystery aspect and the romance aspect of the book. I rather wish there was more intrigue and mystery to the story because it certainly had the potential to it, but what’s really central to the story is in fact, the romance between our two main characters: Peter and Rosemary.

 

I love them both. They’re both opposites in a way, Rosemary is tough considering where she came from and loud and aggressive when push comes to shove. Peter on the other hand, is quiet, but has many strengths to him as well, he’s just more of the subtle more quiet type. Now this doesn’t mean that Rosemary overshadows Peter. In fact they both rather complement each other. They’re both strong characters, they just have different ways of expressing these strengths.

 

I also enjoyed Rosemary’s character development. One can certainly understand from her background, why she had particular beliefs and thoughts. As you progress throughout the novel however, you notice this changing and eventually although she was not a bad person to begin with, she does change her view of the world, which does enable her to not only love others but also love herself. This was by far, my favorite part of the book, watching Rosemary’s thinking change gradually as she sees Peter as not one of the typical high society.

 

It was a joy to read this book. For once, I actually preferred reading the romance aspect (I’m not a romance fan) instead of the mystery. All I wanted was to read about Peter and Rosemary and their chemistry come together. It certainly was a feel good fuzzy hugs type of novel.

Review
4 Stars
Greatly recommended! lots of characters and history
The Monster's Daughter - Michelle Pretorius

This is not a book to read, leave and come back to later. The reader needs to read this carefully and put the pieces of the puzzle together to understand how every character was involved and when the loose ends have been tied, it’s an amazing read and we’re left with a wow experience at the final page of the book.

 

It’s definitely not a quick read but meant to be read slowly as the book spans through the early 1900’s right until present time. One must also follow who’s who in the book and keep in mind the characters. As the ones in the past are still playing in part in what’s happening in the present. Its written through different various points of view so the reader gets both sides of the story but it’s so well written and eventually the reader will be witness as to how the murder has taken place and how Alet is central to what’s happening. The plot was very well done. Some historical information may help to better understand the situation if needed, but otherwise it’s very clear and understandable. What may cause a problem is there’s a lot of terminology and references to various words in Afrikaans. Some words do make sense but others may need some dictionary to help understand it better.

 

What I enjoyed the most of this book is how characters are tied into the past and the present. The book goes back and forth and you get to see them as how they were in the past, and how they are in the present. Their personalities don’t really change, but you get to see how they evolve and what led them to their positions, and how all of them come together to make this murder case.

 

Alet is, from the start of the book one big mess (thanks to her past) and although she’s not that likable, she earned my sympathy at the end when her investigation reaches a climax. You certainly feel for her at the end of the book but at the same time admire what she went through to get the information to solve the murder case and you admire her strength afterwards for what she had to do, to put it behind her.

 

At times this book can be a hard read as corruption is rampant through the police force and those in higher positions are not entirely innocent or have shiny records of achievement. Yet because of their privilege and of who they are, they’ve gotten away with it. You feel the injustice and the resentment throughout the book. You feel sympathy towards those who have been wronged and bear the abuse. I really felt for Flippie, and Jacob. Trudie/Tessa who was central to this story along with Alet, her story was so interesting as all she wanted to was to live peacefully and lead a somewhat ‘normal’ life. It was interesting to read her story from when she was born to the present.

 

I really enjoyed this novel, I was hoping it would be a series, but perhaps it’s better if it is a stand alone. I don’t think Alet could have gone on that far with what she went through. I greatly recommend this book to anyone who has a liking to a good murder thriller, with historical fiction mixed in. It’s a long read but well worth the journey.

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
4 Stars
Wow! I loved this one. Just as good as the first book!
The Rift Walker - Clay and Susan Griffith, Clay Griffith

***Spoilers ahead you’ve been warned!***

 

It is greatly recommended you read The Greyfriar before jumping into this novel. You’d be pretty much lost if you started reading out of order.

 

This one was just as good as the first one and better. I enjoyed reading Adele’s development throughout the book! I never thought of her as a whiny damsel in distress even though there were times when she wasn’t sure what to do but in this book she went from a strong character to someone even  stronger. She immediately knew what to do and there were times when she didn’t take no as an answer (and the empress in her came out! That was fun to watch!)

 

You now have a more developed plot and you also get to see who’s on who’s side and who has a private agenda (Yes Mamoru, we’re talking about you.) I used to like Mamoru so much until the last third of this book. Wow. I understand where the hatred is coming from but it goes to show how blinding it can be and the way it can twist someone around.

 

Also: Everybody needs a friend like Colonel Anhalt. You need a loyal friend like that in life. No kidding. He’s become one of my favorite characters in the series because of his loyalty, despite discovering who the Greyfriar really is. He adores and cherishes Adele so much I loved reading about him. She treats him just the same way and they both are the best match when it comes to a good loyal friendship, in fact it’s almost a father daughter relationship.

 

Speaking of fathers. The deaths of both Constantine and Dmitri just tore me up. It’s interesting how they died similarly. Both heartbreaking, and wanting you out there crying for revenge because of the way they died.

 

So who do I dislike more? Cesare? Or Senator Clark? I’d go with Cesare on this one. He’s cunning, ruthless but there’s something slimy about him that you just want to sink a stake into his heart and watch him disintegrate. Senator Clark on the other hand is just an uncouth baboon that’s funny when he’s upset. You can’t help but laugh at his antics even though he’s a jerk.

 

 

The plot in the book is evenly paced as for the majority of it you follow the Greyfriar and Adele through their journey (GARETH THE WEDDING CRASHER! I LOVED IT!) their romance is well written and it’s not sappy or too sweet. It’s just right. They have their funny moments, and their sad ones, and ones where it was a close call to ending them. I rather wish they had more moments on Cesare and his plotting but he’s sporadically featured here and there throughout the book. Not enough though (there’s just something about villains that you want to read more about anyway…)

 

I definitely can’t wait to read the third one! I want to see what’s going to happen now that Adele is using her skills as a Geomancer and she’s getting more training on it (although there’s a downside to that as well.) Can’t wait to see what’s in store for them next!

Review
3 Stars
Worth a read if this is your sort of thing
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter - Seth Grahame-Smith

I admit these kinds of books are a guilty pleasure of mine. You give me zombies and Pride and Prejudice I’ll read it in a heartbeat. You give me William Shakespeare with vampires and I’ll add it to my wishlist to read. People are going to scoff at these types of books because they’re known to be silly and not worth the time reading. Sometimes we just need a bit of silliness in our lives to remind ourselves that it’s okay to throw ideas that have nothing to do with each other and make it into a story (or film, or both.) I enjoyed this one because well, vampires, and history put together are usually a great mix. This time around it’s more of an alternate history story line with an interesting but pretty feasible so it’s not over the top ridiculous. Vampires who support the South because it gives them easy access to food. Sounds plausible doesn’t it? It makes sense if you think about it that way. Of course then you have vampires like Henry who don’t believe in getting food that way and that’s where the plot of vampires and history blend nicely together. The format of the book is also different and interesting in where it’s written like a ‘non fiction’ book. It’s a nice way of putting it together and adds more to the story to make it more enjoyable. The problem with this is, since it’s meant to emulate a non fiction book, it also dry and boring in some parts. So the execution of this type of book could have been a bit better to make the read less of a chore - as some parts seemed to have dragged. Despite some of the parts being a bit boring, it’s worth a shot to read. I enjoyed the ending immensely and liked what they did there with Lincoln. This book isn’t for everyone that’s for sure, but if you’re curious about it, give it a try.

Review
4 Stars
This was worth the hype
This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity) - Victoria Schwab

I didn’t know what the hype was all about until I saw the second book released just recently. Took out this book and in the first day I was half way through. It was addicting and it moved at a fast pace.

 

It took me a little long to warm up to these characters and the setting. The setting is interesting, with the three different groups of monsters infesting the area. There was some sort of catastrophic event and the area was split into two. I rather like the way the world is being set up in this case. We have monsters. Not vampires, or werewolves, or some other mythical creatures we are familiar with. These are different and nothing that I have come across yet in the novels I have read in the past. I rather wish there was more history in regards to world building. Or at least, a bit more information but it doesn’t deter the reader from enjoying the novel.

 

Kate and August are both great characters and opposites. Kate, who is a complete bad ass and August who is trying to fit in and be normal. I like them because first of all, they aren’t filled with besotted love like some YA novels have out there or worse yet, they fall in love and the world crashes around them. I’m glad this book doesn’t have any of that nonsense. They both use each other as a means to an end but they end up being unspoken friends despite their differences. What I like the most about these two is, they both exposed themselves to vulnerability to each other and learnt a lot from their respective groups.

 

The plot itself is very interesting and readable. The action is good and not over the top dramatic. The twist near the end is predictable but what you didn’t see coming is the ending and you’re left with either being blown away or….well there’s no other is there? You’re just straight out blown away.

 

Definitely recommended for YA readers. I’m off to get the second one. I enjoyed this book immensely.

Review
4 Stars
Great read, definitely recommended
American War - Omar El Akkad

I really enjoyed reading this book. It wasn’t a light read that’s for sure. Yet I liked following Sarat through her life and how she became to be.

 

Sarat’s childhood is pretty much ripped apart and continues its’ descent as the book goes on. She’s pretty much robbed of it - although she’s not like other children. She’s a tomboy, taller than most kids and sticks out like a sore thumb. She’s also very inquisitive and curious. Now if you sum those characteristics and consider the living conditions she’s in, and the setting, this is ripe for anyone to take advantage of these people and manipulation is key here.

 

You have to admit, you had to take a liking to Albert Gaines. He was proper, soft spoken, intelligent, was able to spin history as tales and stories for you to imagine. You knew what was underneath that exterior. You knew he had another agenda in his mind (it was evident that Sarat knew about this too, as did other camp inhabitants) but it didn’t matter. Living in squalor and having nowhere to go, someone with that much charisma can certainly be attractive, and Sarat was no exception. She felt special and wanted. She was perfectly manipulated into becoming an instrumental machine to their cause. You can’t blame Sarat for becoming what she ultimately came to be later in the book.

 

The setting and plot was good. It’s pretty much civil war in the USA and climate change has wrecked havoc in some parts of the East. You also have alternate history elements in the book where you have the Bouazizi empire who have expanded and wield influence in the world, and of course you have the North and the South fighting against each other again.

 

What really compliments the setting are the characters. There’s not many to choose from, since Sarat is really central to the story. Her family: Martina, Dana, and Simon are secondary characters. (Simon plays a larger part later in the latter half of the book). However, they’re very well rounded and you’re so attached to Sarat because she’s human. I loved Sarat for her strength and resilience. She displayed this even when she was a young child. That carried her throughout the novel and she maintained the strength up until the end. I really felt for her as she suffered immensely and yet you would completely understand her situation if it had happened to you. You would be out for revenge every chance you get. However it also goes to show how far her manipulation went and the consequences.

 

It’s definitely not a light read but one to read slowly and to be carefully thought through. Definitely recommended.

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
3 Stars
It Dragged at the end....but some character development involved
Bookplate Special - Lorna Barrett

***Spoilers ahead you’ve been warned***

 

So I just finished reading the second one a while ago. As far as cozy mysteries go, I like them and pick them up when I can. They’re more like a go between heavy reads or when I need something light. (Reading is like eating you see..you’d like an appetizer before you dig into the main course.)

 

With most cozy mysteries you don’t get much character development. They’re usually just there like placements in a diorama with nothing much to them except it makes the story readable and whole. Or it provides support to the setting and the plot. There’s nothing central to them.

 

In Bookplate Special, that pretty much changes.

 

Tricia and Russ break up! Which is not big news anyway. You were anticipating it and quite frankly, Russ was pretty much boring to begin with. Enter the green eyed (and this is emphasized throughout the novel) Captain Baker who’s not that charming but at least has somewhat more of a personality than Russ, he’s certainly a gentleman, and manages to grab Tricia’s attention. So there’s that development there in that regard.

 

Then we have Ginny and Brian who aren’t together anymore because Brian’s done some really awful things (and ended up being the culprit anyway.) Well, Ginny was going through some really tough times anyway and this just ended up being the icing on the cake but now she’s got some goals for herself. There’s some development there. Although it’s probably going to take some time for Ginny to get used to this situation.

 

Then we have Mr Everett and Grace getting married. Which is pretty much the most happiest part of the book with all the breakups happening here. Congratulations to them, by the way.

 

Angelica who still acts like the older sibling you wish you never had, had a secret all along (well, not really) and you find out the reason for her behavior. I liked this part the most. It made her more human and less of an annoying character. For those that have gone through similar situations like Angelica would completely understand and maybe even sympathize.

 

The plot overall was interesting but not as great as the first two I’ve read. Pammy who is the victim is here and gone. She wasn’t that likable anyway but Tricia, being the nice girl and the doormat, tolerated her and ended up doing the right thing for her. Sure, it makes Tricia look like she’s being put on a pedestal and nothing can go wrong but at the same time Tricia was going through her own issues (her relationship with Russ for example, among other things she was involved in throughout the novel). It makes Tricia sound almost unstoppable and it’s amazing what she can accomplish while her store is running at the same time. It can be unrealistic as it seems like Tricia can just come and go when she pleases but if you think about it, don’t most bosses do the same?

 

I started losing interest towards the last third of the book. It really started to drag and Tricia could not stop whining about Pammy and her guilt over kicking her out of her place. I don’t know how much you could drag about the secret diary, and how a philanthropist could have been involved in this (which he really wasn’t.) Top that with adding in a group of Freegans and someone born with a birth defect that needed gender reassignment surgery. Okay. I can handle it, but did it have to drag? It really should have ended about 4 or 5 chapters ago.

 

Other than that, it wasn’t a bad read but as of now it’s my least favorite of the series. I hope the fourth one will be better than this one. The characters changing and developing was a welcome change however. Cozy mystery fans may or may not enjoy this one. Take it or leave this one.

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
3 Stars
Quaint cozy mystery
Bookmarked For Death - Lorna Barrett

***Possible spoilers***

 

The first book was a great read. It’s fun, it’s quick, and it’s light. Same goes for this one as well. It may help reading them in order, as it would be nice to know who’s who and how were they introduced in the book.

 

What I love the most about these particular series is Booktown itself. It’s such a quaint little place and it’s written up so nicely it makes you feel like you want to visit this place yourself. The characters themselves give the setting a nice tone even though they’re a little more than just cookie cutter characters. Tricia is likable and her staff are always nice to read through. Angelica can get on your nerves like any sibling would. However when it’s all said and done they add to the quaint setting.

 

The mystery itself was good. Although the crime is done ‘off stage’ things that happen to Tricia are a little more graphic than what I’m used to seeing in cozy mysteries. Which is not a bad thing. You’d have to wonder though, if it’s like this in every book, Tricia is in for a lot of surprises. There’s a mild twist in it but not enough to wow the reader.

 

I don’t like what’s going on between Tricia and Russ. In fact I don’t really see the appeal in Russ at all. He’s not that great, he doesn’t have much of a personality and what’s happening between him and Tricia isn’t really fireworks either. I’m not expecting something incredibly romantic between the two of them. But, some chemistry would be nice at this point. There’s nothing like that between them.

 

Overall, it’s still good for a fast quick read. Cozy mystery lovers would enjoy this one. I’m a sucker for the recipes in the back as well.